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The Rough Edges of Motherhood

23 Sep

“Mama! I hold you!”

My 2-year-old’s squirmy body collides into mine. He’s my wild child. Rough and tough. Abrasive at times. All mess and climbing and destruction and just 100% pure BOY. He sleeps with firetrucks, airplanes, and his toy rifle. He head butts me and I sigh deeply.

“MAMA! I hold YOU!”

I hold him, because I know that’s what he means, and his body goes limp for a moment. I breathe in his still baby-ish smelling head and remember just yesterday when he looked like his baby brother in the other room.

5 years now, I’ve been neck-deep in the muddy and heart-achingly beautiful reality of caring for these tiny people 24/7.

3 babies. 3 beings with individual likes and dislikes, passions and behaviors, bad days and good days.

My oldest just wants to be a grown up. She is so gorgeous and smart and independent and goofy and sarcastic. She knows the world is hers.

I remember being 5 and having the same feeling. The whole universe before me, ready to be explored. I felt the same thing at 18 and 24.

Now at 34 and a half, I am asking my Father to give me those eyes again. To see each day like a child, wonder and awe and joy, always an adventure.

This year has done it’s best to dampen my spirit and put our my light, but I won’t let it.

This matters.

I tell myself as I wipe another butt, another nose, another spill. As I talk, calmly, when I want to scream and walk away.

This matters.

You whisper in my heart as I lie awake again with my tiny baby, getting all his nutrients from my body to fuel his strong legs kicking, his huge, bright eyes smiling.

Giving, always giving, even when I want to be selfish.

This matters.

I know, as I teach my oldest to read and my middle to pour cereal and I take another deep breathe and ask Jesus to be so real to me because I just can’t do this without His strength, His patience, His wisdom.

I look in the mirror and for a moment those lies creep in and I feel old and stretched out and worn out and I wonder where my dreams have gone.

Where is the great big world I wanted to see, where are the books I have always wanted to write, trapped inside my tired mind, stuck until this all gets easier?

Reality check: it’s not going to get easier. It will always be hard, in a million different way, changing with growth spurts and hormones and emotions to navigate, as the darkness in life becomes more real and tries to press in on their tiny hearts.

There will always be moments where I am stuck in the tension of protecting them and preparing them, where I want them to step out on their own, but stay in my arms just a little while longer.

Motherhood will always have rough edges that cause boo-boos, those real scrapes and bruises and the emotional ones.

There will always be moments of pain and guilt, when it’s so difficult to swallow my pride and lay my life down and mother and teach.

But hard is good. It makes us better.

This matters.

And I have the mind of Christ.

This sleep-deprived, mom-brain doesn’t render me incapable.

I can homeschool my daughter.

I can deal with my toddler’s BIG emotions.

I can hold my precious baby a little bit longer.

And can write my heart out.

I can follow my dreams, because you see, when I really peel back the layers and work my way around those rougher edges of daily sacrifice and chaos,

These beautiful, brilliant, messy human beings, are my dream.

They are my greatest creation,

My favorite story,

My best adventure,

My most important job,

My most kingdom-changing ministry.

This matters.

So I cuddle and discipline and teach and cry and laugh and try my best to be present, for these days I get to be with them are a fleeting gift.

And those rough edges sharpen and refine me like hell, making me closer to who I was always meant to be than anything else.

And it’s never gonna be picture-perfect or easy, but it’s always going to be worth it.

When I Grow Up Too Slow

17 Sep

I’ve always had a bit of a disdain for predicability. As much as a try to avoid cliches like the greek yogurt in my fridge that I bought when I was still pregnant, I still cling to them, refusing to throw them away out of some kind of feral need for comfort.

As much as being a parent of a baby is full of newness and surprises, there is also plenty of the previously mentioned cliches and predictability. On my desktop I have this rant I almost posted about how this is NOT a mom blog, (which it isn’t) that includes several paragraphs about how much it grates me when I hear and say the phrase,

“They grow up so fast!”

This must be the mantra of every parent, every human being maybe.

Granted, I am not immune to the addictive quality of this statement. I probably say some form of it at least several times a day.

Random strangers in Target tell me, with a tone in their voice that insinuates I’ve never heard it before and I need to be warned:

“It seems like just yesterday mine was that age. It’s over before you know it. Enjoy it while you can.”

I know.

I do.

It breaks my heart and fills me with a new kind of pride and joy every day.

Time feels so real and so sharp and inevitable with a baby to judge it by.

Suddenly, mortality is real and how fast it all is becomes a thick cloud that you try to see through daily.

Sometimes, it’s almost hard to breathe.

I obsess over making the most of life.

Cherishing every moment.

Holding her while I still can.

Maybe that’s why it’s been hard to write lately.

I feel like this is my only reality.

And it seems like everything has already been written.

I’ve only been a parent for 3 months. There are ten times more books and blogs about how to do this and that and accomplish everything and just relax, than there are diapers I will end up changing.

But this is not a mom blog.

Sometimes, even if I sleep enough, I find myself so tired.

The responsibility of it all stares me in the face, so large and intimidating it blocks out the sunlight.

I’ll admit, I’ve been known to run from responsibility at times. To avoid commitment in order to prevent failure. To run away from monotony, all the while hiding behind the guise of being adventurous.

Ouch.

lifeplansSometimes, I grow up too slow.

I feel like I constantly go through this cycle:

1. Start to panic about life.

2. Freak out, break down.

3. Convince myself God is good and that life is beautiful no matter what happens.

4. Feel at peace.

5. Everything looks certain… for about 5 minutes.

6. Repeat steps 1-5.

It’s always something, right?

And today I’ll trust you with the confidence of a man who’s never known defeat, tomorrow pondering what I did will stare at you in disbelief, oh inconsistent me, crying out for consistency.  (Reliant K)

I am quoting a band from my youth. A song I used to listen to over and over to bring some kind of still and calm in the middle of raging worry and emotion.

end

If the burden seems to much to bear, remember, the end will justify the pain it took to get us there.

Now that I am a mom, I feel all this expectation to be really grown up.

Responsible. Not making the same mistakes over and over. At least look like I have it all together.

Spoiler alert: I don’t. And no one does.

(Now I really sound like a mom blog!)

But, really. This cycle we all go through of worry and trust, I think it defines us as humans.

Not only that, it allows God to be God.

My baby is always hungry, tired, bored, sleepy, wanting to be held, something!

She cannot store up cuddles and milk.

A new day means new needs.

(Or a new hour, or new minute.)

And maybe, that’s what she helps me see.

Every day I need to give my worry and needs to God. Every moment.

And some days it looks like learning the same lessons over and over and over, until I am sick of myself.

Because even when I start to loathe the fact I never seem to grow or change,

When It feels like I am the slowest learner, and things will never be different,

God sees the big picture. He sees where I was 2 and 12 years ago, and reminds me of the progress I’ve made on this crazy, adventurous journey of life.

Not only that, but He sees me as his child, and longs to just spend each day with me,

Calming me,

Taking care of me,

Telling me it will all be alright.

Because it will.

My baby is napping now. I peer over the crib and look at her sweet face and my heart swells with a joy and love that frustrates me as a writer because there are no words for it.

Her beauty and innocence and trust is magnificent, and I hope she never loses it. I hope she takes her time to grow up, and that she keeps that child-like faith and wonder that sees all the good in the world and loves every day with everything in her.

And maybe, I can hope the same thing for myself.

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