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.