My son is currently 2 ½, and being a mom most days looks like cutting avocado, picking up little toy cars, and reading Peter Pan or The Pout Pout Fish over and over. We talk a lot about Neverland here for some reason. It’s a lot of poopy diapers, and crying fits, and me remembering how very blessed I am to wipe those tears.
I think I love motherhood so much because I’ve been dreaming about it since I was ten. I was single until I was 28, so there was a lot of time to dream. I met my husband Chris, and three months later, we got married. Then six months after that, I had my first positive pregnancy test. To think that my life went from “single with no options” to “married and pregnant” within nine months, it’s just crazy! The shock of it floored me. I just couldn’t believe my little dream was finally growing. Me. I get to be a mother! Holy moly, I was excited.
Like most overly zealous first time moms, I scoured the internet about pregnancy and infant life. I read books and made a birth plan. I became consumed with all things motherhood. I debated vaccines, organic baby food, breastfeeding, and crying it out. I researched things that had never even crossed my mind before. Why the need to have so many baby carriers? Why so many car seat designs? Everything required research and conversation. I was really glad I had nine months to figure out all this stuff. I went from mom novice to mom extraordinaire in less than a year.
It was the beginning of something magical. That little seed would grow into a teeny tiny human, and I get to name that human! I would get to tell that little human every day what a wonderful experience it is being his mom. Before long, that little human was born, and we named him William.
I remember the moment we walked into our home, the three of us. It was so quiet and so different, and he was so very tiny. I didn’t know whether to sit down or stand, whether to sleep or cook. Should I take a shower? Should we unpack? I had never had a baby in my home before. What do I do with it? Do I leave it alone and go do something else? At that point, my motherhood experience was a hospital room, and real life was very different. It was big with lots of options, and I was lost. I felt some strange sense of urgency and yet nothing to be urgent about. It was bewildering–the weight of motherhood and the pace at which it moved.
That’s the thing — it’s s l o w. Like snails crawling kind of slow. Sure, there’s hustle and bustle within the days, but at the end of the day, no matter what you filled the time with, your little human is only 24 hours older. His little body doesn’t even look different. Day upon day, hour upon hour, our motherhoods are crawling along.
I was not prepared for the rate at which things moved. Even within the crawling, some things zoomed too fast for me to catch. William looked like a newborn for about 3 seconds. He became a giant baby then a giant crawling baby then a giant toddler child. He’s 2 ½ and in 4T clothing. I call him my mammoth child.
I had to learn to pay attention in the stillness. To get off my phone and kiss those chubby cheeks. I thought it would be a hurried whirlwind of happenings and it was more like a timelapse of a rose opening. It happened so slowly that I got to see each petal open to the sunlight. I saw the fingers getting longer, the hair beginning to curl, the legs getting chubbier. It happened so slow that I got to see every stage of it, yet it was so gradual that I barely noticed. You can’t catch it when a kid grows.
I look at him now and say, “How did you get so big!? What happened?”
In the stillness that zooms, it’s important for us to love. As those petals open and those feet start walking, we have to remember that the little heart is learning what it means to be human, and there’s no one that gets to show them better than you. The one changing their diaper, and wiping their nose, brushing their hair, and taking their temperature. Love is in the small things, so try to catch it as it’s going by. Snap a picture. Frame the memory. This is kingdom work. This is heavenly work. Motherhood is the greatest treasure and the most challenging adventure.
The things we do. What we say. How we respond. These are the nuts and bolts that build their reality. These are the colors that paint their life. It’s crucial, that as mothers we learn what love looks like from the Maker of all things. Let His love rain over you. Learn to live in it, soak it up, so you can show it to your little people. When you mess up, remember that it’s only a drop in the bucket, it’s a very small moment in the slow and steady process of growing up. Give yourself grace, and then choose to kiss and hug. Let the mistakes lead to heartfelt apologies. Show them what it means to be sorry.
Mostly, I want you to know that motherhood is a glorious, long-lasting, creative process. Like a painter with a canvas or an author with a book, what we do shapes a person. We show them how to be. We see inside their hearts and encourage the parts that are weak. We learn the color of who they are and choose to let it shine. Our children are not our art. They are God’s art; we are just keepers. We do not create something from nothing, but we nurture the flower as it grows. We prune it, we water it, and one day, we will hand it back to the Father of all living things in a beautiful releasing into the world.
May the time you have with your little ones be filled with wonder and love. Each day is a marvelous opportunity to show them how to be human.
Featured Image by Mi Pham