-written August 9, 2017 in the middle of the night so the featured picture is from about a year ago as well 🙂
Motherhood is not glamorous. These early years are just downright hard in very primal ways. Like tonight for example. I’m awake at 11:11pm not by choice. In fact I’m almost never awake this late by choice any more. My chosen bed time is around 9:30pm. No, tonight, Penny is struggling. My best guess is that she needs to poop (seeing as she’s as regular as it gets and hasn’t passed her daily poop yet today). I’ve nursed her, checked her diaper, nursed her again, rocked her, put her in the swing, rubbed tummy oils on her belly and sleep oils on her chest and back of the neck. I’ve rocked her again, I’ve checked her diaper again, I’ve shoved gripe water down her throat (apparently taking medicine is not her thing right now… confusing since typically she downs the stuff like it’s candy), put her in the swing. And now I’m here, with her crawling all over me trying to at least be productive until whatever is going on with her passes.
And the truth is, that is nothing compared to the every night with Maisy. She was up every night until she was over two years old. Sometimes it was to nurse but most of the time it was just to hang out, sometimes for hours, in the middle of the night.
Honestly, I hate this part of the job – the night time wakings and needs. It makes me very grumpy and tired. I know there are moms out there who embrace this time better, relishing in extra snuggles and kisses, but this mama just wants to stay in bed! Who’s with me?
I could put more of a positive spin or ending to this story because the truth is the positive is always right there too. Motherhood is more inherently beautiful and wonderful than it is challenging and exhausting but sometimes it’s nice to just commiserate in the rough and tough and not always feel like us moms have to say something like “but man, I wouldn’t trade this job for anything in the world” or “but it’s so worth it” at the end of every hard story.
Dear Maisy and Penny,
The greatest gift I’ve ever been given on this earth is your love. I never anticipated the unconditional and overwhelming love you have for me. I cherish your love so much. I love that if nothing else is going right in my world, that I can still count on you two to love me so completely and passionately. Your hearts are so pure. It’s an amazing feeling knowing I hold your hearts in my hand.
You love me in completely different ways. And yet, I feel so completely and powerfully loved by you both.
Penny, there is nothing that fills my heart more than when I pick you up from the nursery at church and you rush at me with that goofy grin on your face and arms stretched wide. There’s nothing like the hug you give me the moment I scoop you up.
Maisy, you could say “I love you” the way you do a million times in a day and it would be a love punch to the gut every time. I’m always honored when you need me to hold you after you hurt yourself. And your hugs girl, they are the most enveloping love experience of all. My most cherished moments any more, in part due to my back injury and in part due to your baby sister, are those that I get to pick you up and hold you. You melt my heart with the way you melt into me, like you’re becoming a part of me again, and smile so tenderly in this.
It’s incredible that I know your sole goal in life at this small age is to love and be loved by me. It’s a beautiful reality beyond our bond too because it’s so revealing of how the Lord feels about me and how He craves that attention from me in return.
I love you both with my whole heart and more,
Written in September 2017.
You amaze me. You have a knack for picking up on the most important of life lessons with ease, sometimes without much coaching from me. One day I said “I forgive you” to you instead of “it’s ok” or the like. I chose “I forgive you” that day because I did want to teach you that concept and I also understood that because you are so much like your daddy that those words would become very important to you. That first time struck a chord and I never even had to explain the meaning of the phrase. You simply understood. And, just like I suspected, you have needed those words ever since.
Tonight, when tucking you in to bed, we were talking about your day. My new favorite question to ask is “what did you like about today?” You animatedly listed off your favorite things when suddenly your arm randomly flew at my face and your finger poked me so hard in the eye that my contact popped out. I said “owe” while wincing at the pain of the blow. You kept saying sorry but I didn’t register the repetition until I was already making my way out of your bed. You said, “Mommy, do you forgive me?” I said yes, the told you I’d be right back after I fixed my contact.
You have been saying “Mommy, do you forgive me?” for every one of your offenses, big and small, ever since. Your need to be forgiven and to hear it explicitly stated as such strikes me hard in the pit of my heart. There’s an innocence to your request and this indescribable purity and beauty to it that leaves my heart only aching every time. Each time you utter that phrase I’m equal parts sad and proud at the same time. I’m so proud of your heart and how you naturally grab on to the heart of God at every turn. I pray that the question isn’t a sign that you think you’re beyond forgiveness but that you simply need to hear that you’re not. I pray you say it every time not because you doubt my love for you in those moment but that you simply need the fullness of the reconciliation that comes with those words. But, most of all, I pray I can adequately show you I will always forgive you.
With all my heart,
Some months ago we met the challenge of getting you to eat people food. Ok, not to be too dramatic here, you gladly ate mac n cheese, sweet potatoes, apples, oranges, yogurt, cheese, and berries. But other foods jumped off your menu and when something undesirable landed on your plate you would either abruptly push the plate away or start crying. No matter how hungry you were, you refused to eat.
I’m stubborn enough to persist with my meal offerings even though you were a walking whine all afternoon for weeks on end. Why am I so stubborn? Because I love you too much to raise you to be a picky eater. It is my understanding and belief that by letting you be picky now may result in a lifetime of picky eating habits and any number of health issues due to poor nutrition. We eat a diverse diet to provide the variety of vitamins and nutrients we need to be as healthy as we can be. Lastly, and most importantly, even though there were days I was worried you weren’t getting enough to eat, I could rest in the truth that any calories you missed during meal time you were making up via breastfeeding or via your sippy cup full of a combination of almond milk and heavy cream.
I’m so thankful I didn’t cave during this picky season in order to have an afternoon of peace. Now you are back on board with eating anything I put in front of you. Are there times when you choose not to eat? Absolutely. But there is nearly always a way to coax you into trying what I’ve made for dinner and enjoy, at least, pieces of it. I’m rooting for your healthy and nutritious future!
Proud of you,
On February 5, I found out I was pregnant. I’m thankful that my thoughts didn’t immediately go to you because you are my bittersweet part of this puzzle. But, come evening, I see you grinning at me from across the room and my heart sinks a little for the thought of what having this baby will mean for your feelings.
When Baby comes, things will have to change, you’ll have to become more independent. When you came along, it tore my heart apart having to push Maisy aside whenever your needs were greater than hers. To her, I was her everything so that part of sisterhood was heart crushing to her. She adored me and you through it all, but it was so hard seeing her sad little heart learn how to adjust. With Maisy I so badly wanted to preserve our fierce bond to each other, that she wouldn’t feel shafted or pushed to the side. With you I so badly want to preserve the joy you are to me. I’m worried you’ll crash spiral into a very broken, sad baby. I hope and pray that that it won’t feel to either of us like I have to give up one baby, you, to make way for the new baby.
Just know I love you with a joy I can’t describe and that I’m going to fight to keep that alive, even when you’re struggling with sharing me. I have wholeheartedly adored every moment of babyhood with you. You are an incredible joy and wonder to my heart. You make every day sunny and full of life. You’re are easygoing, considerate, smart, and so easy to love.
I love you like crazy,