Please stop telling me, “one day you’re gonna miss all this.” I know that. I’ve even written a blog post about it. But that phrase doesn’t help me now.
It doesn’t help me when I’m walking around the house at the end of the day and picking up every toy the girls own from the floor, scraping dried on food from plates and forks, begging one to go to sleep already, all after (what feels like) hours of begging both of them to eat their dinner.
It does a number to your confidence to spend an hour whipping up dinner only to have the Big Girl decide she’d rather eat the chips from the bag instead of the dinner you made.
No, telling me I’ll miss all this one day only accomplishes one thing: guilt. And, trust me, I have enough to feel guilty about already. Now you’re inadvertently insinuating that I not only need to deal gracefully with every second of screaming, crying, fighting, disrespect and disobedience, I also need to be thankful for it.
I understand what you are saying. Really I do. I know you miss these days or perhaps never even had the opportunity to experience them and my grumbling about dirty socks and diaper changes leaves you feeling nostalgic or sad. And I am sorry. I am sorry.
I also appreciate that you see my constant exhaustion and I can’t help but notice the sparkle in your eye telling me that you remember it well and you can relate. Thank you for stepping for a moment in to my struggle and being present enough to speak to me in some way. I love you and I appreciate you.
But may I make a request? Please don’t tell me that I’ll miss it one day. I know this. I am reminded of it every morning when they look like they grew in their sleep. It looks up at me in the form of big brown eyes behind thick black lashes. It’s in the curls that are getting longer and the pants that seem to be getting shorter.
I see them growing every time we mark off another line on the growth chart and go up a size in shoes. I see them growing and feel the sense of losing them to the process every day. I don’t really need the reminder.
What do I need? When I’m exhausted and I haven’t slept because of night terrors and I’m just sitting down to eat while everyone else is asking for seconds; when I am wiping up milk from the tile and trying to convince Baby Girl not to dump her bowl off the table, I need gentleness.
What I need is a reminder that I am doing good work and extremely valuable work. I need your stories about your own children; tell me the funny ones and the sad ones. I could also use a hug. Hugs from one Mom to another are great. I need you to tell me that it’s OK to be frustrated, to be tired, and to feel completely overwhelmed sometimes. Please tell me that you remember what it’s like and, better yet, offer to help.
And thank you. Thank you for setting an example of a godly mother. Thank you for loving my children and me. Thank you for holding the kids so I can actually eat at the church luncheon without a child on my lap. Thank you for coming over and reading books to my kids and doing all the voices. Thank you for stashing sweets in your purse just for them and making a lasting impression on their lives. Thank you for praying.
And with all due respect and kindness, please stop telling me “you’ll miss this one day.”
And, if all else fails, bring coffee.
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