My Dearest Littles,
Today, I savored. I woke up irritable. . .from being tired, from being overwhelmed with too much to do around the house. . .who really knows the whole reason, but it wasn’t pleasant. Too many questions being thrown at me immediately. I sent you three into the living room to work on finishing your summer reading program while I made scrambled eggs. We sat down and ate them together. And I savored. The silly Jubilee giggles. The sweet Melody smiles. The loud Romeo proclamations. Savored.
After breakfast, we all cleaned up a little, then I settled in to get some online chores done. It took me over an hour to get my order placed on the nutrition/vitamin website. . .because bath-time fighting, tween chatting, Romeo falling. . .I finally chuckled to myself about how such a thing could take a whole hour. Then I put my arm around Romeo sitting next to me while I finished my order. . .slower with only one hand, but I savored.
Melody, sweet girl that you are, put lunch together for all 3 of you so that I could finish what I was doing. After lunch, you brought Romeo up to me and told him it was time to go night-night for nap. He did not care for that suggestion.
Romeo, as I carried you upstairs to your room kicking, screeching and protesting loudly, I took a deep breath. I changed your diaper and named your feelings for you. You were angry that playtime was over, sad that you had to be in your room while your sisters were still playing. I put you in bed and you became even more distraught, pointing and telling in unintelligible toddler-speak about things you did not like that I could not decipher. I finally closed your door with the two of us inside your room, put you down in an attempt to let you show me what was wrong. I sat down in the rocker. You came and crawled up into my lap, laid your head on my shoulder and stopped screeching. As we rocked and I felt your tense little body begin to relax, I stroked your sweet, still-baby blonde hair. I traced your darling little ears that are so much like mine. Kissed your little-but-broad shoulders that are shaped so much like Daddy’s. I caressed still-dimpled elbows and still-chubby cheeks. I patted much-too-long legs and already muscular back. I cried a little because you are such a man-child. . .and likely my last sweet growing-too-fast youngest child. I smiled a little because you still melt into me when I sigh deep, and you still feel safer in my arms than you do anywhere else. And I savored. I soaked in every little detail of the 15 minutes where I rocked you to sleep for nap. . something I never really do. . .because it was there, like a special gift just for me. That moment of happysad motherhood where every little thing is almost perfect for just a few moments before the next mini-crisis pops up.
Melody, you had tried to side hug me several times during the day. When I was busy and just quickly squeezed you back and let go. And you did it again when I was trying to get ready to leave for our evening outing. And I decided not to let go so easily. So I turned and faced you, pulled you completely into my arms and kissed the top of your head. And realized that before too much longer, the top of your head will not be right under my chin and that will be impossible (when did you grow so tall?!). And I savored. The way you still fit just right in my arms. The way you wrapped your arms around me and squeezed. The way I still recognize the smell of your head as my sweet baby girl’s scent. And I pulled your face nose to nose with mine and looked into your eyes a minute before I let you go. And I savored how beautiful you are, and what a lovely young lady you are growing up to be.
Jubilee, we went to see some friends in a musical show and I had to pay for your ticket because you wanted your own seat. And you sat in it for the first half. At the second half, you insisted that you needed me. You HAD to sit on my lap for the second half. And I was not happy because it was cramped, and I was enjoying my own space. And then again, I made the choice to savor. And so I pulled your little body close to mine as you sat on my lap. I squeezed you a few times and felt the mixture of gymnastics/dance/play muscles and the little layer of squishy baby fat still lingering just under your skin. You turned to give me a kiss with your Sweet-tart sticky face. I played with your soft blonde hair and just held you close while we watched the show together. And instead of focusing on my sleeping legs or the tight space we were stuck in, I savored. I just drank in how little you are. And how much I love that you still need me. I relaxed into the moment and the moment changed from annoying to blissful in an instant.
What I love about this, dear ones, is that I am growing up as you three do. The little girl inside of me is learning that she is safe with the grown-up I’m becoming. And on days like today, when the temptation is to focus on the lists and the busy and the tantrums and the tight spaces, I have a choice. I can choose to be irritable and just get through it. Or I can choose to stop, take a deep breath, and find the beauty in the imperfection.
In therapy this week, I had the rather startling realization that I will never attain perfection in this life. It sounds obvious. And I knew it in my head. But my heart still yearns for the perfect. The perfectly clean house. The perfect state of joy and happiness where pain is distant and uncommon. Where my body is lithe and slim and my face is effortlessly beautiful and my hair. . .well, you get the picture. Unattainable. And faced with this realization, I have decided on a very important resolution. I will seek out the joy and the beauty in imperfection. With a mind like mine, it takes a decision and very conscious effort to do that. But I don’t want to miss out on the everyday joys and victories because I’m holding out for something perfect that will never come. And so I start here, with you three. The three little imperfect people who take up the majority of my time right now. I can’t promise to savor every moment, but I do promise to try. To try and remember to stop when I feel the anxiety rising and check in with my little girl insides. To understand what perfection I am seeking and make a conscious choice to let it go. And beyond that, to choose in that moment to find the joy and the beauty in the now. Because we’re worth it, this little family of ours. And I predict more savoring in the future. Not because of the fear that it’s all flying by too fast, though it is. Not because it is a strategy to quell anxiety, though it can be. But because God has promised that we will see His goodness in the land of the living. And because finding joy and beauty in the midst of pain and imperfection is a skill I want to launch you three into life with at your core. And celebrating the small victories is a part of that. And today, I savored.