The Glory Days

I hesitate to say my life is easy lately. I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. I know there are some readers out there without kids and, no offense, but our standards are just different. I’m quite sure that if you spent the day with us, you would not consider it easy. But to you mamas out there, especially those with two little ones, I can safely say without fear of miscommunication that my life has gotten just a little bit easy lately.

Oh, there’s still screaming, daily. And plenty of long, drawn out nap fighting, and way too much night-sleep interrupting. And squabbling and pushing. Not to mention dinner to cook, diapers to wash, and my now endless list of things to clean.

But in between the squawks and squabbles, there are many moments of two little kids playing, happily. Sometimes they play for almost an hour, with practically no intervention. Giving me actual time to tackle that list. It’s glorious.

I mean, it’s great because I get time to get shit done, right? But what I really want to say is that it’s great because it’s great. I can work at my own project and every few minutes look over and watch them working at their projects. I can hardly get enough of seeing their little selves unfold. The ideas they get, the things they learn, the gears of their brains whirring. I get to be their mama! Here with them all day, every day, to witness this unfolding. I think often lately, “Oh, this is how it’s supposed to be!” The stuff of dreams.

For some strange and unfortunate reason, it’s much easier for me to write of hard times than good times. The gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair always sounds genuine. Everyone can relate. But it’s hard to write about joy and happiness without sounding cliche. Or maybe it just lacks a plot. No problem to solve? Boring.

Not to imply our life is problem free, by any stretch. It’s still really damn hard. So much to do, never any time with My Man, still tapping the bottom of my resevoir every single day. But not exceeding, that’s the difference. Having two littles has stretched me to previously unimagined dimensions. And I do feel like I’m still using all of that extra me. But now it feels like enough, life feels possible. I don’t feel like I’m mid-jump off a cliff with no parachute.

I think I’ve finally found the distance perspective, a hard-won and absolutely pivotal mothering tool. I can see how they’ve grown, how they’re going to keep growing. When you’re mid-jump like that, it doesn’t matter how many people tell you it’ll get easier soon enough. You listen and say, ‘mm-hmm’ and might believe it with your brain. But in your heart you know it will always be like this. Forever and ever, amen. Till the end of time, you will never get to sleep again, never get to crap all alone with the door shut, never get to cook dinner with both arms and all your legs, never be more than 15 feet from a poopy diaper, never get to wake up in the morning and ask yourself, ‘What would I like to do today?’

It’s not that I didn’t feel the impending loss of milky soft baby-hood. Somehow, even though I felt the hard times were here to stay, I was always acutely aware of how I would (if all goes as planned) never get to hold my very own, sweet flesh of flesh, tiny perfection of spirit again. This was the last time and I’d better goddamned enjoy every minute of it. Or else.

A few days ago I realized this is my blessed overlap. My glory days. I can see how they will grow and in a few years they won’t need me to do much more than feed them. But for now, they’re still babies really. There’s still time. I finally feel like I have the space and sliver of peace I need to step back, breath, watch, smile, and be the joyful and grateful mama I always wanted to be.

 

11 thoughts on “The Glory Days

  1. I feel like I’m heading towards this point too, and it has moments of almost overwhelming joy. Then someone poos on the floor, but that’s ok – provides perspective!

  2. This is probably jumping the gun, not appreciating the now, but what are you thinking about school when the time comes? I’m so curious!

    1. We head home to Alaska right before the 3yo starts school, so we’re saved from having to navigate the insanity that is school in new Orleans, where most people send their kids to private schools because most of the public schools are SO bad. I have had little dreams of homeschooling, but really she’s much to social for it…

  3. thank you so much for this CJ. I needed it like I needed cool air on this 38degreescelcius day. My motherhood is sticking to me like an ugly black sweat these last few days, and I needed reminding that it’s for a reason…

    kylie.

  4. This is soo good to hear. I mean, it’s unfortunate that parenting little ones is such, crazy hard work, but it’s good to know that there is light. They really ARE always morphing.

    I have only one so far. She’s nearly two. Sweet as can be! But, boy oh boy, would a little playmate be nice for her (and me)!

  5. Ahh Calamity… the young one must be about 15 months old, then, eh? I remember that once my youngest got to walking, and the oldest adjusted to the constant wreckage that went along with it… they also realized they could play together… and I heaved a huge sigh of relief. I didn’t have to poke my eyes out with forks from the overwhelm after all! This is the beginning of many nice times like this… there’s an ebb and flow from here… but it does mean that every-so-often you hear them working out a problem, or just playing sweetly, and your heart will swell. This is where you start getting paid back for all of the great work that went into the last few years.

    And I hear ya on how easy it is to talk about the hard times… but I like your honesty about those moments. I’ve been kicked in the teeth before by “friends” who called me a complainer for relaying hard times… and so now I’m pretty gun-shy about it. You seem to have a really grounded and sure sense of self that I really admire.

  6. Amen, right on, yes! I’m in a little bit of a sweet spot with my own two right now. I never believed it would happen, but here we are, 10, 15 minutes of peace at a time! I’m trying to savor every second, when they’re still young enough to need me but not need me every second.

  7. Awesomeness, Calamity. Perfect post. We unintentionally went back in for a third (oh well, we know how these things happen right?) and if you think it’s magic now, can I recommend three? The six year old with the babe? It’s. just. magical. And the independent four year old in the middle, steering her own mighty course; I’m with you on the glory. Thanks for articulating it so beautifully.

  8. Hey Inner Pickle, we also inadvertently went in for a third, and I’m not sure I’d recommend the madness! Our are 5 1/2 almost 3 and 1. This past year has been like being strapped to the front of a speeding train with you eyes forced open. (mind you we did move house too!)

    But just this past two weeks the tantrums have subsided from our middle child, and phew, it feels like it’s getting a little easier. So I really get where you’re coming from.

  9. Thanks for your comment about sugar season. I’d love to try birch syrup. Yes, maple sap is delicious! I read somewhere to try making coffee or tea with it instead of water; haven’t tried that yet, but love the idea.

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