3-year-olds are hard. They are just plain hard. Add postpartum hormones and a new baby...Well that's just a disaster. And the truth is, things have been strained. There have been raised tempers, lost patience, yelling, time outs and the gamut. And many days, I'm left with the feeling of just being a huge failure as a mom.
But then, we were presented with this lovely day. We spent the morning with friends at the park (activities are paramount for survival). I committed to no TV during nap time, giving me time to regroup and rejuvenate. And the baby chose to sleep for a good long while after the 3-year-old woke.
And then, he told me he wanted to sit in my lap while we watched Octonauts. This is a scarcity lately, as it's hard to hold a toddler in your lap while rocking an infant. So, with the baby still peacefully sleeping, I sat him in my lap. And instead of "multitasking" on my phone like I normally would (because really, how many times does one REALLY need to watch an animal in scuba gear save sea creatures?), I put my phone away. I soaked in his sweetness. I wrapped my arms around his little body. I breathed in his scent. And even though he smelled slightly like a wet dog (as 3-year-olds often do), I still just basked in the moment.
And then he said, "I don't wanna ever go away." And I didn't want him to either. And we watched those scuba diving animals save sea creature after sea creature and soaked each other in, resetting our relationship and giving us a chance to start again.
Love and Grief
As a little girl I used to beg my mom for a big brother. She tried and tried to explain to me that she simply couldn't give birth to a brother who would be older than me. Of course, she was right. But, while my mom couldn't give me a big brother, God could. He brought a wonderful man into our lives, who brought with him not only a big brother, but a little brother, too.
My best friend is grieving a great loss in her life, right now, and her sweet little girl has lost her brother. As I grieve this loss with my dear friend, I can't help but also grieve the loss of my own brother. The big brother I wanted so badly, so many years ago.
As I was driving to the grocery store the other day, it really sunk in that my sweet little boy would never know his uncle. The little boy who loves every person in his family, will never know a member that was so important to us. Tears fell down my face as I pictured the way my big brother would love my son. He would pretend not to, pretend that it was no big deal, the way he used to pretend he didn't like my little fluff ball dog. But, in the same way that he would pick her up and stroke her fur when he thought no one was looking, I know he would open a little spot in his heart for my son and secretly watch him, and take joy in his funny, loving, red haired nephew.
My heart hurts when I think of the incredibly imperfect relationship I had with my big brother. The anger I had toward him and the ways I treated him. Surely, in his life, already full of pain, I added hurt and sadness. But, I remind myself that we grew older, and got along better. I reached out, in my own way, to show him that I cared. To show him that I was glad he was my big brother. I remember that he came to my college graduation (something incredibly uncomfortable for him to do) and he not only came to my wedding, but was in it (something I know he did only because he loved me, and not because he wanted to in any way).
When I think about love and grief, I remember how fleeting life is and how important it is to show love to others. It could be something as simple as letting them know you put leftovers in the fridge for them or sitting on the couch with them watching something you don't care about.
Love is a strange thing. It's not always simple. We don't always show it well. Sometimes we don't show it at all. But here we are, on this earth, commanded to love.
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35 (NLT)
Good Enough For Me
Do you ever just feel disgusted with your life? I mean, just totally disgusted? No matter how many wonderful blessings you have, somehow, you just sorta wanna vomit? I've been feeling that way lately. I'm not sure if it's because things are sort of uncertain (as in, I can't see the future and really really wish I could), if it's because I'm jealous of things going on in other people's lives, or if I'm just simply bored. It's probably a mix of them all. 2014 is here. Brandon's work is currently unsteady, lots of exciting things are happening to those around me, and I realized that in only 6 short months, I will be 30. Gross. And to top it off...I don't feel like I ever went through that point where I was totally cute and my life was totally fun. Here I am, pinching pennies, living in constant practicality, being a responsible adult, and still have acne. What's with that anyway?
The thing is...it's never gonna be enough. There will always be something shinier that I can't buy. There will always be clothes that could make me cuter. There will always be fun adventures that I simply can't go on. What it boils down to, or what is needs to boil down to, is that that's OK. Things don't have to be perfect. They just need to be good enough for me.
In her song, Tennessee, Mindy Smith says:
"Tennessee, you've been good to me
Yes, I've come to believe you're where I wanna be
You may not be what everybody needs
but Tennessee, you're good enough for me."
So here's the thing, Nicole's Life....you've been good to me and you're where I wanna be. You may not be what everybody needs, but you're good enough for me.
"Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--
my Savior and my God!" Psalm 42:5,6a NLT
A Mother's Lot
My Sweet Son,
I know that Papa will always spoil you better. Daddy will always be more fun. Nana will always feed you yummier foods. Weezy will always read the best. Grandpa has all the kitties, Papi has the big tractors, and Abuelita sings to you in words you've never heard.
I know that one day you will ask me not to hug you in front of your friends. I know that sometimes, you will ask me not to come to your games. And one day, you will likely utter the words, "My mom is so dumb".
But that's OK. Because I also know that when you are hurt, you ask for my kisses. When you are lonely, you ask me to pay attention to you. When you are tired, you ask me to snuggle. When you are sad, or wake up in the morning, or want food, or to be tickled, you ask for me. And while sometimes you might push me away, and refuse my kisses, I know that you love me. And more importantly, I know that you know that I love you.