Sometimes, you just need to talk to your sister.
Mine called me tonight about something insignificant and as our conversations many times do, we ended up in a therapy session of sorts- the younger one fixing the older one this time. (We take turns on most things and I’m glad tonight was my turn.)
Nothing paint peeling happened today. (Ok, minus the fact that it is 8:03 pm and I literally just sat down for the first significant time today. And other than the fact that my oldest got her finger slammed in a door. And my youngest hasn’t had a nap. And I had to buy groceries. At Walmart. And my daughter says her throat hurts.)
But it’s the end of a week. The end of a very busy, very taxing, very tiring week. There were so many good parts but it’s just that there were so many moving parts. I can’t figure out what exactly it is tonight that is making me feel like my emotions are sitting right under my chest bone or why my nose has the very faint feeling that it’s making snot for a good cry much like the Florida skies stack up rain for an afternoon downpour.
I am such a thankful woman. I really am. I have blessings stacked on top of blessings in my life in every nook and cranny. My cup runneth over. My life is overflowing. Gratitude is my closest friend.
I see it. I really do.
But even the most thankful of us need those moments where you stop and admit the words that our multitasking female prides want to squish. The words we have the hardest time uttering because they are reminders that even we are human. The words that, having just got off the phone with my sister (a mom of three and the most human of us all), I was forced to admit as I told her I was so tired, I couldn’t wrap my head around writing my 6th blog in seven days. She reminded me that I am writing a book and homeschooling a child and raising two children and pastoring a church and working a new job. She also reminded me that being tired is fine. She told me to write this one from where I am because it’s where she is and it’s where you are as well. She told me to write and tell you about Saturday, when my daughter didn’t do something I had reminded her twice to do the day before and I cried in exhaustion as I was disciplining her because I felt so underappreciated in that moment of her preteen humanity. She told me to tell you where I am tonight because she said you’ll understand. I’m going to be real. And I’m going to be raw. I’ll go first. I’ll say it out loud for us all. And maybe, in your blurry eyed stupor, you’ll nod your head.
I’m tired. I’m overwhelmed. And I need this cup of coffee to be a looking glass into my heart.
I need you to nod your head with me when I say I’m not going to miss all of this. Let’s be real. I won’t miss sticky hardwood floors and I won’t miss temper fits. I won’t miss the bickering of my children and I won’t miss the feeling that I’m either dropping or about to drop a ball. I won’t miss the gnawing thought that I am screwing this up. I won’t miss the fear I am missing something important or the guilt that tells me I should have sat and read a book with her instead of taking that nap. I won’t miss feeling that I reacted too quickly or raised my voice too loudly or misjudged a behavior and hurt his heart. I still don’t miss colic or all night feedings or the crying they do before they can tell you their ear hurts, so I can confidently say I won’t miss the teenage mood swings or the eye rolling or the spontaneous combustion that comes out of a strong willed four year old. I won’t miss repeating myself over and over or the cold air that hits me in a peaceful shower when my kids pull back the curtain for me to referee a fight or pronounce a word on a worksheet. I won’t miss the days when I feel like I did nothing but fail them, fight with them, put them off, and let them down. I won’t miss feeling like I spend 70% of my time at home doing things that don’t matter in an hour- like Windexing the front door or reorganizing the Rubbermaid cabinet yet again. I won’t miss the exhaustion that seeps into my bones while raising children- the kind of tired that isn’t physical or emotional or mental or spiritual, but a sweet and salty and sour blend of them all.
After I finished that last sentence, life happened. My daughter came in to show me a new way she’s decided to write her name. My husband came home from a meeting and noticed our three year old was asleep on the couch, unbathed and still in his clothes. I took our son to potty before I put him in the bed and then laid on the floor beside him. He smiled at me and reached out gently and took my hand as he drifted back into his blissful sleep. Both of my children’s hands were pivotal tonight in bringing me back around to what I know the most.
I won’t miss the cold air interruptions to my shower, but I’ll miss my freshly bathed toddler
I won’t miss my kids acting like the other one was placed here to be a device of torture toward them every day, but I will miss seeing them laugh until they snort on the couch watching some stupid cartoon I can’t stand.
I won’t miss the stickiness of the floors or the crumbs on the couch that make me want to peel my skin off when I sit on them, but I will miss the “This is the best food I’ve ever had, Mom” comments I get every single meal.
I won’t miss the drama or the temper or the repeating myself over and over day after day, but I will miss the noises from their bedrooms when they’re having a dance party or making a fort or jumping on the bed.
I won’t miss being interrupted every single time I blog or read a magazine or pee, but I will miss being needed to kiss boo-boos and zip jackets and open juice boxes and chips.
Oh my gosh, y’all. We can’t have one without the other. We can’t have the good without the bad. And in fact, the parts we hate make the parts we love so much richer.
They reminded me in five minutes what the last six days have erased from my thoughts.
MY face is the one they look for in a crowd of ten thousand.
MY hand is the one they reach out to hold when sleep is sweetly approaching or when they’re afraid or uncertain.
MY eyes are the ones they want to see their new handwriting and their jumps off the highest stair of the step ladder.
MY ears are the ears they summon for a hundred times a day to hear their grievances, newly written love songs, botched up knock-knock jokes, and bottomless basket of questions.
MY heart is their home.
These two little lives that constantly push me to the edge of myself and all my sanity are the same two lives that make me feel more cherished and wanted than I ever knew I could feel.
This is the mystery of motherhood.
I am tired tonight.
There are parts of this that are just “grit your teeth and get past this.” Sometimes, those parts seem to last for years.There are entire chapters of raising kids that just flat out suck. And I mean more than having to load your groceries into the trunk in the rain with both kids while one has pooped all over his clothes and your back gets wet changing him in the back seat sucks. There are parts of this road that leave you feeling stepped on, ganged up on, ran over, overworked, underappreciated, and completely forgotten.
But mixed in are the moments that count. The moments we live for. The moments we signed up for. You’ll know them because they are the ones that make you feel alive and thankful and humbled and valued and more loved than you’ve ever felt.
And for every thing we won’t miss once they’re gone, there are a hundred holes they’ll leave behind that make our hearts ache with a love that defies human language.
I see you, tired momma.
I am you.
We will miss these days. Just not today. Not yet.
And that’s ok.