Yesterday was a whirlwind of all things bright and beautiful and some things right down not. I’m incredibly blessed by all of it. It’s a blessing to be a mom- through the smiles and laughter, and through the skinned knees, hurt feelings, and messes you wonder how you ended up in.
Now, the last couple years, the boys have served me breakfast in bed. That was incredibly sweet, thoughtful, and perfect. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This year, I was a bit elated that I woke up first. This meant I got to take a whole shower with no one calling for me from another room, “sneaking up” outside the shower door and trying to scare me (very noisily sneaking, I might add), or holding an unfair race to eat their breakfast first (almost finishing before the other started and then saying, “I win!”) and hurting another little person’s feelings.
I got all ready for church- myself. I mean- I got myself all ready for church before leaving the bathroom (as opposed to getting the kids dressed and fed and running in just before leaving to get finished getting ready.
Then, I tiptoed out to my computer with excitement. I was going to get a few minutes to work before anyone else woke up! Sure enough, I got a whole of 10 minutes in before I heard a grouchy grumble pitter-pattering somewhere far behind me and go quiet.
Mommy Time Had Begun
“Is that my Jude?” I was surprised by a very close mischievous and sweet call for “Mommy!” Somehow he’d managed to get right up to the couch behind me and lie down. Work time was over, and cuddles began. I was thrilled to have both boys snuggle up on my lap and proudly bring me things they’d created for me. My eldest had triple wrapped the gifts they’d made at Grandma’s (wrapped with a little of my help, because, you know, packing tape dispensers are pretty sharp and we only had enough non-Christmas wrapping paper for the first cardboard box). He had wrapped them, because Jude kept trying to give them to me each day, and each day being disappointed that Mother’s Day had not yet come.
They both proudly also helped me unwrap. After Elijah with dedication and strength pried open the first two layers of boxes, Jude was surprised to see the final “smallest box,” which was really quite big. He declared, “Raisin Bran? We’re giving her Raisin Bran?”
Was it Raisin Bran?
“I don’t know, Jude- let’s find out!” Even though Jude had made half of the gift, Elijah felt it unfair for him to help unwrap, since he had not helped wrap. After untangling some hurt feelings and squelched sense of fairness, the gifts they had made were inspected and declared to be beautiful and well done. For they were. Elijah had carefully added a bag of Cheetos, a box of Raisins, and a card he made at the gym. Then Jude announced that he had a present all his own. He pitter-pattered off to the pantry, proudly bringing back a couple boxes of raisins. I guess the Raisin Bran box and the actual box of raisins his brother had given me inspired him. He then declared he had another present and proudly proceeded to disappear and return with the book I’m currently reading to them in school The Giant Killer.
After gifts were over, I had the joy of them both cuddled on my lap rocking me. Now, I’m often so uptight and focused on too many things and overwhelmed by tired that chokes out some of my room for fun, but I reminded myself-
“Just Laugh. When it’s funny, just laugh.”
So, I did. I laughed hard. Just a few years ago (and even still now), I’m the one rocking them. I told them how much they have grown and how funny it is that they are rocking me now. Now, they were still on my lap (obviously, I wasn’t sitting on them), but they were doing all the rocking of the chair. Jude got super excited and hugged me, acting silly while he rocked me with such gusto. I could hear my laughter peal through the house, and see it reflected in my sons’ faces.
Mother’s Day Surprise
After Adam woke up (possibly from my loud laughing) and joined us in the kitchen, I discovered we were not going to our church today- we were heading to Silver Dollar City first thing. I never like missing our church- we love it so much- but we so rarely get a day like that, when Adam isn’t on call and we can escape together as a whole family. We really enjoyed the church service at Silver Dollar City first thing (though I found throughout the day both of my kids echoed my sad feelings about missing our church that day).
Everyone’s Favorite Part of the Day
We spent most of the day in a squeal-filled, soaking wet battle at the boat ride. Jude and I manned a water gun at the tower. He cranked the wheel for the pump, and I aimed, and we soaked so many boat riders. I was enraptured by the joy on my husband’s face as he and Elijah manned the guns in the middle of the boats (where you really get squirted right in the face by the people on the boats).
Hours. We passed hours of fun as a family soaking people that way before deciding with glee it was our turn to ride the boats and soak the people squirting from the guns on the outside. (These boats were equipped with 4 water guns on each side. In all the areas they wound through, riders could soak all the innocent bystanders on the walkways around the ride. There were also water guns positioned all around the edges of the path of the ride as it wound around, enabling the bystanders to fight back). We all rode once and then went back to squirting the people on the boats. Eli and I rode together and were elated to get the side of the boat where we could really squirt Daddy and Jude as they tried to soak us.
Then, as Jude sat in the sun within shooting distance of the boats yelling at them not to shoot him, I realized he was starting to get tired and grumpy. So, we all dried off, I changed Jude’s clothes, and we did other things.
Ball Pits, Swings, and More Surprises
Elijah and Daddy went to the ball pit at Fireman’s Landing, which is a 3-story, extremely loud, fun-filled place where you can harness the power of suction and shoot, throw, and drop little blue balls at people for hours.
Jude was still too tired for the noise and excitement of that, so I reminded him of his favorite ride- the swings! “Oh, yeah!” he exclaimed with renewed gusto, and skipped off to ride. After that, we went to ride the fire dogs that go around in a circle and bounce up and down.
As we stood in line, I smelled something. Something bad.
The little boy behind us in line who was comparing hurt knees with my son had a dry shirt and suspicious-looking liquid dripping down his legs, so I thought- maybe, maybe that was it. An older boy-probably around 8-, came up to join the line and declared that it smelled like the fire dogs had dumped something.
Soon after, the gate was open, and as I climbed into the fire dog behind Jude (little riders up front/parents in back), I caught another whiff of it. I leaned forward and took a good whiff. Was it my son? Nothing. Okay, well, probably someone just recently puked on the ride, so it stunk everywhere. Then I caught another whiff of it.
Just to be safe I leaned my nose down and smelled my shirt- did I stink? Though I felt a little embarrassed, I was relieved- No, it wasn’t me. Okay, it’s just the ride.
Time for a quick trip to the potty and then we’ll be off to join Daddy and Elijah in the ball pit. Now, at 4 and 6, when my boys go to the potty in public, they still go with me. We use a family room whenever possible. This time, the family room was locked, and as Jude went potty in the women’s restroom, I realized to my horror the reason for the stench I wondered about and then forgotten about only moments before. My son, who has been potty trained for about a year and a half, had completely pooped his pants. And, now that we’d pulled him down, he had brown streaks all over his legs.
Okay, Jude, let’s go to the stroller and get your 2nd pair of extra clothes! (Now before you start thinking- who packs 2 pairs?!!! He’s the only one who had extra clothes with us, and I never bring two sets- but he’s been having some really abnormal bladder trouble lately, so I threw in one more. I’m so grateful that I’d gone overboard). After walking quite a distance, I realized when I got to the stroller that I had the bag with the clothes in it already over my shoulder. So, we trekked back, him with brown streaked little legs, praying the family bathroom would be open.
It wasn’t. The bathroom attendant yelled that there was a changing table in the women’s bathroom. “Yes,” I thought. “But I need more than just a changing table and a few wipes for this Mother’s Day job.”
It’s All Part of It
I was grateful that the family room opened quickly, and in we went. It’s been quite a long time since my baby got a sink bath. “Happy Mother’s Day!” I laughed to myself as I scrubbed the surprisingly sticky brown grime off of him awkwardly holding a 4 year old in a sink that is obviously way too small. But I didn’t feel sarcastic at all when I said it to myself. This really was a happy Mother’s Day. And scrubbing poop off your child and out of their clothes is sometimes just part of it. This was a part I thought I was way past, but that’s just part of it, too. There are many parts, like the spontaneous cuddles on the couch, the smiles with sincere, “I love you, Mommy. You’re the best Mommy in the whole wide world!” and the handfuls of clover flowers picked with love that I will be all too glad if they resurface later when those stages seem to be long since past.
Love is Whole- the Best and Worst
My college roommate from Germany taught me that in all relationships- with anyone you care about- you take the good with the bad. You take the whole person. You discover the worst in a person and the best- and you simply love them. That’s real love. I think I used to be scared of the worst in people and unsure what to do with it or how to respond to it. As a mom, that seems natural. It is all part of it to deal with temper tantrums, selfishness, greed and inside things that are the worst- and to try to help a little person seek God’s help to be their best. To love them no matter what.
External Things are Laughable
External things like pooped pants are so unimportant- gross, yes- but endurable. Perhaps even laughable later. In the middle of writing this to close my Mother’s Day, I heard footsteps. This always means Adam or I or both of us have to jump out of bed or up from wherever we are and find our eldest son. He gets up to pee at night, but is never awake. Rarely does he make it to the actual toilet by himself. We’ve found him aiming at the piano, at his brother sleeping in this bed, in his closet, and a number of other places just in time. Other times, the hallway, bathtub, and bathroom walls were not so lucky. This time, Adam was already asleep, and I was solo on the job. I called for him. Nothing.
I couldn’t find him.
I searched his bathroom, glanced in my bedroom, stared at his bed trying to decide if the lumps under the blankets were large enough to be a six year old. I stared a little longer than I needed to, not knowing where to search next and realizing I was probably too late anyway. Finally, he answered from Adam and my bathroom. He’d found the toilet this time. But on the way through our bedroom, I stepped in some suspicious drips of liquid on the floor that I had to clean before returning to this blog. This is something I realized recently (with a surprising pang of sadness) that he will likely soon outgrow. I wondered why I was sad- it definitely isn’t easy to jump out of bed, nor is it fun to clean up when we are too late. But it has become almost a funny game for Adam and me. It’s an experience that brings us together, that gives us something to smile about when we share, “You’ll never guess where I found him this time!” It’s definitely not something we tease him about or shame him with. We are pretty discrete when we talk to him about it, but even for him, this has become an exciting, funny thing. He likes to ask about his forgotten nighttime adventures and laugh with me about them. This is just one of those difficult parenting things that has turned out to be a source of connection and laughter for our family. Definitely memories to brighten my heart and face for years to come.
I think the difficult and hard just become part of the memories that can as a whole remind us of the people we wholly love.
I’ll always remember this day for the fun and even the mess- as all just part of being given the incredible gift of being able to love sons.
May I Always Let My Heart Brighten
As we were driving in the car, I turned to hear what Jude was saying. He is so good with language, but “r’s” are still hard for him. “You walked? You certainly did!”
“No, Mommy- I wocked…!” Jude restated.
“He rocked,” Elijah translated.
“Oh, yes, Honey, you did! You rocked me today!”
“And I was so funny. You laughed,” he said, so proud that he had been the key player in a really enjoyable memory in our fun-filled day together.
“Yes, I did.” I thought to myself. “And I hope and pray I always laugh. That I laugh a little bit more every day with you. That I let things roll off my back more, that I overcome painful tiredness, dwell less on very real life stresses, and let laughter peal through the house. That I let us reflect joy in one another more so that more days can be etched in my memory and theirs as brightly as this one.”
More Like This
This blog is designed to remind us all to laugh just a little bit more. To celebrate the big and little of life. To love whole people (not only the parts we prefer) with our whole selves (not broken pieces). If you liked this, you might try some others:
- Interviews for the World’s Toughest Job (Must Share Video for Mother’s Day!!)
- 5 Ways to Engage With your Kids
- What is Love?
- 10 Life Breathing Phrases To Speak Life to Your Kids
- The Secret to Shrinking Problems