Most days, my eyes peel open at the slight glow from my bedroom window. I realize, for a moment, that I never got up when my alarm went off an hour or more earlier. I sigh. I am already tired. But I drag myself from my comfortable bed to head to the kitchen where my sweet husband has made a pot of coffee. If I am lucky, there’s enough for more than one cup. Then I sit in my living room, light starting to send stripey rays of golden sun onto everything in it’s path.
My time in the morning is precious. To myself. Quiet. I read. Pray. Answer emails. I do a lot of things in the morning to get myself ready for when the kids get up. Once they’re up, all opportunity to do anything on my to-do list is gone. At least till nap time. So I try to get a few things out of the way before the “green light” turns on, signaling to my preschooler that she can get out of bed. Slow down, my mind reminds me.
The morning includes breakfast and a lot of talking. My daughter, Jael, wakes up ready to spill all the words that built up in her little brain overnight. If my coffee has kicked in, I enthusiastically talk with her about princesses, painting, Doc McStuffins, and the fact that we all miss daddy. Elijah, my son, eats his entire bowl of honey nut O’s in record time, signing “more” that he would like another bowl. Most of the time, he eats three bowls, and then I cut him off like a bartender. I have to talk my daughter into eating just one bowl most of the time, but the past few days, she’s also pounded out three bowls. Growth spurt, I think to myself as my son kicks his pillow feet and assertively declares, “DOWN!!”
We then go into the living room to play with the baskets full of toys. My heart stops several times as he runs past the corners of my coffee table. I make a mental note to visit the store for table bumpers. Elijah has already busted his noggin open a few times on the table. Like the instinct to yelp when your child runs towards the street, I almost feel a physical draw to check social media, email, or work on my to-do list. Slow down. Its hard; I watch, tiredly, as Jael takes toys from Elijah, pulls his arms and legs, and runs away whenever I tell her to stop. Each morning, I wonder when my discipline will show fruit. My thoughts are interrupted by my daughter’s pleas to turn on the TV. I give in.
As I sit on the couch, cuddling my babies and breathing in the smells of their hair, I am reminded that despite my fatigue, these days are few. They are sweet. And a moment of peace, I see a small glimpse of the joy in parenting. The hard physically exhausting days will pass, I think to myself. Slow down. After several episodes of a combination of Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, its lunchtime. The kids squeal in delight when I ask, “Who wants a peanut butter and jelly sammy??” Jael yells ME! while Elijah simply runs to the kitchen saying, “Yes, yes, yes!” We eat, they’re happy, I’m happy. I wonder if I can reheat the sludge in the bottom of the coffee pot.
I then take Elijah out of his high chair and smile as he turns into a giggly little gumby. He always does this right before going down to sleep. Like he thinks his cuteness will keep me from putting him down. It almost works. :) But mommy needs a shower, so I rock him and sing for a few extra seconds, remembering that one day I will miss the crib days, but lay his smiley little self down in his crib, whisper an I love you, and leave the room. I tell my little miss that I am taking a shower, and then I am off to have a moment to myself. Although, most of the time, my daughter stands between the cloth shower curtain and the plastic liner and chats my ear off the entire time. Outwardly, I sigh. Inwardly, I say a prayer that the Lord would inject a little joy into my heart towards the million-word child that enthusiastically tells me another story. I try to remember to be present for her. I nod, listen, and smile at her imagination.
After the shower, I debate drying my hair and getting ready vs. sitting on the couch and catching up on emails, reading, or simply zoning out until my son wakes. Lunch may or may not be in the cards for me, since most of the time, I am too tired to make anything. I contemplate coffee again. I snuggle my little twig of a daughter as she watches wide-eyed at the princesses on the screen. Its amazing, their wonder and delight. Elijah wakes a couple hours later and we are ready to play again. The kids are starting to love being with each other, and this brings a smile to my face. Even though they fight over toys and such, there are still those rare little hugs and kisses, and I love it.
Sometimes the time passes quickly, sometimes slowly, but eventually daddy comes home. I feel a weight lift off my shoulders; there is now another adult to help. He smiles knowingly at me as Jael starts chattering about the day. Elijah just grins and grasps at my husband’s shirt, saying, “Up?! Up?!” hoping my husband will reach down and bring him into a hug.
These days are often very hard. Very tiring. And sometimes I wonder how I will do it again the next day. But after our bedtime routine of baths, stories, and plenty of cuddles, I take a seat. Take a breath. I remember the blessings. And I attempt to forget the struggles. I snuggle into my favorite chair with a blanket and think over the day. How did I do as a mother? Did I love well? Did I rest? Or was I distracted and missed a moment?
I won’t lie and say that every day I remember to slow down, but I am often reminded when a little unexpected gift comes by, there’s joy in the struggle. It won’t always be this way. One day, I will wake up feeling rested. I will wake with a spark in my step. And I hope on that day, that I can then become the one that delivers the unexpected gift.
I received the GORGEOUS chair in these pictures from World Market. They blessed me with an unexpected gift, and in return, I am writing this honest reflection about my daily call to slow down and enjoy my life’s little blessings. MANY thanks to World Market for their generosity.