In the end parenting is really all about the small moments.
Sometimes you get the moment right, and sometimes you don't. Some moments are exasperating and exhausting. With small kids I sometimes find myself on a downhill day filled with upsets and fights and broken glass (a brand new pitcher no less) and wet pants, and it feels like it will never end.
But it's just a moment.
On one of these days recently I had a moment with Esme. We were out and her shirt got wet. A few drops of water is all it was to me, but it was the last drop in her bucket. A monster upset ensued because I didn't have another shirt for her to change into right away. I was trying to offer help and feeling nearly as frustrated as she was when she burst out with, "I wish NOTHING existed."
My first thought was, "Great, I am raising an existentialist." But then, instead of pulling my hair out, it struck me how this moment felt as endless to her as it did to me. In that instant I was filled with compassion for the moment at hand, compassion for both of us in our frustration. And then I told her that I loved her. It didn't solve the problem, it didn't end the tears over the wet shirt, but it was the best thing to do in that moment.
In the end, every moment should be about love.
Last night I turned the corner in the hallway and was about to walk into my bedroom when I heard Esme talking to herself. I realized she was saying a prayer and I hovered outside the door for just a moment to avoid interrupting. I caught the tail end of her prayer as she said, "And Heavenly Father, please help me to love my mama forever and ever and ever because she is a good good mom."
Moments like that make it all worth it.