Every Sunday without fail, before we leave Church, somebody comes up to us and says something along the lines of "Oh I had so much fun watching your kids in church today. I miss those days so much. Enjoy every single minute." And Paul and I thank them politely, and think "REALLY?"
Not "really" as in we're curious, but "really" as in no way, we don't believe you for a second, and if you had so much fun watching us, didn't you notice we would have welcomed more hands to help us catch falling sippy cups and snotty noses and poopy diapers and spilled cheerios and rolling pacifiers and sprinting three-year old's? REALLY?
Every single minute of every single day I love being a mom. Every single minute of every single day I am blown away that I am living my dream...a great marriage, a husband who loves me and honors me, 4 beautiful healthy kids, a lovely home in a fabulous neighborhood, staying home with my kids and doing what I'm made to do in the mix of it all, and a God who loves me and saved me. It's amazing. Every minute of every day I love my kids more than life itself.
But I don't love every single minute.
Nope. Some minutes I just want to bang my head against a wall until that minute is over. And then sometimes I want to bang my head against the wall the next minute too.
My three-year old son has been successfully pee potty trained for a month now and loves his Thomas the Train underwear. But he REFUSES to poop in the toilet and prefers daily to poop in his Thomas underwear and I CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE. And when we sit in the bathroom together waiting for him to poop and he is screaming that he can't and I am trying every calming technique I can think of but the poop still never comes out... I don't love those minutes. Nope. And I love it even less when his little one-year-old brother gets curious about all the drama in the bathroom and comes crawling in, looking to swallow every barrette that his sisters left on the bathroom floor or unroll the entire roll of toilet paper. I don't love those minutes either. It takes every fiber of my being not to scream.
Or like 4:15pm today. When we were at the park getting fresh air. And the three-year old boy, who COULD NOT POOP before we left for the park five minutes earlier, poops in his pull-up (because he lost his Thomas underwear because Mommy couldn't handle washing anymore poop out of Thomas) right before my very eyes, while his baby brother is screaming in the swing because, as we all know, he just wants to get down and crawl in the wood chips so he can eat them, and the five-year-old girl falls in the GRASS and somehow (in the GRASS) manages to get quite a good scrape on her knee and is bleeding (a little) and screaming (a lot. a lot. a lot). SIMULTANEOUSLY, I kid you not. I did not love that minute either. Or the many minutes to follow. And neither would have you.
And then we get home from the park, and the poopy three year old has to go to his room and spend an hour in his poopy pull-up so that maybe tomorrow he won't think that's such a good idea anymore.
(I know. You think we are cruel. You wash poop out of Thomas underwear for a month and you might do the same thing.)
And simultaneously as he is crying in his room, the one year old is crying at my feet while i make (absolutely delicious) chicken fettuccini. He is crying due to hunger, but I am making him wait because we are transitioning him to table food rather than spoon-fed baby food (at the recommendation of our pediatrician and Grandma). So he waits. And screams. Then finally has amazing delicious cut-up fettuccini alfredo in front of him, and he screams. And screams. And acts like his high chair is a straight jacket that he must escape. And his siblings are asking how many more bites the must eat before getting something edible, like a brownie. Ummm, no. This is fabulous and better than any italian restaurant in town. EAT IT. Meanwhile my sweet hubby eats a huge portion and agrees with me that it's the best fettuccini I've ever made, despite the groans of our children and the wailing of our baby.
And then the hungry baby who refuses to eat screams all through washing dishes until finally his bedtime bottle is in his mouth (And...he's getting cut off that too this weekend. It's going to be a great weekend here.)
And then, he snuggles close. And he is content. And all of my desire to bang my head against the wall is totally gone, and I really really really love that minute. And the many to follow. And those minutes are such a breathtaking glimpse of heaven that they make all the other minutes leading up to it totally worth it.
And God's grace pours over me and reminds me that it's okay. I don't have to love every minute. And I don't have to feel guilty for not loving every minute. But every single minute I am thankful and eternally grateful that I have a God who loves me through all my own tantrums and meltdowns and whining and complaining. And a God who loves me enough to die for me and save me. And a God who has considered me worthy to be the mom of four spectacular, amazing masterpieces that He designed in His image to do great things in this world. And that He has provided us a gorgeous home and Paul with a steady career that allows me to stay home. And I am so thankful that while I was mopping the kitchen floors this morning, knowing full well that milk was going to get spilled on them again within the hour, I got to eavesdrop as my little boy was watching RescueBots, and hear him sing along to the entire theme song with such gusto, having no clue that anyone was listening. But I was. Because I am so blessed to be with them nearly every single minute.
I don't have to love every single minute. But I love them every single minute. And I love my God who gave them to me every single minute.
And tonight as I was tucking them all in after an extremely rough evening, I sang one of my favorite lullabies individually to all four. It's an old Bible Camp campfire song that my kids just love...it's so beautiful and simple.
Oh Lord you're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
And when your eyes are on this child
your grace abounds to me
There is nothing in the whole world like holding a baby or tucking in a three, five, or seven-year-old (or someday soon a 17, 19, or 21-year-old for that matter), and praying that prayer for submission and praise... That when His eyes are on my child, which really is EVERY SINGLE MINUTE, His grace abounds to me. EVERY SINGLE MINUTE. And I love that.