This Saturday, my son will be 14 months old. It seems nearly impossible, and yet also seems as if time has flown since I first held him in my arms. How did we go from
in a mere 14 months? And yet while it seems so fast, it has taken my about that long to even begin to adjust to life as a mom. Anyone who has talked to me in the last few weeks knows that having a teething, screaming, active toddler is not my cup of tea. I hate putting him down for naps, dreading that the next hour will be filled with him vocalizing his displeasure at a myriad of octaves. I often hide in the bathroom, just to get two minutes of peace (though recently, he has taken to pounding on the bathroom door, eliminating that as an option). In fact, even now, I am sitting at the kitchen table attempting to remain as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, hoping that he continues to play and doesn't notice I'm trying to eat lunch. He stresses me out. I wasn't ready for him, and often still don't feel ready for him. I envy the wives who only have to worry about their husbands, and have time to go get coffee without their child saying "bye bye" to every person he meets. I envy those who have time to actually do their hair and take a shower more than every three days.
And yet, this morning, I was reminded why. As Emmet and I sat in the kitchen over a bowl of cereal, Joe came in and mentioned he was leaving for work for the day. My sweet little boy looked at his father, whom he adores beyond the moon, and with a mouth full of cheerios shouted "bye bye", waving his hand as he did so. And my heart melted.
It has taken me nearly a year and a half, but as of this morning, I could firmly say I love being a mom. While I don't love the sleepless nights and the constant mess and the tempter tantrums, I sure love the little boy who causes them. I love watching him learn, watching him explore, and even that look of mischief he gets when he's doing something he know's he shouldn't. I love seeing him squeal with delight and then shake his head back and forth because he can't contain how excited he is, even if it's by something as simple as a good snack. I love getting him up in the morning, when I find him standing in his crib with his pacifier in one hand and the blanket in the other, just waiting to get up and explore the world.
A friend told me a few weeks ago that children are the hardest and yet most rewarding life experience you will ever have. And I'd have to agree. Yet they are the biggest blessing our Lord could have given us. They refine us. They sanctify us. They teach us. And we are given the responsibility of loving them as He loves His children - a responsibility so great and so grand and so humanly impossible that we can only do it by walking with Him in grace and love, and even energy sometimes.
So mamas out there who are in the midst of the rough times, there are beautiful times too. And I would encourage you, just as I have to remind myself often, focus on those beautiful times. Realize that with the pain and the heartache and the frustration comes joy and love and and overwhelming sense of purpose. We are given this little ones to mold and to shape and to share our Jesus with them, and that is such a great responsibility and a noble cause. And remember - you aren't in this alone. You have mama friends, your husband, and so many others who are doing this with you.
Be still and know that He is, and you are not, and your moments with your babies will be gone before you know it. Enjoy them. Treasure them. The good and the bad. Because they only grow up once.
And with that, he noticed I'm eating something, and is asking to share it. Well, I got twenty minutes to myself :)