Tuesday, August 28, 2012

:: mothering ::

It's 2am.  I just went upstairs after staring at my screen for over an hour, watching a blinking cursor.  As my battery life dwindled down to 19%, I gave up and decided to start my ritual that I perform when I can't sleep.

Clean.

I went up the stairs with every intention of putting away laundry, tidying the kids' bathroom and heading to bed. Armed with stacks of summer jammies, unders and shorts, I tiptoed into the boys' room and slipped into their walk-in closet without waking them.  I closed the door, flipped on the light and quickly put the clothes in their proper places.  I opened the door, forgetting to switch off the light first and just stood there, staring.  At my boys. Their little sleeping faces were dimly lit and they didn't even flinch.  I must've stared for quite a few minutes before Liam opened his eyes, looked at me, smiled, grabbed his frog and curled up on the foot of his bed.  I flipped his pillow (Gia and I call this "getting a fresh pillow) and grabbed him under his tiny little toddler arms and quickly slid him back up to the head of the bed.  Laying his head back on his pillow, covering him up, I kissed his sweaty little head and whispered, "'Night, baby."



Standing up gave me the perfect view of my Aidan, right through the slats on the side of his upper bunk.  His damp hair curled on his forhead and freckles dotted his cheeks and nose as he slept on, legs tucked up underneath him and bum in the air.  I love that he still sleeps this way sometimes.  I brush the curl off of his forehead, pull his covers up over him, silently shut the light off and leave, closing the door behind me.

Next is Gia's room...our nightly ritual of a late-night potty run.  I pick her up, feel her wrap her arms around my neck and nestle her face in my neck.  She's still so tiny and light and I carry her with ease.  After a quick "go", I scoop her back up and lay her back down on her "fresh pillow".  She's awake by now, and I whisper, "'Night, bug.  I love you." To which she responds, "I love you too."

With a head full of thoughts, I head back downstairs and...here I am.

I'm so full of thoughts.

As I stared at all three of my babies today - one just about to enter Kindergarten, another not far behind him, and my last, changing from toddlerhood into boyhood so quickly, I had a flood of emotions I haven't felt for awhile.

I get so caught up in the day-to-day sometimes.  Rules, consequences, exasperated half-answers to curious questions, criticism, annoyance, fatigue and HOLY SMOKES WHY WON'T THIS KID POTTY TRAIN?!  Phone calls, appointments, car stuff, emails, drama, dinners, schedules, school clothes, decisions, decisions, decisions, facebook, photo editing...

The fact is...time is moving fast and I'm helpless to slow it down.  On top of that, I am wasting it.  I am wasting time with such dumb petty things sometimes.  I know life happens -- I can't bury my head in the sand and play legos all day, but I sure can spend more time...nurturing, playing, reading, coloring, unplugging.

Recent events have my head spinning, as I think to years ahead.  I will have a grown woman and 2 grown men. As I attempt to picture that scenario in my head, I try to think of what I believe it will look like vs. what I would like it to look like... and if they line up.  I let my head...go there.  To what may come.  What my kids may (God forbid) go through because life is cruel sometimes and the devil is so mean.  Disease, divorce, loss of jobs, loss of love, loss of faith...loss of life.  When they need me and my mothering skills are called upon in the hour of need, will I be enough for them?  Can I handle all of the ugly along with all of the good or will I just implode at the first sight of my kids experiencing heartache?  Will I have good advice?  Will I be a source of comfort?  Will they come to me?  Will they trust me?  I know my mommy heart will break a thousand times watching my babies grow up, experience pain and loss.  Is my heart strong enough?  Do my babies really, I mean really know how much I love them?

I realize that I must do all that it takes to keep their hearts close to mine.  I know I can't make all of the ugly go away, but I can be their mom, confidante, protector and yes - friend.  I need to slow down, pray more, read more and learn more about how I can be the best mom I can be to them.  I'm going to keep some personal mommy goals visible where I can see them.  Quit nagging and freaking out about the toys everywhere...embrace it.  It's messy and lovely and someday, the toys will be gone.  More tenderness, more cuddling, more stories, laughing and silliness.  Lots more silliness.  Life gets serious soon enough...I am to keep it silly as frequently as possible.  More exploring, more spiritual conversations, more lessons on how to be a good sibling, citizen and friend.  More compassion. More consideration.  Creating more opportunities to model a servant's heart.  Teaching to serve those less fortunate...we have so much.  More bike-riding, ice cream and *gasp* soda pop.  Thanking more sincerely when they hand me a flower (which they do so often - bless their hearts) and making eye contact when they tell me they love me (which they do so often - bless their souls).  Truth is, I really don't know how much time on this earth I have with them.  That is what 2012 has taught me.  For the first time, I feel like I'm running out of time.  And time slows for no man.

Bottom line is:

When these kids lay their sweaty little heads on their fresh pillows every single night of their lives - childhood to teen, to adulthood, they will know these things:

Mommy loves them no matter what they do or who they become

Jesus loves them no matter what they do or who they become

They are good and worthy of love and every good thing in life

I will always have their backs.