|Today, I found an old book of mine on the subject of motherhood. My eyes fell upon this description of girls and I just want to hold onto it….
Little girls are the nicest things that can happen to people. They are born with a bit of angel-shine about them, and though it wears thin sometimes, there is always enough left to lasso your heart—even when they are sitting in the mud, or crying temperamental tears, or parading up the street in Mother’s best clothes.
A little girl can be sweeter (and badder) oftener than anyone else in the world. She can jitter around, and stomp, and make funny noises that frazzle your nerves, yet just when you open your mouth, she stands there demure with that special look in her eyes. A girl is Innocence playing in the mud, Beauty standing on its head, and Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot.
God borrows from many creatures to make a little girl. He uses the song of a bird, the squeal of a pig, the stubbornness of a mule, the antics of a monkey, the spryness of a grasshopper, the curiosity of a cat, the speed of a gazelle, the slyness of a fox, the softness of a kitten, and to top it all off He adds the mysterious mind of a woman.
A little girl likes new shoes, party dresses, small animals, first grade, noisemakers, the girl next door, dolls, make-believe, dancing lessons, ice cream, kitchens, coloring books, make-up, cans of water, going visiting, tea parties, and one boy. She doesn’t care so much for visitors, boys in general, large dogs, hand-me-downs, straight chairs, vegetables, snowsuits, or staying in the front yard.
She is loudest when you are thinking, the prettiest when she has provoked you, the busiest at bedtime, the quietest when you want to show her off, and the most flirtatious when she absolutely must not get the best of you again. Who else can cause you more grief, joy, irritation, satisfaction, embarrassment, and genuine delight than this combination of Eve, Salome, and Florence Nightingale.
She can muss up your home, your hair, and your dignity—spend your money, your time, and your patience—and just when your temper is ready to crack, her sunshine peeks through and you’ve lost again. Yes, she is a nerve-wracking nuisance, just a noisy bundle of mischief. But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess—when it seems you are pretty much of a fool after all—she can make you a king when she climbs on your knee and whispers, “I love you best of all!”
It’s true. When they wrap their arms around you and say something about you being the greatest mama in the whole wide world, your heart cracks just a bit. You know it isn’t true, that it won’t ever be true, and there will come a day when they realize for themselves that it isn’t true. But in that split first second, they whisper something to the depths of your Mother-soul, and for a moment, however nano of a second it is, you might just believe it. And then in the next nano, reality checks and you know they are speaking from their blissful ignorance. However, the gift has already been given; in that beautiful, suspended moment, you saw yourself how they see you.
And you’re given strength to aspire.
Tag Archives: Motherhood
Tomorrow’s the 4th of July and all I can think about is freedom.
And I’m not talking about some sort of Women-are-better-than-Men type of Freedom.
I’m talking about Freedom from ourselves.
Freedom from misplaced guilt.
Freedom from fear.
Freedom to be.
Just to live our lives.
Still guided by right and good.
But not chained by comparison, fear of the future, stress over our decisions regarding our children’s schooling, or confinement by the latest health fad, or the latest and hippest (is that a word?) parenting movement.
But Free to follow the instincts our Creator gave us for our families, for us.
I’m not saying that the Bible doesn’t teach us some truths and that it isn’t clear about some things we should stay away from or things we should live for, but I am saying it is much less about rules than I think we sometimes believe.
Because Jesus came to set the captives free.
And as far as I can remember, there aren’t many, if any, rules about food, or exercising, or schooling for our kids, or TV, or co-sleeping verses not co-sleeping (with our babies, that is ~grin~).
This Mama is learning to follow her heart and instincts where the Lord has allowed that freedom. And I expect you to follow yours. Yes, our lives may be completely different. But in living in the Beauty of Grace and Truth, and asking the Lord for wisdom for our lives and not wavering in the wisdom He’s given each of us*, we can still be friends. 🙂
To be continued….
My mind wakes up earlier than my body this morning. My eyes flutter to sunlight just beginning to creep in through the curtains, but my body and soul feel like surely the moon must still be rising. I ignore the sun. I roll out of bed late and the children wake up early. It’s only 7:00 and I can already tell, this day will be a long one.
And whatever happened to yesterday? No, I didn’t get to the garden this morning, and I seem to be a bit of a tornado of anger and frustration. Yes, the hubby does need our one car when friends invite us to go out, and yes, I am behind on the laundry (desperately) and how did all those texts and voicemails and emails get away from me? The kids are whiney and the littlest one falls hard on the back of her head (again) on the hot pavement and I am the one sick to my stomach over it, worried and wondering if she’ll still have brain cells by the time she’s 3. Computer programs don’t work and there are a certain five-year-old’s tears that last waaaaaaay too long.
It’s 10:30 a.m. and could someone just get this day over with, please? But really all I want is just to be left alone for a bit. No one needing anything of me or wanting me or calling for me. I just want to be saved . . . to escape.
Yes, you can walk in the garden for bouts of time, but there are days when only one thing can still. Fill.
Sometimes you need more than just to enjoy His presence. Sometimes you need to hear His voice.
“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
And my Servant whom I have chosen,
So that you may know and believe Me
and understand that I am He….
I, even I am the Lord,
And there is no savior besides Me.
Isaiah 43: 10a, 11
So, I get a load of laundry going.
The rest can wait.
Because I need to be nourished and I need to believe that He can begin this day and heart anew at 3 p.m.
Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth….
Because I have given waters in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert,
To give drink to my chosen people.
The people whom I formed for Myself
Will declare My praise.
The dryer stops.
And it’s a fresh afternoon.
I feel like a different person. Maybe it’s the (almost) summer weather. Maybe it’s the new house. Maybe it’s God working on me. Maybe it’s all of the above. But suddenly, my kids are taking naps at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and bedtimes, naturally, have been pushed back until 9:30 or (gasp!!!!) 10 and I don’t. care. In fact, I’m thrilled. All of a sudden, I’m realizing that I’ve been trying to fit my kids into my own ideal schedule for the day, and we were always *fighting* to make that schedule actually happen.
“C’mon, kids! Chop, chop! Time for lunch! Time for naps. And I don’t care that you just woke up from a nap 3 hours ago, it’s 8:00 and it’s time for bed! Spit spot!”
Yep. That was me. And I’m not really sure why. And yes, they’re up later in the evenings now, but they’re actually going to sleep when they’re tucked into bed and I’m not all stressed out that they’re still fidgeting in their beds while the hubby and I are trying to catch our latest flick on Netflix. And instead, they’re *sleeping* in in the mornings. I’m actually getting a shower in the mornings, and working in the yard and even sometimes getting a “quiet” time in before the stairs ever even creak with little, sleeper-pajama’d feet. In the evenings, when I would have normally been “forcing” her to sleep, Firefly now rides her new bike as her buzzing namesakes blink around her.
Suddenly, I feel much more in tune with what we need and not with what I thought I wanted us to need. And yes, we’re still busy and there are still chores and obligations and responsibilities. But in the midst, I feel my heart yearning and I go with it. I play in the dirt and clean out flowerbeds and actually revel in earthworms and bumblebees. I need a really deep, afternoon breath and I stop in front of my picture windows and just stand in the stillness. A butterfly flits by and sips. The majestic, spotted hawk glides on the wind, wings beating strong through the trees. And all of a sudden, I realize that I’m drinking small sips of satisfaction in my God again.
A little friend unintentionally shares something invisible with you. You’re fine for a few days, until one afternoon, you complain of a hurting tummy. But I can’t tell if it hurts as badly as you say, or if you just really don’t want to eat the dinner in front of you. So later, as the moon rises, I tuck you under your flowery sheets and tell you to get some rest and we’ll see how you feel in the morning. We whisper our “good-nights” and “sleep-tights” and tired “I-love-you’s” and I turn out the light.
Hours later, you shuffle through my bedroom door.
“Mama, my tummy hurts….”
I sigh, awakening from the fogginess of deep sleep. Your daddy rolls over and I mumble that I don’t know what to do for your little tummy. And then it happens. Right then and there. All over the floor next to my bed. I rush you to the bathroom and I stroke back your hair, tell you it’ll be okay as you let go of all that tummy-ickiness.
And you’re only four now. But someday, you’ll be older, and friends and family, and even I, will unintentionally share things with you that will hurt. I fidget in a panicky discomfort at the mere thought of it, but I know in my heart that I can’t always keep you safe. Can’t always protect you from things that will cause you heartache. And you alone will have to sift through the pain, praying through what needs to be addressed, and what needs to be let go. But I hope you will always come to me, in the dark of your night, looking for a little Mama-comfort. Together, we’ll pray through the ickiness and let Him make it all better. Together we’ll watch expectantly. And just as He returns the rosiness to your pale cheeks, we’ll watch and listen as He breathes your ashes into marvelous beauty.
Today offers us an unexpected gift. Just to be home, the three of us girls. Little women with braids and pig tails color in the kitchen and take imaginary day-trips to make-believe ice-skating rinks along with well-loved baby dolls. I let anxiety rise over this very lived-in house and wonder why I just can’t seem to catch up . . . wonder why I spend so much trying when I never seem to succeed. Little voices call “Mama!” from across the house and I roll my eyes as I mop the Pine-Sol and shower water currently dripping down my arm. I mutter, wondering when they’ll ever learn to seek and find me, rather than yelling across the house. I smirk now, remembering my mother wondering the very same thing.
I wash and change bed sheets and vacuum dust out of wall corners . . . add a few things to my resident Good Will bag sitting in the closet, for some reason feeling this great need to organize and freshen and live in peace. And even though days like this make me feel a bit restless and I mutter and complain, wishing I could just be left some quiet in order to complete my tasks in a timely manner, I realize that this is what makes a home. Little ones underfoot. Taking a few minutes to potty train and read a book, clean the shower, color on the kitchen floor, scrub a toilet, look for a missing doll, vacuum dust bunnies out of the corner, change a diaper, fix some lunch, make another mess, wipe crumbs from the kitchen counter.
This is peaceful homemaking at its best. I will enjoy the day.
The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.
Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
~1 Corinthians 10:31
So, the other night, this beautiful, fun friend of mine shares a link with me. Says it reminded her of my recent reposting of some old words of mine. About how, apparently, I am not the only mother in the world who receives all kinds of comments from older women . . . in the check-outs, in the bathrooms, in the elevators. Those heart-felt, nostalgic words about “enjoying every minute” of our child-rearing years. Not being on Facebook anymore, I somehow missed the frenzy, as moms shared the link with other friends, giving each other, and themselves bits of comfort. I read the article “Don’t Carpe Diem” this morning. I want to preface this post of mine by saying, I LOVED this post from The Momastery. It made me laugh out loud. It made me quickly blink back tears before I ruined my fresh, just-applied, morning mascara. After reading, I immediately copied and pasted the link and sent it to a friend. I *loved* this writer’s honesty. I could relate to every single word and I loved her message.
I’ve been thinking about a dear friend of mine who just became a mother for the first time. She. is. exhausted. She’s running into all sorts of issues that I’m sure she never expected to run into and I honestly don’t know how she’s surviving! But her situation made me think back to my not-so-very-long-ago, first few months as a mom and I realized that there is one tool in my Motherhood arsenal that I wasn’t given. None of us are. And I still don’t have it with my firstborn.
You know what I mean? Your new bundle of joy is in your arms and everything is fresh and new and unknown. You have no real idea what you’re doing or where you’re going and you’re so scared of screwing something up and you haven’t slept a full night in weeks and it feels like this is the rest of your life, surely. And then your sweet, little second born arrives and you’ve done it all before and you know that they’ll eventually start sleeping and you know that each phase is oh, so short and it makes you realize just how fast you made your oldest “grow up.”
And at least for me, with my second, I actually treasured the midnight feedings and the newborn-sized diapers. Because with my second, I had a tiny bit of perspective.
So even though, when that little, old lady in the Wal-Mart milk aisle exhorted me by saying “this is the best time of your life” I stuffed feelings of the incredulity of it all, I slowly realized that that grey-haired woman had something that I didn’t and still don’t. Perspective. Maybe she’s a little nostalgic, and maybe she has selective memory regarding the late nights and the trying to find just one second to go pee and all the less than glorifying moments of motherhood. BUT she has also nearly lived the full spectrum of life and surely she must feel some sense of urgency to come up to a complete stranger to say, “Honey, treasure every moment. This is the very best time in your life.” Even if I had a very outspoken personality, I don’t think I would ever approach a complete stranger with such confidence or say that to anyone unless I felt like it was completely true for myself and that I’d somehow missed it and wished that someone, anyone, had warned me:
“You know those nights your longing for? The ones with the full night’s sleep and the days when you can sit and read a book in peace and quiet and do what you want to do, when you want to do it, and actually live that life you’ve been given? I know that life sounds like it’s 18 years off and you’re not sure just how you’re going to live those 6,570 days until your child reaches adulthood without losing your sanity, but that day will come. I promise. And it won’t be all you think it’s going to be and you’ll have wasted those 18 years longing for something that isn’t what you think it is. Enjoy what you’re living. Right this very moment. It’s more beautiful than you even know.”
There must be an awful lot of great-grandmothers out there who feel this way if each of us young moms is stopped several times a month with this same exact message.
Maybe we do need to listen.
So now, when those Wal-Mart trips take a bit longer than they used to because a frail, 80-year-old woman wants to tell me about her babies of long ago and encourages me to stop and just enjoy, I really do try to stop my mind from racing into a frustrated frenzy and try to hear her life-lived perspective.
Can I seize every moment like I ought to? No, and that’s why I simply love Glennon’s idea of “seizing a couple Kairoses today.” But I also think that we need to listen to the mothers who have gone before us and are almost done with their life’s races. Why should we assume that we will make it to 80? One month ago, I was truly afraid that my daughters would wake up that Wednesday morning without a mother to dress them or kiss their boo-boos or read them Goodnight Moon. I know it sounds cheesy and I know it sounds cliché, but what if those well-worn storybooks I read with my girls that Tuesday night had been our last storybook cuddle? What if?? None of us are promised tomorrow and none of our children are either. I’m not trying to be all fear-factor here, but really. God knows that I needed a little perspective shaken into me that one, scary night. And yes, this thing called motherhood is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I survived nursing school -grin-), and it’s so easy to lose my sanity in the midst of kids going crazy in the Wal-Mart aisles and in the mere day-in and day-out caretaking and gardening of our children’s blooming hearts. I lose my sanity and perspective all too often. Daily, in fact. So for me, I welcome the wrinkled, time-worn, urgent perspective.
Yes, tell me again. Carpe Diem. Right here. Right now. There is a beautiful, grace-filled underlying theme in all this exhausting, sometimes temper-filled, sometimes hectic, sometimes less-than-I-want craziness. Help me take hold of it.
(I wrote this several months back. It’s funny how a few months can change you. Refine you. Teach you. Today, my girls don’t nap and I still wipe up crumbs and fold underwear. I rush out the back door several times throughout this day and coax our car’s engine to ignore the cold, while still trying to find a time to bare the Christmas tree…. But they smile over silly, little things, their daddy-given dimples lighting me up. And I feel it. Yes. This is it.)
I remember how tired I was. Newborn baby in the sling, resting against my chest, and the two-year-old running wild in the milk aisle. I can still feel my tight hand-grip on the grocery cart and how I wrestled, trying to keep both it and my out-of-reach daughter in line, while trying not to wake the babe. It was dreary cold out. I was worn thin.
My eyes met those of an elderly woman who seemed to be surveying us in that milk aisle. I was too frazzled to make small talk.
But do you know what she had the gall to come up and say to me?
“Honey, enjoy every minute. This is the best time of your life.”
Now I’m not usually the type of girl who gets riled very easily. But just then, I really wanted to screech, “How can you be so cruel to say that me right now? Don’t you know I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in weeks? That my body is literally worn out? That my husband and I have barely had time to look each other in the eyes?! That I’m here in the milk aisle just trying survive this grocery trip and you say these are the best moments of my life?!?!” I don’t even remember what I actually said to the woman, but I was too tired to scream, so instead, I muffled my soul’s unbelief and gave the typical Southern smile and probably said something about how, yeah, I was trying to savor the moments.
To be honest, the woman’s words stuck like unwanted syrup on the outside of a glass syrup bottle, and until recently, still conjured up a twinge of panic whenever they surfaced to mind.
What if she’s right? This??? This could be the best time of my life?
Because my days are merely filled with wiping bottoms and folding underwear, sweeping floors and serving PB and J’s on Winnie-the-Pooh plates.
But recently, I picked up Laura Bush’s memoir, Spoken from the Heart. Whether or not you side with her husband in his politics, it is hard for anyone to deny that the former first lady has lived an intriguing life . . . doing things, visiting places, meeting world leaders and attending spectacular events that few of us will ever have the opportunity to experience.
And do you know what she wrote? After serving as the First Lady of the United States of America for two terms and having lived probably the most exciting time of her life, she reminisces on the first few months of parenting their twin girls:
Every morning before dawn, George would get up to make the coffee, as he had done from the start of our marriage; then he would go get the girls and carry them into our bed. We’d each hold a baby and drink our coffee while they drank their bottles, with the morning news droning quietly in the background. The start of the day was reserved for just the four of us. Those early mornings were some of the sweetest times in our lives.
My breath catches as I read her words.
That’s what I am living. Feeding hungry little tummies. Sipping coffee. Living side-by-side with the man I love. The words of the Wal-Mart lady wash over me and I realize her words just may be true.
And I wonder.
What if I lived every moment like it just might be the ______-est moment of my life?
Maybe every moment in our lives is *THE* something. The sweetest time. The busiest time. The most exciting time. The most difficult time. The craziest vacation. The most intimate Christmas. The stupidest recipe mistake. The wisest parenting moment. The tastiest dinner. The most hilarious date. The funniest Monday.
How will I embrace it?
How do you share on a blog that you just lost a baby? How do you write anything else without sharing that you just lost a baby? There’s not much I feel like I can write yet, but the day after I wrote my last post, we discovered that we were blessed with our third baby. A few weeks later, we were told, we would not be raising that baby, that it was already gone. It has been a long and difficult month and a half, but we’re still here, recovering from emotional and physical heartache, but thankful for this week and the Christmas upcoming.
We are celebrating God with us. And our baby with Him. There lies the tie that binds.
And sometimes, music says it better….
(I have no ties to this fundraising effort – just thought hearing the song would be better than simply posting lyrics. The statistics are stunning, however)
Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear?
You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do
Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s a
day when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you
But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do
You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard to
understand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing-
That all things work together for our good
And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…
I listen to my girls, in the other room, unwinding from a busy day of play and readying for another night of dreams. I sit in the room next to theirs. Sit in awe and thankfulness, wondering how two such little people teach me so much about life. About myself. About God.
They teach me just how human I am. And how this girl who always thought she was so laid-back, so forgiving, so patient, is really just one wrong word or wrong move away from a few more-than-snappy words. They also teach me just how vulnerable my heart is in love and just how easily something happening to those I love would completely shatter my heart. Yes, they stretch my patience limits, but they also enlarge my love with their every growth spurt, new word, or new display of personality.
They teach me that one moment of fun and togetherness, and just loving one another’s company, is more important than all the tasks and to-do lists I could write and check off in a lifetime.
They teach me that it doesn’t matter how small you are or how big or vast your journey or surroundings are. Just explore and enjoy and know that all is well in God’s hands. Fear has no place in the adventuring seeker. Just trust in Him and everything He’s given, opened wide before you.
They teach me that you never know what you might have inadvertently left behind you, just might become someone’s greatest heart treasure.
And searching for long-lost provisions, with hands full of questions, underneath what might be considered traditional boundaries is more than okay in the presence of the Father of all surety.
Just running – headlong into what you once feared because it was unknown. You might just find that it is above your fears, above all you thought scary in its unfamiliarity, might just be what draws your full spectrum of life together. And there, hanging in the balance of the unknown, under the Light Constant, what was invisible becomes visible.
So, I try. Just to be a little child.