Yesterday, my oldest child turned 4 years old. Each time I hit another yearly marker in the life of my children, I end up reflecting on their journey so far. Reliving the memories like a vivid dream. Full of ups and downs. Sparked with color and noise. A mixture of joy and sadness, all at the same time. Sometimes the memories are bigger events, while many are also the smaller moments. The ones that seem insignificant from afar, but touch your heart in an unimaginable way.
I look back and can remember the day I anxiously awaited to see those two parallel lines. The second was faint, but it was there. The smallest spark of hope to the future we so looked forward to. I remember all that followed in the months while we prepared to meet our angel. I remember the last doctor appointment where we had no progression in our delivery process. So at 39weeks 1day, we made the decision to induce. Waiting any longer to see that precious child did not seem like something we could possibly do. I remember that long afternoon and night spent in the hospital. The pain and fear I had, the worry when I still wasn’t progressing and surgery now became an expected route. I remember praying that all would go well, that we be able to avoid surgery if possible, but above all for our baby boy to arrive smoothly and safely.
And he did.
The night we came home was scary for me. Here I was, a hormonal new mom with a child who refused to eat for over 8 hours and cried unceasingly. To the point I sat and cried. I thought if this is how it’s going to be, I don’t know that I can do this. I immediately doubted whether I was capable of being a good mother. How could I do this if I couldn’t event get him to stop crying?!
No one can prepare you for being a parent. Anyone who says they can is full of poo! Being a parent is hard. It really, really is. There are so many things to learn, so many battles to face, so many ups with scattered bunches of downs. You feel responsible for all of the bad mistakes and deny praising yourself for all the great accomplishments. You stay worried for their well-being and spend many nights restless. You doubt your abilities to do things correctly. You focus on what will happen tomorrow, next week, next year, and forget to live in the present.
To live this beautiful life in all of its vivid color and hectic noise.
I’m guilty of this as well. This is a habit that I hope to work hard on breaking. To be grateful for the present and enjoy the life that surrounds me. To enjoy my family, my husband, my boys, our life, in the now. This crazy, chaotic life we live. To worry less about the fine details, to focus less on what others think, to control my inner freak-out session when plans are array and the house is a mess. To thrive in the happiness that my family had while creating that mess.
My children won’t remember whether the dishes were cleaned and put away, if the laundry was folded, or if there was a couple of Goldfish crackers left on the table. They’re going to remember the times we had a balloon dance party, cuddled on the couch to watch a movie, or made rainbow colored pancakes. The endless kisses, the big squeezes, and the love. The unmeasurable, relentless love.
Because although being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have, it is also the most amazingly beautiful journey you will ever take.
So each time we think we are doing it all wrong, or we spend too much time worrying about the mess, or planning the future, let’s stop. Look around. Is your life good? Is it filled with happiness, joy, laughter? Are your children smiling? Is your partner by your side?
If so, then all is well. That mess can stay there, the dishes can wait. That Tuesday night sing and dance party with your family cannot. Because before you know it, those little babies are walking, talking, learning, growing, preparing for T-Ball and getting excited about starting school. They are only little once.
I can only hope that the memories I have stay as vividly etched in my mind in 50 years as they are now. And I hope, at that time, I have many more hecticly amazing moments to reminisce on as well.