“Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle.”
― Fred Rogers
― Fred Rogers
They told me it would get easier.
When Walter was first born, and I had to begin learning how to live with two little ones, they said it would get better. The days would calm down a little. I would find a routine and settle into this new life.
It hasn't happened.
Yes, some days are good- the kind of days I imagined. The kind when Millie looks at us and says, "You're my best friend. You're my beauty!" and Sky and I giggle to ourselves later and repeat it to each other. The kind when Walter smiles and laughs those beautiful baby belly laughs all day long. But most days lately are the ones that challenge me. The kind when I keep looking at the clock and hoping it's almost bedtime. The kind when we're always late to church. The kind when I'd be tempted to hit a fast forward button if there was one.
It's difficult to write about. Because being a mom is what they told me it would be: so amazing, more life changing than anything, awe-inspiring and full of happy tears and sweet moments. And yet there are seasons- some lasting a few minutes in the day, and some lasting weeks or months, or maybe even years- that are just hard. They take everything in us, more strength, patience, and perseverance than we ever knew we possessed. Parenthood is about growing, but no one told me that I would have to do as much growing, or more, than they will. For every play time of drinking water out of plastic cups and calling it tea, or every time loading buckets of sand onto a toy dump truck and spilling them onto dirty laps, there are plenty of the other moments. Down in the trenches moments. Times when he cries and can't be soothed. Times when she doesn't listen and I'm tired of repeating. Sleepless nights that roll into sleepless weeks and sleepless months, until I forget what sleeping two whole hours together even feels like anymore.
It's easy to be thankful for these two; I love them beyond all words. But no one likes losing sleep, and no one likes trying to reason with a toddler who doesn't prefer reason. I think it's okay that I don't adore those things in the moment. Because, in the moment, it's really hard. I'm trying to remember that they'll be precious days to me later, even if I can't see the forest for the trees just yet. Some things have to ripen before they're good.
Millie might understand this better than me. She begs for a bunch of bananas every time we're at the store. After we bring some home and they sit high on the counter, she asks me every day, "Is the green gone? Can I have one now, Mama?" They don't taste how they should until we wait. It's the wait that brings goodness.
Maybe it's like that. One day, when I watch my grand kids play, I will tell Millie and Walter about it. "I think you fussed that whole first year," I'll laugh to her. "And you," I'll say, looking at him, "I had such high hopes for you to sleep through the night, but the older you grew, the less you slept." They'll nod because they've been through it with their own babies. And I'll choke back the tears, because finally, those times will be so long ago that I would give anything in the world to get them back.