Recently I found myself racing through our home, bending down with a nearly 40 week belly to pick up likely the same toy I had already picked up 1000 times that day (ordinary day over here!). As I was coming back to standing, my eyes caught sight of something that made my jaw clench (mommas, you know the one!). There they were, two muddy handprints smack on the wall as if they were some prized piece of art. I thought “Are you kidding me right now? I can never keep up around here!”. Then just as quickly as I had found them, the next distraction came along, so off I went making a mental note to come back to them later. It wasn’t until a couple days later that I found myself collapsing on to the couch after yet another long day, that I happened to glance over and you guessed it- there were the handprints I never cleaned. For those of you who haven't experienced it yet, “mom brain” is a real thing. I sat there looking at them, feeling completely unmotivated to clean them and I couldn’t help but laugh. I pointed them out to my husband and we found ourselves lost in a long conversation about our boys and the shenanigans we catch them in on daily basis. The more we talked about our wild circus of little people, the sweeter those handprints began to look to me. I started to think about the little hands that created them, and while they bring loads of chaos into my life, they bring even more fullness. I have such a tendency to become overly consumed with all the things in life that just don’t matter very much. Us mommas lead wild lives in which we often times feel like we are juggling what feels like 10 balls at once while trying to master the art of unicycling. Those muddy little handprints on my living room wall made me wonder what sweetness I’m missing out on as I sometimes race through life. When our babies are little I feel like the older generations are constantly reminding us of how quickly these days fly and how much we are going to miss this, and while I do agree, I can’t help to think about the little things that are happening everyday. I feel like everyday they are growing before my eyes, but somewhere in all that growing it's the little things they are learning that are adding up to big things sometimes without us even realizing it. Something as simple as putting on their own shirt, or learning that the tag always goes in the back means I’m needed less for clothing changes. Learning how to buckle yourself into your own car seat means I’m needed less (even though it may take a painful 30 minutes of waiting in the driveway). Learning how to put their own shoes on (even if they are on the wrong foot) is just one more sign of them needing me less. Everyday they learn something new. Sometimes it is as small as turning on a light themselves or opening a door, but regardless, that little thing becomes one less thing they need from me. In the greatest TV show of all time, Andy Bernard uses such simple words to say such a big thing -
My husband and I watch the full run of The Office at least once a year. We’ve probably done this for the last four years (and counting). Four years ago when I heard Andy say this for the first time, I don’t think it meant nearly as much to me as it does now. Although my life is not yet complete and I hope to have a long way to go, my muddy living room artwork kind of makes me think that I’m living right here in the “good old days”. The days that are messy and sometimes require a bath at 9 am. The days that we read the same book 15 times. The days that I sit down in the salon chair and have my stylist tell me there is syrup in my hair. I could go on and on about the moments that are marking the “good old days”, but I think you get it. Sometimes as a momma, I tend to not feel like some of these days are good. Sometimes I feel frustrated or impatient, and like the whole day is just a wash - but in reality, it isn’t. All of these wild days when we’re chasing these crazy little people, are actually just the “good old days” that will be left behind before we know it. So mommas, lets band together and encourage one another to savor these days, though they may be long and hard, they’ll be gone before we know it.
*And just in case you’re wondering, it took me nearly a month to bring myself to wipe away the prints.