I was in the office at work a couple of weeks ago when I overheard the sounds of the monthly MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group, meeting in the coffee shop at church. Many enjoyed the opportunity of free childcare, fellowship complete with real adult conversations, and home cooked food. Some however, either didn’t want to part with their little ones or didn’t think their little ones would be happy, parting from them.
There was one baby, in particular, who was having an especially tough time that day, even while still in the company of Mom. After hearing the child cry for what was probably no more than about 20 seconds, I looked over to my boss and uttered the words, “I wouldn’t go back to those days for anything!” My daughter, who is now 5, was an absolute delight during the day. She rarely cried and was one of the happiest babies I’d ever seen. BUT…she slept horribly up until, oh I don’t know, about 6 months ago! It seemed like I never got a good night’s sleep when she was a baby. My 3 year old son, on the other hand, slept like a champ but was a very grumpy and needy baby. Strangers could look at him wrong and send him into a crying frenzy. In a nutshell, that’s what stands out the most to me about each of them.
I am thoroughly enjoying the stage we’re in right now with both of them. They laugh at the same things I do, they try to make me laugh, they are absolute sponges when it comes to school and most importantly, they’re becoming little prayer warriors. How could I possibly trade the days of crying and nights of sleeplessness for what I have now without sounding slightly off my rocker?
Oh, Lord, you humble me each and every day. And you don’t usually let too much time go between the boneheaded and short-sighted things I say before you make me realize just how boneheaded and short-sighted they really are.
THE VERY NEXT DAY:
I was looking for a box that was big enough for the Valentine’s Day cards my daughter was going to be receiving from her classmates. I searched high and low until I found the perfect box: A bright pink shoebox with the word “Candies”written in gold, from a pair of high heels I’d purchased to
torture my feet wear to work.
I opened the box and found a 4″x8″ wire-bound book with the word “Journal” at the bottom. It hit me after just a moment of staring at it, what it was. I’d started this journal as a way to speak to my daughter so that she might be comforted in knowing my thoughts, struggles, and the things I was thankful for as she got older and had children of her own. I’d always loved looking through the baby book my mom kept for me and I wanted to share with Presley, something even more intimate than that. We think of our parents as invincible when we’re younger and I wanted her to know that I was in fact a human being, fully equipped with many emotions and challenges of my own. I had hoped it would bring her much joy and comfort.
Here’s an excerpt from February 24, 2009 when I was pregnant with our son:
“I had about the best bedtime session with you tonight. We were nursing on the Futon in the Bronco room (that’s where you have to sleep right now because of the plumbing problem) and you were so very sweet. I always try to put your hand on my belly when the baby is kicking but you usually get impatient or the baby stops moving. Well not tonight! You giggled while you were nursing every time the baby moved and would kick your hand. It was my sweetest moment as a mother so far. I showed you how to pray after that and we snuggled. You reached behind your shoulder and patted yourself while you said the word “back” and I asked if you wanted me to rub your back. You said, “Uh-huh!” so I rubbed your back as you put your head on my shoulder.”
How could I forget something so sweet? How could I say I would “never” go back to those days? “I felt like a penny waiting for change”, as my Mom says. I suppose it’s a good thing that God lets me know pretty quickly when I’ve said something so foolish. It certainly allows me to connect the dots rather quickly!
The truth is, almost 6 years into the maternal role I find myself in, I know exactly how I can forget. I hardly remember what happened yesterday, let alone 2, 3, 4 years ago! This is why it’s so important to write it all down. I read every entry from this journal to my daughter a few days later. I can’t tell you how bright her eyes lit up when I told her that the night before she turned 1, I told her how she’s “changed my world” and how even as a baby she’s helped to “make me a better person.” I can only imagine how much she’ll appreciate these words when she’s older.
Go easy on yourself. None of us remember it all; even those of us who seem to have it all together forget these kinds of details. Unfortunately, the large majority of us also have a tendency to hang on to the negative and remember only the things that were difficult. It really is up to us, however, to be sure that the positively joyful moments are never forgotten. I’m so thankful that God revealed this gem to me at a time when I needed to be reminded of all He has given me. That’s usually how it works and I wouldn’t change that for anything!
Commit yourself today, to write down 1 thing each day that your child or a loved one does that makes you grateful to God for placing that person in your life. You’ll be so glad you did, especially on those inevitable days when we find ourselves discouraged and under-appreciated.