T E N.
This Boy.... my surprise child, undoes me. Unravels me in ways both good and not so much so. Daily he challenges me and daily I grow because of being his mama. And so whether the undoing, unraveling and challenging is good or not so, by the end of the day it's irrelevant because I quite simply grew.... grew stronger, softer, more prone to ponder and wonder, grew my love, grew my narrow view, and gulp, grew my patience and my grace just a wee bit more.
This is all good, really.
This is his one-oh birthday morning.... him tackling me with his big hugs. The camera was nearby and my Lu grabbed it.
I'm so glad she did.
I don't want to forget that right now I'm still bigger than this Boy, even if his strength grows daily and topples me.
He still hugs me unabashedly.
And I hold him tightly.
This is good stuff right here.
He has yet to carry that distinctive, stinky boy smell about him.... he still smells sweet and when I shut my eyes real tight, hold him close and sniff his neck, I still smell that fresh, newborn smell. And if I squeeze my eyes that much tighter- I'm transported back to when he fit into my arms and I'd hold him oh so close and snuffle that sweet little neck while I rocked this sweet baby of mine.
My youngest has now entered the double digits. There is no going back to the singles. There is no stopping his growth and I'm here hoping there is no stopping mine either.
As he grows, I so want to be right there growing too- as a mama, as a wife, as a friend, teacher, sister, daughter, Christ-follower.
I don't want to wish away these moments that grow and stretch me-- even if it hurts to do so. I want to experience it all and be the better for it.
Is that crazy talk?
This job of motherhood is changing and growing up too. They don't have the all-out, every moment need of me as they did as newborns and toddlers. There is really no more kissing of owies as these tough kids put their chins up, dust themselves off and keep going forward. I don't have to cut their food up into bite size chunks, change their bedding during the night or wash crayon off my walls any longer. The sippy cups and miniature silverware are no longer so prolific they about tumble out of my cupboards.... only a few pieces remain for my nieces and nephews.... me holding pieces of nostalgia of my children's smallish ways.... pieces that are still useful but no longer necessary for daily living here.
There are no more diapers, bibs or itty bitty socks. No tiny hair bands & bows, board books or teething rings.
|Fourteen, taller than me and still growing|
There still is.... the rituals of tucking in at night, even if these rituals look a bit different they are still there and they are still necessary to the closing out of the day. The saying of prayers together-- they're deeper prayers now, filled with more meaning, more growth, grit and reality. There is still the need for a mama hug and that special kiss- first the forehead then the nuzzling of the noses. Yes, that is still necessary here. There is still the desire and appreciation of a story read aloud and the need for mama's touch and care when feeling under the weather.
There is the new. They might not need me the way they use to yet they still need me. When new mamas ask me if it gets any easier as they grow my reply is this "Not really. It just gets different." Truly, I appreciate that they sleep through the night now, but I find myself still waking at dark:thirty at times because of them.... find myself on my knees on their floors in the darkest parts of the night praying out prayers for them with more fervency than I prayed for them to finally sleep through the night or to finally be potty trained for reals. As they grow, so do my prayers.
My girls now need a mama that can talk real about growing in Christ, about crushes and bruised hearts, egos, girl friendships and what true beauty is. They need a mama who teaches them how to wear make-up but more importantly how to go out and about without it and still be beautiful. They need a mama who understands when their emotions get the better of them and they can't understand why they just want to cry. A mama who extends grace- lets them sleep in or go off to the quiet for their own time-out from family togetherness. Or who just holds them close and lets them ugly cry all over her favorite cardigan.
My Boy.... he needs a mama who lets him be wild and climb high yet is equipped with a few band-aids and a real pep talk. He needs me to be close by for reassurance yet a bit off to the side so he can work it out on his own. He needs a mama who laughs at his corny made-up jokes yet can still give him the stink eye that stops him in his tracks as he rounds a corner pell-mell at church when he knows better. He needs a mama who sees his value and asks him to fix that loose screw with his very own screwdriver (even when she is quite capable of doing it herself). He needs a mama who gives him opportunities that build him up while still holding a little pillow to cushion his falls. He doesn't necessarily need a screaming on the sidelines encourager as much as he needs the mama who catches his eye, gives him a wink and thumbs up in the quiet aside. He needs a mama who's not afraid of a few kitchen experiments and who makes him clean up his own messes yet, is quite aware of when he needs a bit of mama's elbow grease to help get the job done.
These kiddos of mine- They need a mama to stay out of their petty squabbles yet be nearby for immediate intervention should things get too heated. They need a mama who teaches them the value of sibling relationships by modeling it right in front of them- complete with the ups and downs, misunderstandings, real forgiveness and laughter that rocks the rafters. They need a mama who every single day shows them with actions, words and deeds how much she loves and respects their daddy to the moon and back. They need to see our real romance lived out in the ordinary, every day and know that with God's help it is attainable for each of them as well. They need a mama who still shows wonder at what they can accomplish, applauds their triumphs and who gets real with them about their failures instead of sweeping them under the rug. They need a mama who is involved in their lives and yet has a life of her own.
They need a mama who is real. Real about her struggles, her failures, her pain.... real about her stretch for more of God, her desire to continually create a passion for Him daily. Real about her laughter and her tears. Real and willing to embrace a quirky sense of humor and about how she doesn't always toe the line. Real about what she's done right and what she hasn't. Real about her failures but always bigger than them and the better for them. Real about her curiosity, ready for real adventure but also a real need for quiet.
They need me.... the real me.