I remember being 19 so clearly. I was living on campus at LSU. I would go out to a bar with a huge group of friends, dance until my legs and feet were so sore I could hardly walk, and crawl into my bed in my apartment sometime between 2:00-3:00 in the morning. And after positively zero interruptions, I would wake up around noon, have lunch, watch a little tv, and maybe even go out again that night.
I would sleep until noon on a regular basis.
Sleep. Until. Noon.
What a season that was. So well rested and I didn’t even know it.
Now my day starts at 6:30 (on a late day) when I wake my five daughters up and rolls non stop until I finally sink into bed around 10:30 at night. Every moment of my day is scheduled, from pick ups to drop offs, nap times, who has what practice on which days, what-on-earth-am-I-making-for-dinner, and are all the various uniforms clean? I spend a few minutes in car line looking through Pinterest for easy crock pot dinner ideas, and as soon as we get home, it’s time to go again.
Snacks, homework, laundry, nurse the baby, read the toddler a book, check homework, dinner, dishes and go go go again. I spend my time rushing around, usually late, trying not fuss at the kids to stop fighting, and then of course feeling bad for fussing. And this is all on the days I’m not working one of my two twelves a week as a nurse. This season has me spent.
It wasn’t that long ago that the season in our house had nothing to do with softball or tumbling or band or school. Back when there were only two little girls in our house … just 17 months apart. And we were just beginning to navigate through parenthood. It was the season of the princess dress.
Every morning started at the crack of dawn, but still slow and sleepy. A 5:30 wake up call from our 3 and 2-year-old happened daily. And I would peel my eyes open, drag my bones to the kitchen, make breakfast for the tiny hungry people, put on cartoons, and try to sneak a few more minutes of sleep on the couch. Which, of course, always ended abruptly with someone jamming a finger in my eye.
Those days were filled with heavy plastic heels clinking around the house, and two little girls always princess dresses. Life was different. Still busy, still exhausting, just different. Baths and tea parties and messes. Fighting over toys, and fighting for attention. The stress was saturated with thoughts about motherhood, am I doing this right, is this normal? And oh no, she has a fever, or a rash, or a cough that we can’t seem to kick, all closely followed by “should I make her a doctor’s appointment?”
Each season is different, each season is difficult, and each season brings its own challenges and stress and new levels of exhaustion.
And yet at the same time in the midst of the crazy, there those moments where your heart just flutters and you know you are right where you need to be.
Moments when, even though its 10am and you are still in pajamas, your coffee is cold, your teeth haven’t been brushed, you find yourself absorbed into a precious little world. Your mind snaps a picture because this, this right here is what you dreamed of all along.
And who would have thought in your very own imperfect house with all of its mess and clutter, with your very own imperfect family, who some days truly drive you nuts, a beautiful magical moment would make every ounce of anxiety and stress and exhaustion worth it. Let those little heart fluttering seconds really sink in. Like when the baby stops eating just long enough to give you a big milk filled grin, or the two-year old seems to run out of gas and climbs into your lap and melts right into you, and you just melt right back.
One of my older sisters has five kids, and almost all of them are now grown adults. It seems like yesterday that I would go over to her house to hang out, and in the valley of two mountains of laundry, kids running all around, she would rest her hand on her pregnant belly, and somehow, she made that chaotic moment look glamorous. It wasn’t perfect, but something about it made me want that life too. Now when she sees me with my crew, she always tells me how she still can’t believe that part of her life is over. This season that I’m in now, where some days feel like years, and the whining and nagging never ends, well, it just flew on by for her. She’s never told me to enjoy every moment. But what she does say? It always gets me.
Smell their hair. Kiss those chunky cheeks. Really study their faces. Their eyes, their little lips, their chubby feet. Everything will change so fast. One day those rolls on their legs will be gone. They won’t look like babies anymore. And it will happen before you know it.
There will be times when the hits just keep coming, and money is tight (and for the love why does it seem like everything goes out when money is tight??), the kids won’t stop fighting, and the house is a mess, take a deep breath. Remember, it’s only a season, and the seasons always change. Have faith, things are going to get better. Heat up your coffee or chill your wine. Bed time will be here before you know it.