Sunday, August 14, 2011

At Least I'm Well Paid

Lately it seems like Reese is getting more active by the day.  If I had a dollar for every time I said, "No No, that's icky" or "Can you show Mommy what you have in your mouth?" ... well, let's just say my annual IRA contribution would be taken care of. This kid is more curious than George and has eaten everything from mulch to Kleenex. She recently discovered the garbage and we've already fished out several toys, my sunglasses, and Matt's watch. Every time I hear a loud noise (or no noise at all) coming from the other room, I just roll my eyes and think, "What's she doing now?" In this stage there's never a dull moment whether she's destroying a whole load of folded laundry (that happened yesterday) or rubbing cottage cheese in her hair right before we head to church (that happened today) or throwing my cell phone in the toilet (that hasn't happened yet but I'll keep you posted). During the times when moments like that dominate my day, it's easy to forget why I signed up for this role.

Maybe that's because I didn't choose this for the spilled oatmeal, the crankiness, and the constant demands. I chose it for the way she turns to me in an unfamiliar situation, because she sees me as the source of her security and comfort. I chose it for the nights when I sneak into her room and watch her while she sleeps as I think about how I still can't explain the depths of my love for her. I chose it for days like today when I took her out of the bathtub and wrapped her precious little body in a big giant towel, and she reached her little hands up to my face, pulled me down close to her, and said "Mama." Those are the moments I live for. Those are the moments that melt all the frustration and recharge my battery for the next round of spills and splatters. As my mom used to say, "that's when I collect my paycheck."

I think every parent of a toddler (well, every honest parent anyway) will tell you that it's not always fun. It's tough to have your limits tested every day. It's aggravating to have to repeat yourself over and over and over. It's frustrating to clean up the same messes all the time. Nobody likes to do those things. We do it because it's what we have to do to collect our "paychecks." And if that's all I have to do to experience those smiling, laughing, hand-holding moments; if that's all it takes to be able to feel the kind of love second only to that of God; then it's worth every bit of work. Every time I wipe applesauce off the refrigerator or put all 40 tampons back in the box or wash lipstick off her hands, I just wait for the next "Mama" and then I remember that no matter how aggravating my job can be, at least I'm very well paid.

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