January 15, 2010

For those with little ones...

(Earlier this week in our Reading Fort)

I ran across this timely reminder today. It's been a difficult couple of days. Asher has been feverish since Tuesday evening. Thursday we found out that he has bronchitis. Which has meant 60 hours of him wanting to be held and cuddled. And this entire time, of course, McKlayne will not be left out. Which has meant two kiddos constantly fighting over my lap. We've read just about every book we own. And watched more tv than I would normally allow in a month. Which has also meant that my house is much messier than I like.

Which, in turn, has meant, selfishly, rather than taking these two in entirely...rather than being thankful that I have two tots to cuddle and love constantly...I have been whining inside. Fretting about how long it is going to take to get the house back in order. Annoyed that I haven't gotten through the laundry that has been sitting in piles in my bathroom for three days. Feeling like a failure because we've eaten leftovers and breakfast for dinner the last two evenings because I haven't had a chance to think about a real meal. Irritated that I haven't gotten to work on any of the projects that I want to get done this week. Just plain weary and ungrateful.

Then the Lord gently reminded me what a gift I've been given-to turn my complaining into thanksgiving. I stumbled across this precious post on MckMama's blog. I am going to post it here, just in case one of you, who would have been too lazy to follow that link, will allow your perspective to be changed.

On somewhat of a sidenote, before we get to this precious post: I'm afraid that my generation does not seek the counsel of older* women enough. Us, silly, young, sometimes pity-party throwing Mommas (or maybe it's just me?) often think we have it all figured out...or foolishly ask other women our own age questions rather than women with real, life experience. So, older women, if there are any of you reading this, stay tuned because I have some questions for YOU at the end of this post.

From MckMama:

"How do you do it? How do you stay so calm with four young children?"

Part of it is just how God made me, I think. I am pretty calm with my children. And, honestly, often I stay calm even in the midst of chaos because, frankly, it's better than the alternative. A shrieking, freaking out mama is not going to make an already stressful situation any better. So, for the most part, I stay calm and try to be
in the moment with my children.

how do I do it?

There is one little bit of inspiration that literally descended upon me almost two years ago, while I was holding Nuggey in the bathroom, that has completely revolutionized my parenting. When I keep this truth in mind, I find it as easy as apple pie to stay calm in the midst of toddler chaos.

I remember that
I'm gonna miss this.

It was dark, during the end of bathtime, and Prince Charming was gone. I was doing dinner, baths and bedtime myself those days, as my husband worked late. It had been, undoubtedly, a long day with the kids. Big Mac was three, Nuggey was one and a half and Small Fry was a baby. It is as clear as day still, this memory.

I was sitting on the toilet, drying MckNugget off after his bath. Small Fry, unable to roll, was sprawled on the floor of the bathroom on some towels, wearing nothing but a diaper and a grimace. Big Mac was still in the tub. He was squawking to get out and Small Fry was bellyaching for attention. But I slowly wrapped Nuggey up in his towel, determined to stay calm, and cuddled him in terrycloth. I slowly rocked him back and forth in my arms and sang Rock-a-bye Baby to my second born.

As I wrapped up the song, I prepared to sit Nuggey up and attend to the chaos that was the other children. After all, there were baths to finish, teeth to brush, diapers to put on, jammies to find and beds to tuck children into. But as he sensed me about to right him, Nuggey tossed his wet head back in my arms and looked up at me. "Uh-

So I sang Rock-a-bye Baby one more time, but I told him it would be the last. Yet when I finished, he begged again for more.

I didn't want to do more. I didn't want to sing to him one more time. I was tired. Tired of children, tired of singing, tired of the day. I just wanted it to be over. But then suddenly, as if fairy dust was sprinkled from the heavens right onto my tired head, the entire reality of my future set in.

I'm gonna miss this.

I looked down at little Nuggey, his damp eyelashes long and dark batting at me, his tiny bottom cradled in my hand, his soft, chubby legs thrown over my arm, his body entirely dependent on mine as I held him in my lap, and I could see the future. Nuggey, a grown boy, sporting a football jersey and facial hair, walked out of the bathroom. It was going to happen, and soon. And while I knew there would be joys with that time in my life, when our young children are teenagers and beyond, it struck me like a ton of bricks.

When that time comes,
I'm gonna miss this.

When Nuggey comes home from college, barely speaks a word to me and hibernates in his bedroom all summer, I'm gonna miss this. As my mind fast forwarded to the future, I knew that at that moment, I would give anything for 20 year old Nuggey to be a toddler again, just for one more hour, so I could rock him and sing while I stroked his wet head.

And here, years earlier, I was being given my wish. I
was able to rock Nuggey, a nearly helpless babe in arms, one more time.

Given a new perspective from which to see, I sang Rock-a-bye Baby as many times as Nuggey would let me that night. Eventually Small Fry found her hands and started admiring them, and Big Mac grabbed a new tub toy. And I relished that time with my son in my arms, knowing that soon enough he would be all grown, and my arms would ache to hold him like a baby again.

I'm gonna miss this.

My mind cannot help but wander to those parents who have lost children. What on earth would they not give to hold their children again, even for a moment. I bet they would not complain about having to sing Rock-a-bye Baby one more time. Rather, they would probably give their right arm to sing it ten million times until their voice was hoarse and their eyelids closed in slumber.

And women with empty wombs who long and pray and ache for children? What honor am I doing them if I take for granted the fact that I
have children, young children who are begging me to cuddle them, sing to them. I will love those women who long for a baby by loving my babies and not taking them for granted.

So, I determined right there and then in the bathroom to try to be ever thankful for the moments I do have with my children. I will not wish away their young years, always hoping to get more laundry done or other children dried off. I will relish each kiss, hug and song. I will leave their childhood behind with no regrets, no "I love you" unsaid, no cheek unkissed, no request to "Cuddle wif' me!" turned down. Even as the macaroni flies and the Sharpie stains my table, even when there are midnight wailers and globs of Desitin under my fingernails, I know...

...I know I'm gonna miss this.

*When I say older, I mean anyone just a little further along than me...maybe without only toddlers...whether you have at least one school-aged child or are an empty-nester...here's what I want to know:

-What have you learned, since having children, that you wished you would have known before having children?
-What would you have done differently, in regards to parenting, knowing what you know now?
-If you could do it all over again, would you limit the tv or video games or even ban them completely?
-What were some of your favorite memories spent with your children? What special activities did you enjoy together?

Please feel free to answer just one or all of these questions...or even share something that you wished you would have known when you were my age (25 for two more weeks, thank you very much) that would be beneficial for a 20 somethings gal to know.


Brock & Megs Birkenfeld said...

First of all, I love that you read MckMama'a blog. Erin Mosier and I have always talked about walking into a room and asking everyone who reads her blog to raise their hand... just to see!

Anyways, when I read this on her blog the other night it brought tears to my eyes. I feel so foolish for throwing my pity parties and not realizing what a gift I've been given. Especially with all of this stuff going on in Haiti and how the Haitian mothers are longing to be able to love and care for their children. MckMama's post mixed with Haiti have just put a lot of things in perspective for me.

Thanks for posting this!

The Mosiers said...

I read this post this week as well and it really brought things into perspective for me as well. Our little one has been sick this week too and lots of things have been pushed aside. So instead of stressing about a clean house, I'm going to enjoy cuddling with my baby for a little while longer.

Thanks again for the reminder! I want to hear the answers from wiser women as well!!

Kirby said...

Yes, Meg, I love her! And, yes, thoughts of the detestation to Haiti and all those parents and children longing to be connected to their family was running through my mind, too! I started to write about that but felt like I could probably go on forever with all of those thoughts! It's always eye opening to be reminded to get our eyes off of ourself...and back on Jesus and others.

Mom, Joyce, Aunt Rachel, Marylou...I am ready for your thoughts!

Rachel said...

What a great perspective. Thank you for sharing that post--it brought tears to my eyes. (I guess I live under a rock and have never heard of that blog.) It's been a rough morning here and I needed that.

Ryan and Cate Shipley said...

Thank you, thank you, for your timely post. The last 2 days have been the kind where only one of the 23 things on my to do list gets done...not because my boy is sick or anything...just because he wants to be with me, in my arms whatever I am doing. Even as I type that.... that he just wants to be in my arms....it makes so sad that I quickly get exasperated with this. What a precious gift motherhood is from our kind and gracious Father.
I will indeed miss this.....

Jennifer :) said...

Good post--I hope I remember this! :) Love the new layout--you are gorgeous and your whole family is beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Kirby - OK I wrote something before and I wrote so much it wouldn't allow me anymore...HA!! Here's my advice in a short snipit...stay home, don't be crazy over a clean house...straightened is good enough. (I have a schedule that I put together for me that is about 15-30 minute snippets everyday) I clean the house throughout the week and by the end of the month the entire house has been done from baseboards to ceiling fans to windows to changing filters. I am not a TV fan and would get rid of them all if I could...the computer is my obsession.

Matt going to high school was a life changing/thinking process for me. I couldn't believe that it had happened so fast. When you are in the middle of it you think it is excruciatingly long and will never pass, but when you look in the rear view mirror it seems like yesterday....I was thinking of that today and at the wedding where Boone said something to Charlie about you and both of you were like NOOOOO WAAAAY!! That seems like yesterday.

Last night we had Corey's high school orientation and I am trying to fight it, but I can't. In 4 years he will be gone too. There is joy in children growing up but remember to treasure the time you have now because they will be changing tomorrow and decide not to snuggle or not to talk to you...take every advantage you can now.

OH and when they become teenagers...drive around in the car with them. They just open up when you are in the car and tell you things you want to hear and others you wish they didn't, but it's all good.

Love you girls!!!


the arledge family said...

Thanks for making me cry, Kirby! :) I needed that reminder today.

Aldape family said...

First off, I love the new blog it is beautiful and, I loved running into you at the mall the other day!...Thank you for this post. What a great reminder of the blessing that motherhood should be. Though I do not consider myself "older" and wiser, i am 26 with one toddler, I have a little bit of insight to give!......I have experienced first hand what it feels like to have to go back to work with a 8 week old infant...it was the hardest thing that I have even done! Even though we were blessed with the worlds best at home child-care person!....it was still hard when my heart longed to be home!....As of now I am only working 2 days a week, instead of 5 and this has been a huge blessing. I am learning that this stay at home mom stuff is hard work! But it is so rewarding to know that it was my child that wore me out that day, and not my job. My family is no longer getting my "leftovers!" I say all of this to emphasize....if you get to stay home with your kids consider what the alternative would be. And to those of you who have to work, sometimes God has called us to that for a season of our lives. It was hard for me to realize that. But it was a huge blessing in the long run for me to work and put my husband through school and us come out with hardly and student loans!

Aunt Rachel said...

First let me say, I so agree with MckMama, there are sooo many things I miss!!! Even now when my kids have clothes all over there room i have to remind my self one day i will have a clean house but it will also be quiet and empty:( There were times when mine were toddlers that i would hurry them, walk faster, hurry and get dressed, hurry and eat, that is something i would change. who cares if you aren't out the door at the planned time, 5 or 10 mins isn't worth hurrying them. Some of my favorite times are when we played outside, taking nature walks around the neighborhood, them helping me garden. Also tucking them in at night, reading stories, saying prayers, talking about the day, and then tucking the sheets in around them so tight they laughed but loved it!! I could go on but my eyes are filled with tears as I remember all the happy, simple things. What it boils down to is time....just spending time with them is what they love most. So the house isn't clean, laundry not done, not to worry it will be there tomorrow because no one is going to do it for you!!! LOL Just ENJOY those beautiful gifts from God!! XOXO

Angela said...

Great post! I have felt a little like ya this week too! I have been sick, my hubs sick and then Ava got sick for the first time. Not to mention I had 3 shifts at work this week! I was beat and my patience was not where it should have been. How could my precious daughter be getting under my skin? The same daughter I think God for giving to me(with my difficult pregnancy and all!) I had to stop as hard as it was for me to praise him for this time!

Thanks, it is nice to know we all have mommy moments! Have a great weekend!

Tell Charlie Barley Hi for me! ;-)

The Currie Family said...


I too often 'hurry' through life and need to slow down. It really does go by too fast.

It is reassuring to hear from the wiser moms to not worry so much about cleaning and to just spend time with my kids! I already do that (who needs a clean house?), but sometimes feel guilty about what a wreck my house is!

Grace Family said...

GREAT post! Now I'm gonna have to check out this lady's blog and see what other words of wisdom she may have! :-)

You're a great mom! Weeks when they are sick are very tough, but next week when Asher is better and running off to play independently in his room, you will want this week filled with hugs and snuggles back!

To Avery, I don't believe your house is a wreck... just "lived in" and isn't that what all of us need to admit. I had a friend call the other day to stop in with no notice (like, minutes really) and when she entered I said "excuse the mess, i didn't have time to clean up" and she went on and on about how happy she was to see that we both had "lived in" houses. seriously, what do we do to each others' expectations by making things spotless for our friends? anyway, that's off on a tangent, but i thank you for posting this!