Today I woke up to the little grunts of Sam restlessly waking up and Luke crawling onto the bed and gluing his body as closely to mine as he could. I felt a little disoriented because a strange dream had just been interrupted and it left me feeling off and weird.
I wanted space, but I turned on mothering.
I tried to steal a few inches of space from Luke and wished him a happy morning. I gathered a tiny bit of energy and pulled fussy Sam onto the bed with us. It had been a night of many interruptions, and I felt every bit of it. Josh came in and gave Sam his medicine and then I nursed him while Luke played next me. The best word to describe him was squirrelly: Except, this squirrel wasn't collecting nuts--he was driving his momma nuts. Toddler legs everywhere, his face pressed up against his brother's head, his hands grabbing things, and his little blue airplane zooming into restricted airspace.
I grumbled at him and made a half-hearted disciplinary effort after his airplane made a sharp landing on Sam. I was annoyed, and I had only been awake for ten minutes. Thankfully, he hopped out of bed to grab some cereal with Josh, and I had a few moments of just me and the little guy.
Josh brought in our morning coffee, and we had our new normal morning coffee routine--some sipping, some chatting, some baby soothing, some toddler corralling, and a lot of wondering what happened to those quiet mornings.
The morning continued to include a lot of toddler whining, a baby who seemed a little less chummy than usual, and a lot of me feeling like I was scraping the bottom of my "nice mom" barrel.
I knew before having kids that my kids wouldn't be perfect or behave perfectly. But I think I always imagined that I would be a "Disney Princess" version of a mom.
My day would start with singing birds and routine--not smelly, morning diapers and trying to negotiate a breakfast menu with a dissatisfied, but unpaying, customer.
I would always meet my kids at eye-level, and they would melt into big puddle of obedience because they couldn't help it after seeing the kindness of my eyes--not find myself with hands on the hips and eyes simmering with frustration and annoyance. Or, heaven help me, that my child would still disobey me after I spoke to him with such sweet words and kindness.
Of course, my patience would be an abounding, and even if I did lose my cool, well, my kiddos would certainly never know.
I really believed this--not really that it would always be so, but that it mostly would be.
Especially with two kids (one being that magical age of 3), I often feel a little like I'm always catching up and trying to keep up. I sometimes just want to find a tiny corner of space and just be untouched for five minutes. I want to find the magical bean that gives toddlers their persistence and eat it myself. I hope to make it to the end of the day without feeling like a grumpy, frazzled momma, but I hardly do.
But here's the thing--this gig, this motherhood thing, this role of daily giving up self and teaching, and washing, and feeding, and loving--it's better than singing birds, and quiet mornings, and fairy godmothers and sleeping until your love wakes you up with a kiss (and a cup of coffee).
And when the baby who has just finished milking you for all you're worth sports a smile that says, "hey mom, I like you," you forget that it's two in the morning.
As Mother's Day approaches, I can't help but feel the enormity of this role. I can't tell you that I always find it easy. Because, honestly, it's the hardest thing I've ever done.
But I can tell you that even on the worst days, even on the days that I wonder who decided I was cut out for this, you couldn't convince me it's not worth it.
Because baby smiles, and toddler snuggles, and listening to the word "disobedience" come out of your toddlers mouth sounding like "dibedence," and tiny hands grabbing your shirt while you nurse, and joyful "roars," and crumbs on the floors--it's the stuff of this season and it's fleeting. It's downright hard, but it's worth it.
It's worth it because it's gospel-living. It teaches me selflessness in its rawest form and love in its deepest. It reminds me daily of of my need for Jesus--and my need to share Jesus.
My kids might not always have a mom who is singing with the birds or blissfully happy at all hours of the day, but they do have a mom who loves Jesus. And at the end of the day, that's what I want them to know and remember.
Or maybe they'll just remember me as a crazy mom who would pray out loud about spilled cocoa powder and patience ;)