Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Daily Tug-of-War: The Moments that Drive Us Nuts and the Love That Brings Us Back for More

I'm finding that having a toddler in the house has caused me to experience a lot of "those" kinds of moments. You know, those fishing-your-wallet-out-of-the-garbage, meltdown-in-the-store, diaper-change-turned-wrestling-match moments where you roll your eyes, look up toward the sky, and silently ask God to remind you what you were thinking the day you and your spouse looked at each other and said, "Hey, let's have children."

Now, as much as I am kidding when I say that, I'd still like to answer my own question. This is a story I call "The Same Thing Happens Every Day." Not that I experience this exact sequence of events every single day, but I definitely experience a daily tug-of-war between total aggravation and utter bliss in my role as a stay-at-home mom. It's a constant cycle that begins again every morning and looks something like this:

Reese and I sit down for breakfast. I hand her a bowl of oatmeal and a spoon and pour myself some cereal. She takes about 3 bites and then dumps the oatmeal onto the tray of her high chair where she proceeds to swirl it around, alternating the use of her spoon and her fingers. She manages to eat quite a bit of it, but not without purposely dropping a few globs onto the floor. I finish my cereal, grab a napkin, and begin wiping up the spilled oatmeal. Big mistake! She drops her sticky spoon on my head, leaving chunky tan highlights in my freshly washed hair. Cue the eye roll.

I finish cleaning up breakfast and then lean over the kitchen sink to rinse my hair. Reese tugs on my leg and says, "Up!" I stop what I'm doing, pick her up, and ask her what she wants. She doesn't say anything. She just wraps her arms around my neck and lays her head on my shoulder. I kiss her little head and suddenly I forget about the oatmeal.

I throw my sticky hair under a hat and we leave for the store. We're just a few aisles into our shopping trip when I remind Reese for the third time to please sit down in the shopping cart. She says no for the third time so I pick her up to carry her. In her whiniest voice, she yells, "Down!" She wiggles from my grasp and then runs in the opposite direction. I catch up to her and make her sit in the front of the cart. She starts crying, and I look over the list and wonder if we really need the rest of the stuff on it. Still crying, Reese grabs the list and throws it on the floor. Well, I guess that answers my question. Cue the eye roll.

When we get home, she's asleep in the back seat. I lift her out of the car seat and carry her inside. She is half-asleep and her body is limp in my arms. We sit in the recliner and I rock her back and forth, remembering how I rocked her as a newborn and at 4 months and 6 months and 9 months and all the time in between. I think about what a blessing she is to me, and I forget about the grocery store incident.

When she wakes up from her nap, I'm not quite done with dinner, so she plays with her toys while I cook. Although I try to peek in on her every couple minutes, she somehow still manages to remove all of the clothes from the bottom two drawers of her dresser. I eventually discover the mess and as I put the clothes away, she starts emptying a box of kleenex. So I pick up the kleenex and as I throw it in garbage, I look in the can and see my car keys sitting in a glob of ketchup. Cue the eye roll. 

Just as I finish making dinner, I turn around and she's standing there holding up her Chicken Dance skirt (yes, it is a skirt that plays "The Chicken Dance"). I help her into it and press the button. She laughs and laughs as we twirl around the living room holding hands. I'm reminded how lucky I am to be home during the day to share these moments with her. Suddenly, I forget about the clothes on the floor... and the shredded box of kleenex... and the keys in the garbage.

At the end of the day, she picks out a book and Matt and I take turns reading to her. Then we both give her a kiss and a hug and tell her how wonderful she is and how much we love her. I take her in her room and lay her in bed. I say her prayers and she folds her tiny hands and says, "Amen." Then she brings her little finger to her lips and says, "Shhh." I whisper back, "Shhh. There's a baby sleeping in here" and slowly back out of the room. And suddenly, I've forgotten about everything else in the world except for how much I love that kid.

And there it is. That's why we do what we do. Because for each and every moment of extreme aggravation, there is an equal and opposite moment of unrelenting love - a love so strong that just the thought of its intensity can bring you to tears. It's that love that has the mysterious ability to erase every frustrating incident, every difficult sacrifice, every painful contraction. It's that love that carries you through the exhaustion and the changes and the challenges. And it's that love that makes you and your spouse look at each other one day and say, "Hey, let's have more children."

1 comment:

  1. does that mean you are planning baby #2? :-) i love all your posts lisa.

    -kristen (debellis)