“Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is His] reward.” (Psalms 127:3)
My favourite time of day is bed time. It is the time of day when all the mama’s in the world finally breathe. The day is done. The house is finally quiet. The day could have been good or bad but when bedtime comes, there isn’t a mama in the world that doesn’t share the same mindset. We survived another day. The chaos, noise, mess, and just total craziness is finished for another day. This is the time when some people clean their house, grab a glass of wine and a book, catch up on their television, or pass out in exhaustion. We all feel it though, the satisfaction in the day complete, another day gone by. The day that all the older moms tell us we will miss in twenty years and we laugh it off.
I just did my bedtime check. I tucked each one under the blankets, removed the toys from their bed and put them back, and it is here that I look at each one’s face, and I memorize it because it will never again look the way it does right now. Tomorrow they will be older. Tomorrow there will be new journeys, new learning curves, and new trials. Right now though, they are mine and I will cherish that.
As I covered my youngest with a blanket, I saw that he was curled up into the fetal position. I think of all the times he kicked inside my belly. The moments my hand caressed the top of my stomach and felt a foot, elbow or hand push out against it. His sweet precious heartbeat that was so strong and quick. Even in my belly he was agile. At 39 weeks, he flipped himself completely over and went from my baby perfectly waiting for his birth, to my baby who was suddenly breach and causing panic for both me and my doctor. I watched him do the same rollover in the jungle gym this evening. Flipping and spinning on the ropes. Tucked in his bed, sound asleep, mind at peace — he is my sweet boy.
As I went to my middle child’s bed, I noticed the half completed house he was building with his bristle blocks. I carefully put them back in the plastic bin, but as I did the noise startled him in his sleep and I watched his hand push up against the air, just like when he was my newborn baby. He has always been my light sleeper and when he was two weeks old, his body switched to nocturnal hours and suddenly I had a baby who wouldn’t sleep at night. It took us a week to perfect the swaddling technique that would settle him, and another three weeks to wean him off light and sound so he would sleep in the quiet darkness. Sometimes, I forget what it is like to watch a newborn baby startle. I want to just curl up around him and speak promises over him that I will never be able to keep about love not hurting, people always choosing to be kind, and that mama will never mess it up.
Pulling the blankets up above my oldest son’s shoulder, all I can do is stare at this boy who teaches me more then I ever get to teach him. He teaches me how to parent. He teaches me what love is. He is my little boy who laughs with his whole belly, tells stories that he thinks are real but I think he dreamed up, and loves to be around any child who will play tag with him. He is rough and tumble but his heart is pure. Today we got to play video games together, and I listened as he promised that if I would just let him be the helicopter guy then he wouldn’t lose it EVER! Seeing as his little man is killed at least 10 times in each world, this is a promise he cannot keep but how could I deny him that. After all, he is a HELICOPTER man! How much cooler does it get.
I will tell you they drive me crazy, and they do. I will tell you that at times, raising three boys under four is difficult, because it is. I will tell you that I think I might have to give them away, and if you offer to babysit be sure I will hold you to it. I won’t tell you how much I love them. I won’t tell you how much they make my day brighter. I won’t tell you how I really would like to keep them little but I also cannot wait to see them grow up. I am not the mushy mom. I am the ever efficient, house cleaning, food-prepping, love unseen mom… but they know. They know because with one look from my eyes to theirs as I loaded them in the car tonight, they replied, “I love you mom!”
I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It is hard but that’s what makes it worth it. Every morning I start my day with: Today is the day I am not going to yell, get frustrated or expect them to be big. By every afternoon I have failed. Someone has heard the ‘mama voice’, I have gritted my teeth and I have prayed that soon they will grow up but tomorrow I will start my day again with it because I know that it makes me a better mom. I know they deserve the better mom.
They are blessings beyond what I have ever dreamt they could be. They are worth more than anything this world could ever offer me. They have softened my heart, changed my world view, and taught me how to laugh without the fear that it was going to hurt. This world is hard, angry, and hurting but by staying home with them it means my world is soft, loving and happy.
Hug your kids tonight. Cuddle them and read that extra story. Be their mom, be the better mom, because that is the mom they deserve. You are not a great mom because you didn’t fail… you are a great mom because you chose to learn how to always do it better.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14