Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is My Life

Sunday night, when the lights were out and we were going to bed, I felt Scott snuggle up behind me. And then, just like that, I felt his big toe and second toe close in around my achilles tendon. And it made me think about the blessings in my simple life.

I lead an ordinary life.

I wake up to, "Mama! Mommy!" Or, at times, it has been, "Mommy...Elizabeth! Liz! Mommy!"
I wipe noses and change bums.
I make three meals a day.
I text Scott to vent and get support when I am feeling particularly out of patience with the kids.
I listen to my baby breathing, feel her chest to make sure it is rising and falling or I can feel her heart beating.
I sing bedtime lullabies to the boys with Scott and do fingerplays.
I wipe muddy footprints off the kitchen floor.
I clip dirty, long fingernails.
I listen to children giggling and watch them doing laps up and down the hall in their diapers.
I make conversation with two-year-olds.
I feel like super mom when I get a shower before noon.
I feed my children way too much candy.
I hear reflections of myself as I hear the boys say, "Mommy told you," to each other.
I read bedtime stories.
I watch my children sleep at night.
I help my children pray, smiling when they both say the words or alternate with each phrase.
I lose my temper.
I can't get enough of my baby's cheeks.
Going anywhere -- no, just getting ready and out the door to go anywhere, is a feat.
I clean fingerprints off the windows and vacuum bits of crackers or smarties or pretzels from carseats.
I've cleaned permanent black marker of the floor, kissed owies to make them better, cut hair, and cleaned up toilet water from the kitchen floor where the boys were dumping it with joy using measuring cups.
I ask, too often, for the boys to "Stop!" or "Leave it!" or "Please listen!" or "...if I ask you one more time..."
I listen to my boys' voices, singing with gusto, and smile as I recognize the songs or the phrases.

I was reminded tonight, while reading this post, how important it is to appreciate these lovely moments, and how important it is to treat everyone we meet with kindness and love. Writing about these things is I guess some small way that I try to immortalize the experience. Right now, my little family consumes my life. As tiring as that can be at times (in whatever form), the thought that they are growing, and one day won't need me, breaks my heart. I feel inadequate, every aware/worried that my failings and imperfections as a mother will rub off on my children. I wonder what Scott and I are teaching them -- what communication habits, life habits, dealing-with-things habits. But I know that we are doing the best we can, and I know that is all that is required.

Here's the thing, though. I find myself returning to this thought again and again: How can something already bring so much ache with it? The love and fierce devotion I feel for my children scares me. Sometimes I don't know how I am going to survive all the transitions of motherhood, the passing of time, and letting them grow up. I won't always get to hold their little hands or hear them giggle or call me mommy. It's amazing -- the dependence is partly what makes these small years exhausting. And yet, the thought of that changing -- of not having these big, beautiful, innocent eyes of two-year-olds to light my life -- is pretty devastating.

Loving this much and this deep is hard.

And even though I am mighty imperfect, I am grateful for the small successes, and for the many small, beautiful things that bring joy to my life. Like last week, when I texted Scott to say, "I love you too." And all he wrote back was:

"I like that."

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