Lately I have become aware of my rather ugly tendency of constantly putting myself in a state of waiting. That tendency was yet again brought to my attention after I read the introduction of a new book I started today. In it, she talks about how for essentially the last 20 years of her life she has been waiting for her life to become something fantastic. When she was in high school, she was waiting to become the better college version of herself. In college, she was waiting to become the wife/mother/career woman version of herself, so on and so on. At each stage, she thought the "next one" would bring some big, life altering moment that would make the rest of her life seem boring in comparison.
Ok, I'm listening now.
I'm not sure if we all have a little bit of this in us, but I certainly tend to have A LOT of this in me. And oh how I am so envious of those women who seem to embrace every stage of their life, soaking up the good and realizing how blessed they are each step of the way. Even moms of newborns who post pictures of how amazingly wonderful life is with their 4 week old, when I can't even remember the first several weeks (maybe months?) of any of my children's lives. Looking back over the last 5 or 10 years of my life, I can say I have been waiting for "that next stage" again and again. And again.
And I'm going it again. Right now. It's no secret to those of us with small kids that they are both wonderfully thrilling and really, really hard. Today on the way home from our morning outing, with both girls screaming and fighting and crying over who got to watch Peppa Pig on my phone, and me desperately trying to keep Burke awake until we got home, because we all know it's the KISS OF DEATH if they fall asleep in the car because they will no way José fall back asleep in their crib once home, it occurred to me that I can actually physically feel the life and happiness being sucked out of my body. Fits, screaming, fighting, kicking X 10 every day. Each time sucking a little bit more optimism out of me.
In that moment, and in other moments throughout my day where this scenario is repeated, all I want to do is curl up in my bed in absolute silence and just avoid the icky parts of mothering small children altogether. And nearly every time I find myself in the middle of screaming and poop and whining and sticky hands, my mind instantly fast forwards to, say, the day my kids are 6 and 8. I don't know why, but I always default to these ages. Potty trained, in school, receptive to me threatening them with their lives if they don't cooperate with my demands. Not yet old enough to get involved with sex, drugs, and the 2013 (or 2017) version of Miley Cyrus if God forbid she's still around. Me laying out beside the pool while they all swim, in swimsuits they have put on by themselves, unassisted. GLORIOUS. Oh and of course add to this that I will be super skinny and gorgeous because I will obviously have more will power and less eating of my emotions/margarita drinking and skipping workouts, right?
Just waiting. Trying to ignore the chaos and reality TV worthy moments of my day to day, and just keep living for the day I have maybe half my brain and sanity back. And swimsuit model body.
And then I remember a day not so long ago, sitting on the edge of my bed, crying and crying for the baby I thought I might never have. Feeling the weight and worry of hundreds of days spent trying to get pregnant. Ovulation tests, pregnancy tests, doctor's appointments. Worry. And more worry. And more disappointment. All I wanted in the whole wide world was to be pregnant. To feel a baby grow inside me, look into his/her sweet face and feel that my life was finally complete.
And here I am, watching a baby monitor where I can see all three of my incredible blessings that I don't deserve. God's answer and then some to the millions of prayers I prayed for so many years. And the best I can do is wish they would all get big and less demanding? Surely I can do better. Surely there is a way to embrace this exact moment. This exact day. That even in the moments where all I want to do is close my eyes and float away, God can intercede and give me the strength, patience and insight to understand that this is bliss. This very moment is the moment I prayed for and wanted with every fiber of my being. This wiping of the bottom, putting on of the pull-up because pooping in the potty is the equivalent of jumping into a snake pit to my almost 3 year old. This 45th sippy cup I've lovingly prepared today. This sweeping up of the dried up peas my 15 month old threw off his high chair last night. All of these moments, put together throughout the course of a day that have the ability to make any mom feel like her life has been boiled down to the role of an underpaid babysitter, are really all things we wanted in the depths of our hearts that moment we all decided to give motherhood a shot.
I once read something written by a mom who had had one too many of these awesome motherhood moments write that one day she finally realized that if she looked at her role as a mom as really a loving servant to her children, it completely changed out she viewed the less glorious, poopy moments. That changing diapers, cleaning up messes, time outs, teaching and temper tantrums were each just brush strokes that would someday amount to a really beautiful masterpiece of a human being, if done with great love. I love that. And while it is so hard to see through the haze of exhaustion somedays that what I'm doing as a mom really does mean something, I pray that God would help me to see with His eyes in those moments I just want to give up.
Happy mothering, my friends.
UPDATE: I read this blog about 10 minutes after publishing this post. Apparently Glennon and I are on the same wavelength today. :)