Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Good Day

Today was one of those days. The really good kind. The kind of day that leaves you happy, and full, and spent. Nothing spectacular happened. We just did life together, my family and I. But it was the good kind of life that makes you excited for tomorrow. So you can rise and get back to it once more. These are the days that I want to remember.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. Always. I have never wanted to be anything else. In high school and college I did flirt with the possibility of a few other career choices (teacher, social worker, therapist, photographer), but none of them ever stuck. They just weren't me. Because me?

I am meant to mother.

And it's funny, because when you mother, you really are so much more than that! You have most every career imaginable rolled into the most excellent of titles. Because I am a teacher, and a counselor, and their personal photographer. And I am also their chef, and maid (though they are quickly becoming my assistants the more that they grow!), and their taxi driver. I am their hair stylist and manicurist. I am also their fashion designer (though I can't take credit for all of their outfit choices. Especially the ones which combine plaid, stripes, and 'of course it matches, Mama! It's all pink!'. Those outfits are all them :). I am all of these things and more. Because I am their mother. It's who I am. It's what I want.

It's funny, though. Because every single time that I imagined motherhood, I imagined diapers, and nursing, and chubby thighs, and raspberry kisses. My motherhood dreams always stopped there. In baby land. My motherhood dreams never held visions of mothering actual little people. And as my children have grown, I wasn't sure how I would take to it, this new season of mothering people. But I can tell you now, especially after today, that it is awesome. I like my children more and more as they grow, and I never even knew that was even possible.

Today, the children and I walked. All four of us together. And nobody was carried. The sun was shining, and we held hands, and laughed, and skipped, and if one fell down another helped him up. We walked the gravel path around the lake and visited with the geese. And we talked. And talked and talked and talked. Because it doesn't seem to matter if you are seven or seventeen, if you are a female, you love to chatter! And while we walked, I got to thinking.

This motherhood thing is pretty great at any stage.

I read something today that suggested that all of us mothers may have one particular season that is the best for us in terms of mothering. For some it might be the baby or toddler stage. Others might prefer preschoolers, and still others children in school. And the author suggested that there are even those few blessed individuals who enjoy when their children reach adolescence (gasp! I know, right?). Her point was simply that if the season you are in right now is not your thang, then just hold on, because another season is coming and perhaps it will be better than the one before it?

I get what she was saying. I really do. I can remember when a certain two year old girl would throw fits, just thinking, come on already! When will you ever grow up?!, as I ate yet another meal in the restroom with her where she sat in time out at the restaurant. But she did grow up. Right before my very eyes, and it happened quick as lightning, never to be returned to again. And I spent the entire season wishing it away, because parenting a toddler wasn't my thang. It was not how I rolled. I only liked babies! I was meant for babies! This children growing thing was not what I had signed up for. But now? Now, only through my memories will I visit her little two year old self once again. Only there will I feel her sloppy kisses and her chubby arms around my neck.

And while then I wished to skip forward, now often I wish to rewind.

So while I get what the author of the article was trying to convey, I have come to believe that no one season of mothering is better than another. They all have their challenges. They all have their joys. I have come to believe that each season of mothering is what we make of it. We were made for all seasons, because we were made for them. And they were made for us. We were each made for each other, all in the image of Him. So if you have babies, rock. Rock and sing as much as you can. Toddlers? Laugh, explore, and play! Get messy! End each day with hugs. Whatever the age of your child, find something about that season to enjoy, and meet your child right there. Right where they are. You will be grateful that you did, that you were not always waiting for the next, better season to come along.

And if your children are becoming little people? With dreams, and ideas, and feelings all their own? Embrace it! Walk, like we did today. And talk, and laugh, and do life together. I have heard it said that the years are short, but the days are long. Never has any saying been more true than for the life of a mother. But today I was grateful that the day was long. Because long days are good for living well.