I was searching for a photo today on the photo saving site I use. I couldn’t remember the month or year for the photo so I was doing a quick scan through numerous folders in hopes of finding the one I needed. I didn’t. But mostly because I became side tracked by this one. I don’t know the exact date – it was in an un-labeled folder. I have quite a few of those from when my kids were small. Either I thought I’d always remember or I was too harried to enter a time stamp. My bets are on the second option.
I’m guessing it’s late 2006 or early 2007, based on the size and hair cut of each child. It had to be a cold time of year because, well, Houston. We don’t wear sweaters and fleece for very long. I can also guess by the flooring and counter tops. They weren’t redone yet. And looking back at all I’ve just typed I realize I am officially old. I never understood why my mom couldn’t just remember things but had to tell a whole story about the wind and the rain and the song on the radio just to remember a particular event. But I digress.
I can tell by my forced grin and the half-eaten s’more that I was a little bit frazzled. I spent a lot of time frazzled in those days. I think it’s how most moms feel when their kids are little. They are takers at that age. They take and take and take and you give and give and give. It’s what they need. Oh, they give love and snuggles and sleepy morning hugs and kisses and all of that is glorious. But they take every ounce of energy a mom has when they are small. They can’t even help it. It’s the nature of being 2 or 4 or 6. Your needs are high and your energy is high and your inquisitiveness is high which means your mom is low.
I dared not speak of the “low” in those days lest someone remind me that they had prayed for my little miracles to even exist. Charlie and I struggled for years with infertility suffering miscarriage after miscarriage. We lost five pregnancies in those days. They were trying times and I had an army of prayer warriors storming the gates of heaven demanding babies for me.
And then we had the girl. She was independent and high energy and rambunctious and bossy…Dear God, was she ever bossy. From day one. Fresh from the womb. She was bossy. It never occurred to us to try to prevent another pregnancy because it literally took a miracle to get her, that crazy, bossy little girl.
Shelby was nine months old when it happened. We were shocked and elated and confused. Another baby? So soon? Why? What? (Nervous giggle.)
I remember calling Chuck at work when I was very, very pregnant with Seth. Shelby was not quite a year and a half and had decided that napping wasn’t her jam. I sat at the top of our staircase and cried, telling him over the phone that I couldn’t do this. He was very sympathetic but spoke reality to me saying, “Yes. Yes, you can.”
They are eighteen months apart and so close in size that we frequently get asked if they are twins. And now she’s getting ready to go to middle school. And he’s in 3rd grade. And I’m still frazzled but in a much different way.
I don’t worry about potty training anymore. I was pretty sure it would never happen but it did – for both of them – in their own sweet time. I don’t worry about naps – at least not for them- anymore. They both learned to read and write and they know their colors and shapes and can count higher than me.
No, my worries look very different now than that night I sat on the kitchen rug and ate s’mores. (I really wish I could remember why we sat there.) Now I worry that they are being kind and pure and true. Now I worry that someone will break their hearts. Now I worry that they will practice appropriate amounts of self-control and have respect for others.
Worrying gets me no where though. Worrying gives me wrinkles. Worrying stresses me out and makes me cuckoo. So I keep turning all of this over to God. I pray for things like:
- Kindness (1 Thess. 5:15)
- Courage (Dt. 31:6)
- Justice (Ps.11:7)
- Mercy (Lk 6:36)
- Faithfulness (Prov. 3:3)
And I pray for more mommy moments like the one in this picture. Moments when they want to snuggle in with me – wherever we are – and love on each other. And s’mores.