Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Surviving the Hard Days

This toddler thing can be tough and there are moments when Travis and I find ourselves wishing that these kids would just grow up already and become a little more independent so we're not constantly feeding, dressing, chasing, correcting, redirecting...and repeat...ALL DAY LONG.  We daydream about the day when they can cut their own food, put on their own shoes, and wipe their own rear ends (oh how liberating!). 
But there are moments that always causes me to pause and look at things differently.  These moments instantly dissolve the feelings of stress and exhaustion and replace them with a genuine, in-the-moment appreciation for the two tiny tots that stand before me.  These moments occur when we encounter a woman whose children are grown.
Though they vary in age from youthful and vivacious like YaYa and Mama Hop, to the most elderly of senior citizens, it's the grandmas of the world who have so much to teach those of us who our currently mothering.  It's always the grandmas who stop me in the grocery store to fuss over my little girls with such warmth and sincerity.  You can see the twinkle in their eyes as they reminisce about how my girls remind them of their own children when they were young.  And in those moments, these women are not recalling the Sit Down!/Don't Touch That!/Use nice hands with your sister!/I just told you not to touch that!!/Behave!/Listen!/Cooperate!/I need a drink!!! soundtrack that echoes throughout my days...

They're remembering the thrill in a toddler's eyes when she discovers something that the rest of us perceive as mundane.   They're remembering the innocent laughter that is so fun and easy to elicit in children.  They're remembering those tiny little hands reaching for her mother when she's seeking help, comfort, reassurance, and affection.  They're remembering feeling needed.

And judging by every story that YaYa and Mama Hop have told a hundred times about when their children were little, I'm convinced you don't remember the hard times.  You only remember these adorable little people doing the most adorable little things for a period that was all too fleeting... 

...and when the advancing years offer a maturity and hindsight that those of us who are currently "in the trenches" with toddlers do not yet possess, you realize those were the best days of your life.
And that's why I perceive these mothers whose children are grown as little angels who pop up at various times with a message of encouragement to help me make it through the hard days.  I suppose that someday I'll be the elderly woman in the grocery store, stopping a frazzled young mother to fuss over her children and I'll look back and remember how it was the most difficult job I ever had, but I was abundantly blessed to be able to do it.



  1. Thank you for this reminder!
    So sweet!

  2. I am told that grandkids are better than kids, but I couldn't figure out how to skip straight to that part! So here I am, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to 3 girls and 1 boy. IT'S TOUGH. I should've kept my office job. LOL But I'm told that some day I will look back and miss all this. I can't actually fathom that as truth at this point, but I guess it will be so. :)

  3. Ah! Perfect day to read this post. Thank you!

  4. AMEN

    my boys are 29, 25 & 22
    when I was in the trenches, my mom used to say that they were "the best days of my life" & you know, they WERE!
    I tell my husband that if I could have just 1 day of them being little, it would be like hitting the lottery....Enjoy with all your heart. I know it's not easy, BUT cherish it


  5. So true, best job ever. Hardest job ever! You aren't alone in the trenches;)

  6. I remember it vividly, wishing with all my heart that we would get out of 'this season' or 'that season'. They seemed to stay toddlers f-o-r-e-v-e-r. But now, the memories of those days are absolutely precious. It's the amazing moments of laughter and growth that seem to flood your mind.

  7. Well that was completely unneeded. Sending this stinky from being in the soccer fields for 4.5 hours today, painting boards to create yet another organizing device that I have hopes for but likely will remain nicely painted because my littles will continue to drop their hats, sweaters, and backpacks on the floor, 4 loads down but four more to go exhausted mama into tears. You are so right and I am thankful for the sweaty soccer games, dropped hats and backpacks and piles of laundry. Much too soon these "irritations" will no longer cramp my style...and my heart will break.

  8. Love this post. A bunch of old people live on our street, and they're always just sitting on their porches reading or hanging out. Sometimes I get SO jealous, thinking "What would it be like to have nothing better to do than read on my front porch!?" And I always realize how they would probably trade places with me in a second, to have little ones around to read to and play with and listen to their laughter.
    I admit that I can't WAIT until my kids are in school. These days are surely demanding. But time is going fast. Connor will be 4 this week. FOUR! So I'm really really trying to make the most of these days that can sometimes seem like Groundhod Day :) I know we'll look back and it will seem like a blur! (or maybe it will be a blur because of the wine necessary to make it through?? :) )