Thursday, October 7, 2010

In-Between

*Um, I still have only been getting about two hours of sleep at a time (that makes about 7 months of sleep deprivation). I have a feeling that when I read back over this post it will be a little confusing and rambling, but it makes me feel like myself to write things, so I'm just trying to capture things when I can.

I also had a toddler bouncing on my lap the entire time.

So if you make it through the whole thing, kudos to you! Good luck!

...

Most days, I really, really love bedtime.

Some days I love it because it means I will be putting both of my li'l pumpkins away for the evening and freeing my hands for some activity of my choosing...

or the dishes...

but still,
doing dishes with two free hands
is infinitely easier
then doing them
with no free hands...

But those days are surprisingly rare.

What I really love about bedtime is that it is the part of our day that Jack and I both are most familiar with.

It has been the same, give or take a few details, from his birth.

It is a chance to end on a good note.

Some of the hardest days have ended with the sweetest cuddles and nighttime songs.

I also love bedtime
because it reminds me
of one of the most
memorable parts of my childhood.
I remember my dad
tucking me in until
I was in high school.

The stories that he read to me
hold special places in my heart
and I can't wait until
Jack and Joey are
old enough to enjoy them too.

As Jack has been getting older, he's been getting sneakier. He knows how to make me do things that weren't part of my original plan and he gets his way far more often then I would have thought he would.

His new ploy has been to prolong bedtime by asking me to "nuggle" him. If he is feeling very ambitious he will ask to "nuggle on the couch" which I almost always refuse because it will inevitably lead to him asking to watch a show, or eat a chocolate chip or play hide and seek.

And we all know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie...

When the couch request fails he asks me to lay down next to him. I usually oblige while we tell our stories or sing our songs. Recently he has decided that mama's bed is more interesting then his own and will often ask to have his stories there.

Last night, after sitting quietly on the deck and watching the stars and listening to airplanes and cars and frogs, I knew it was time for him to be in his own bed, by himself, with his eyes closed. So when he asked me to snuggle in mama's bed, I lovingly told him that it was time for bed. Then I closed the door and moved on with the evening.

Jack usually is in bed around 8:00. Somewhere around 10:00 I wandered into my bedroom only to discover that my cheeky little monkey had silently crept out of his bed and tucked himself into mine!

With our light still on, he was passed out on my pillow with a book tucked under his arm.

It was one of the sweetest, most charming things I have ever seen.

And for some reason it made my heart ache.

Mothering is so complicated. Complicated seems a much more accurate word then "hard."

There are the tedious parts: the dressing and undressing, feeding, figuring out naps...

There are the disgusting parts: diapers, spit-up, sick babies...

There are the sweet and silly parts: wild dance parties, tickle attacks, funny faces...

There are the rewarding parts: seeing your child learn new skills, words and emotions and hearing them say please and thank you, even when you aren't there to remind them...

But then, there are all those parts in-between.

Last night was one of those in-between parts.

When I looked at him curled up in my bed I suddenly remembered that some day, he will face major disappointments and I might not know the words to make them better. Some day he will make significant mistakes, and he may not choose to tell me about them. Some day, his feelings will be hurt, he will struggle, he will be responsible for his own actions.

The part that is totally captivated by Jack's wonderful personality and is truly enjoying seeing him grow up was face-to-face with the part that recognizes that my job is to prepare him for his adult life.

That is a little bit scary to me.

So while I was bursting with the sweetness of finding my toddler asleep in my bed, I was also sobered by the significant responsibility that I bear as a mother.

I'm not sure what to do with those in-between times, but I have a feeling that I don't do much different at this point.

I keep enjoying bedtime and continue to feed and diaper and play. I watch him, and teach him all that I can about shapes and colors and good attitudes and socially acceptable behavior while playing with other children.

Every day I open my hands a little wider to give him space to learn what he is capable of and remind him that I see great things in him.

I remember that as much as I love him and want to protect him and offer him every good thing, even my best efforts will fall short somewhere.

Every day, as I lead two wonderful boys, I must let myself be led by a parent far more capable and wise and creative then I can ever hope to be.

There really is no other way.

So Lord, thank you for these lives entrusted to me, let me enjoy them, but not hold too tight to them.

There is a much longer conversation here, happening between me and God, but I'm not sure it will be terribly interesting to you.

But I hope, that if you have been enveloped in those in-between times, that I am right there with you. Luckily we serve a God who is never in-between. He is over and in and around and under... covering over all of our lack.

Peace to you in the in-betweens friends.

3 comments:

Jason, Allison and Elliott said...

Thank you, Emily. You have reminded me about the greater responsibility (and joys) of mothering my boys. Sometimes I get caught up in the extremes of my daily life with young children: the good moments of toddlers sharing, squealing with joy or the difficult moments of sleep deprived children (and mommy too), messes, and naughty behavior. But mothering is so much more that the daily good & bad.

Alissa Maxwell said...

Complicated indeed. A dear friend with her first little one recently told me she hadn't realized how "task oriented" parenting is - feed, change, comfort, entertain, clean, repeat. I often wonder how I can fit the important parts of parenting in between all the tasks. By His grace.

the mcquiddys said...

I am glad that I found your blog because let's face it, you're writing is just plain beautiful! I was captivated reading it. :) Thank you for the good perspective. Really. Thank you.

Kristin :)