Sunday, January 29, 2017

Motherhood


For those who have read this little blog for a few years or more, you may have noticed that I didn't do a "year in review" post like I have done for previous years. It's not for lack of wanting to, I promise. I just don't have my act together these days. Surprise!


Just kidding, this should come as no surprise. Motherhood is not for the birds. It takes your precious time and energy, and chews you up and spits you out and leaves you feeling both elated and empty at the same time. Each minute of every day can easily hold extreme joy and also deep despair (whether your own or your child's), and it's all I can do to hold on as I ride this roller coaster of emotions with my little girl.





My  little girl. Gosh those words sound strange to me. I insist that she be my baby girl, not little girl. And yet time stamps on her the marks of growing up, and she is going to turn 2 years old in five weeks. It is true then, a little girl she is. With Liza Love, I find myself wanting time to stand still as we sit on the sofa and read books and I nuzzle my nose into the squishy soft underside of her cheeks. And yet at other times, like when she's body planking in absolute refusal to get in her car seat, I wish she was a grown woman, and I could rest and read and write and work out and be a more present friend & wife and cook dinner without her standing on my feet trying to climb up my body.


But I would surely miss so much if we skipped forward to easier days. I would miss Liza Love taking her diaper off and running through the house naked saying "get you!" (short for "I'm gonna get you!") I would miss her absolute refusal to take her antibiotics for a mild ear infection -- causing nearly a week of my daily tackling her as pink amoxicillin goes everywhere (NOT fun to clean up.) I would miss the ladies at the grocery store saying hi to the "sweet, cute, pretty, fat baby" like one did today (nearly once a week, someone calls LL 'fat'.... It's totally a compliment but I still find it amusing.) I would miss her OBSESSION with Frozen and her fifteen "Let it Go" song requests a day. I would miss our family dance parties to La La Land, Bieber, TSwift and Ed Sheeran. I would miss her body-hug greetings that she gives to everyone she knows (and some people she doesn't know) and my having to tell her to let go after she's held on for a bit too long. I would even miss the breathy way she says "I sorry" after she sits in time out for some wide array of infractions (throwing her food, throwing her fork, hitting, pulling hair, disobeying.... that girl's a firecracker, let me tell you what.) I would miss our walks around the neighborhood and stopping to make geese and duck sounds or to pet every dog that crosses our path or to watch the squirrels and talk about acorns. I would miss how she wants her "bankey" (blanket) and sometimes refuses to eat unless it's in her lap. I would miss her incessant "Raffi mama!" requests in the car each time one Raffi song ends and before the next one comes on. I would miss her wide-eyed face and exclamations she makes whenever something big happens -- taking a big bite, putting on her big coat, me putting on my big puffy vest. I would miss her complaining and saying "holdy mama" whenever she wants me to pick her up (which is always and without fail while I'm trying to make dinner.) I would miss these days so much. And I don't want to.



A lot of mothers will tell you that these years with young children are all about survival and endurance. This is totally true. But I don't want these years to just fly by as I get through them and wait for Liza Love to grow up. I want to endure them with joy. I want to cherish and savor the moments with LL -- yes, even when she is misbehaving and frustrating me to no end. Even when the laundry hasn't been folded in a week and there are layers of crumbs under the kitchen table, and I'm nervous that a friend is going to show up unannounced and see the chaotic state that we live in. Even when I'm tired (um hello... always) and the idea of making yet another dinner makes me want to pound wine. (Wine and coffee are God's gifts to mothers, I swear. And LaCroix.)



The laundry can wait. The dishes can pile up. Husbands can come home to a state of disarray. Eventually all those chores will get done. (BTW, I am majorly preaching to myself right now because for me, an orderly home makes a peaceful heart. But actually, as Christians, our hearts should not be easily swayed based on our circumstances or how perfect our homes are. Rather, our hearts should be steadfast and grounded in the Lord. That's why David wrote "renew a steadfast spirit within me" in Psalm 51. Again, I am majorly preaching to myself here... I'll be the first to tell you I ain't no saint.) For now, I need to remind myself that Liza Love is only 22 months old once, and she is changing so much every day, and I don't want to miss it because I was too concerned about my to-do list. Or, even too concerned that my quiet time is routinely cut short because the little miss keeps waking up early from her nap. Why yes, the good Lord knows that a mom's quiet times sometimes are gonna be brief (if they happen at all.) And that is ok. It's all ok.



So. As we snuggle in the dark each night, I'm going to keep whispering in Liza Love's ear that she's my baby girl. She may drive me crazy sometimes, but she will always be my baby girl and I will never stop loving her. And I wouldn't trade these days for anything.