Young parenthood has been a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows, joys and challenges that have refined my soul just a little bit more. Of course, that’s for me to (dare) hope and for God to judge. 🙂 Despite it being so tough sometimes, I have had many older women smile and get that far-away look in their eyes when they talk about when they had babies and young children. Almost all of them have told me, in one form or another, that these are some of the best days of my life.
On tough days, I wonder how they could have forgotten how infuriating it is to want just TWO MINUTES ALONE to pee without a toddler skipping around at your feet and trying to grab the plunger and extra toilet paper roll off the rack.
On better days, I just respond with a smile, “I know.”
This past week the kids and I were stricken (Oh, what a perfect use of that word!) with a nasty cold that threw me headfirst into Mommy Survival Mode. Taking care of a newborn and a young toddler by myself isn’t exactly easy on the best of days; with Mommy running on empty and both kids battling a cold, it can be really, really rough.
During the worst of it, I felt like I was in a one-woman losing battle, huddled in the metaphorical trenches of motherhood. Hygiene went down the drain. As did a lot of cough drops.
Even when I’m not sick, young parenthood is tough. I struggle every single day with parenting my sweet, adorable, illogical, emotional 23-month-old. I lose my temper with him far more often than I’d like to admit. I fight loneliness often as I clean up crumbs and throwup and dishes and diapers and muddy Crocs and spilled milk. I battle secret thoughts of ditching my house–alone!–to go get a pedicure, pick up a frappucino, buy a new book from Barnes and Noble, then find a breezy, shady tree by a lake for a little reading and a NAP.
And yet in the midst of all this, God strings me lovingly along by sending me sweet moments to get me through and remind me that I’m where I’m supposed to be. He sends those kinds of moments that sparkle and shine forward into the beautiful memories held dear by our mothers and grandmothers.
Memories like today, when I put on the radio and waltzed Faith to sleep after lunch in the living room, while Gabriel had the time of his life making a game out of chasing my dancing feet so he could catch them and give them kisses.
Or every day, when Gabriel runs screaming and laughing at full-speed to the front door when he hears his Daddy coming home from work.
Or when Gabriel “goes to work” with his Daddy, feeling so obviously important and needed as he rides on Michael’s lap on the ZTR with his little blue Spiderman sunglasses and ear guards and camo pants.
Or when we spend a lazy Sunday afternoon (and first cool afternoon of Faith’s life!) drinking Cokes and watching the air show at nearby Ellington Field from our front yard.
On tough days, I can sometimes hate making myself pick up my head from the trenches to admit that it’s not all bad. That parenthood is one of the most wonderful and beautiful and fulfilling things I’ve ever done. It’s easier to roll in the mud when you’re down than to get up and start cleaning yourself off.
As I finish this post, both kids are waking up from a nap. Both are hungry. Both are whiny. I didn’t get a nap because I decided to finally get on my laptop and get this blog post out of my head.
After snacktime (and Second Lunch for Faith), I think I might take a walk in the park this afternoon. After all, it’s a beautiful day. 🙂