Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A letter to myself

Dear Amy,

Right now, you are in the thick of it. Tantrums. Sleep deprivation. Distracted nursing sessions. Poop. So.much.poop. It all sounds so great, doesn't it?

That's the thing, it is. Take a minute. Breathe in the scent of those freshly washed baby curls. Listen to the sounds of sweet belly laughs. Pat his soft dimpled skin and kiss those chubby cheeks, again and again.

Look at you the boy who first called you mama. Look at how long his legs are and remember how tiny they used to be in your arms. Put your hands on his sweet face and tell him how much you love him as you remember the chubby cheeks that you used to obsessively kiss. Rub your hands through this short hair darkening with time and remember the blond and curly locks that used to be in its place.

Three year olds. Oh, my three is hard. These little beings can be exhausting but they are so amazing in that same respect. Cuddle him close when he invites you in. Your baby is a mere two months away from toddlerhood. Don't rush him, he'll do things in his own time and when he is ready. It will come too soon that his dependence will lessen and your heart will miss it.

Time is fleeting, momma and I know It's hard to be 'in the moment' all the time.

The tantrums are hard. They are frustrating, exhausting and even confusing. Sometimes, you want to cry too when you've tried to accommodate an overtired three year old who wants nothing you are offering and you're exhausted after getting up who knows how many times to nurse the baby and finally getting up at 5:30 am to get ready for work (and get everyone out of the door on time!) Sometimes, you give in and that's ok.

Instead of crying, you get through it, together. You find yourself thankful for his voice and know you'll hear laughter soon enough.

The lack of sleep is rough and makes the days long but you find yourself thankful for the nightly nursing sessions because it means you're able to nourish and fill his sweet belly. You soak in those moments, as he grows bigger with each gulp because you know those moments are fleeting.

When your three year old asks you 100 questions, 99 which are the same, take time to answer them. They might not be that high on your list and might even drive you a bit crazy but try to remember you are his guide in this world and his teacher.

When you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, just stop. Look around at the toys sprawled throughout the house and know those won't be there forever. One day, you'll miss them.

When all else fails sing, dance, paint or break all the rules. Eat cake for breakfast. Run through the sprinkler in the dark. Leave the dishes behind so you can build a fort in the living room. Sometimes, you just need to let go. Have fun. Leave your worries behind. Really. Don't just 'pretend' to leave them behind but do it.

I know that the days are short, the lists are long and there are so many tears along the way but you will never get these days back. I know that knowledge is hard to swallow but just take a step back and love your life right at this moment. Forget whatever notion of perfect parenting you have carved out in your mind or the snippets of others lives you read on the Internet but its your moment, it's their childhood. It's okay if you feel like you're failing sometimes as we all have our inadequacies and it's those that make us strive to be better.

In that same breath, don't forget, you're a good mom. You may not have time to do all the fun and educational activities you've pinned on Pinterest but your kids are happy. You might drag them from one errand to the next on your days off but they feel loved and that is what is important.

I know it's hard to remember all of this in the hustle and bustle of everyday life with two young kids but come back to this, read it over a time or two to remind yourself.

Think of the sounds Benny makes as you are reunited after a long day at work. Remember how he curls up around you and nuzzles his head into your chest with pure excitement. Remember that moment.

Think to bedtime when you are tucking Brady in and he asks for another kiss, and another hug. Then, another and another. Think of those innocent moments in the dark when he allows you to cradle him in your arms and surround him with love. Remember that moment.

It's those moments that we live for and don't let them get away.

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton


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Susan said...

You really are a great mom. This is a great reminder!

Julia Goolia said...

This is my favorite post you've written. I had to skip over a few parts in fear of the words making me cry, though. But i loved it, still ;)