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Friday, June 6, 2014

Glimpses

Glimpses of the joy of Motherhood come to me now and then.

I'm sure (I hope) other moms can agree that although we'd rather be doing Nothing else, sometimes our career choice of motherhood drives us absolutely crazy, gives us incredible levels of stress, frustration, even anger, and decreases our level of patience by, oh, maybe a trillion?

At times I feel bad complaining about it because all I do is stay home all day, right? Piece of cake. I have like 12 hours to clean my house, do the dishes, fold the laundry, keep my children fed and happy, etc. etc. But as this blog post on The Huffigton Post articulates so well, motherhood consists of a million other tiny details and tasks and needs that have to be completed and met that it makes those tasks we expect ourselves to complete, and imagine other people expect us to complete, difficult to accomplish.

I say all this really to make just one point - that being a mom is really hard! And incredibly busy. And because it's so hard and constant, sometimes I forget to think about, or don't notice, those glimpses of beauty and joy that being a mom to my sweet, beautiful children brings to me.

I want to document some of those glimpses that I've noticed most recently.

1. A couple mornings ago, per the usual routine, I brought Jane into my bed to feed her while I kept sleeping for a few more minutes. After she finished she moved around a little, finding her comfy spot, while we both dozed in the softly lit hours of the early morning. Eventually she nestled in so close to me that her little head slid right into my neck, fitting perfectly between my jaw and shoulder. I thought to myself that maybe on another morning this comfy spot of hers would interfere too much with my attempts at sleeping longer and I would move her over, getting her out of my space. I could see myself noticing how uncomfortable it was to have a head weighing down on my throat and breathing and swallowing mechanisms, getting me all clammy with her baby sweat. But on this particular morning I relished her warm, snuggly, sleepy body resting next to mine. I felt that little head jammed into my neck with my whole soul and felt so much love for that little head that I never wanted her to wake up. I wished she would stay that way, lying next to me, fitting in my arms like that forever.

This doesn't happen every morning. Most mornings I slide her softly, quietly, careful not to wake her up, to the other side of the bed so I can keep sleeping alone and undisturbed on my side of the bed. But that morning I had a glimpse of the beautiful thing it was to have a warm baby sleeping in my arms nestled against my neck.

2. Last night we were at Great Grandma ValGene Ogles' house for her 83rd birthday party. What an incredible woman she is. I feel so privileged to see her often and bask in her love, warmth, generosity, intelligence, faith and goodness. She inspires me.

On the way home Alice serenaded Max and I from the backseat. That's when you have to catch her singing, when she's "in the backseat", alone in her own world, thinking nobody is listening. This time it was "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". The melody was a little off, the words were a little made up in some places, but I never heard a more sweetly sung song. I wished she would sing forever.

3. Today Alice said the cleverest thing to me. I reminded myself to listen more closely to what she says, because a lot of times it is cute enough to bring a smile to my face.

She was in her room with a friend playing Joy School (pre-school). Alice was the teacher and I could here her saying things like, "Today we're gonna learn about the letter "A" ", and "First we're gonna sing some songs."

After a minute she called out to me, "Mom!! In my room it's Wednesday!!" (most things she says come with exclamation points at the end) ... ... "In the living room it's Friday and in my room it's Wednesday!!"

"Oh! Okay, Great!" I called back to her.

You see, this is very clever of her because for the past 9 months every Wednesday morning we've had Joy School. She knew today was actually Friday, but in her room it had to be Wednesday because they were playing Joy School and Joy School is only on Wednesdays!

Two more funny things she's said to me just today:

As I was putting her down for her nap she said to me, "Where are we going after my nap?" (She's always hopeful something exciting will happen after the dreaded nap).
"A wedding reception," I said to her.
"OH!!!" She exclaimed, delightedly. I'm sure she was daydreaming about the beautiful princess she knew she would see at the wedding reception that night.

As soon as she woke up, the first thing she said to me, that is after yelling out of her room to me, "Moooooommmm!!! Can I come out!!!??"was:

"Mom, wedding receptions say I have to wear a dress!"
Clearly, the beautiful princess she would be seeing was still forefront on her mind.

And lastly,

"Whad you wanna do, Mama?"
I'm her buddy. She likes to do things with me. I  hope I can give her the attention and love she needs so she will never stop wanting to do stuff with me

Glimpses come to me when I truly listen to what my little girl is saying rather than distractedly replying with a "yeah", Great!" or "Okay" as my mind races ahead and all over the house thinking about the tasks I'm trying to complete while she follows scampering behind.

I'm trying to be a better mom. It's such a daunting task. There's so many many ways to mess up. I'm hoping I can pay better attention to these glimpses and keep myself focused on the beauty of it rather than the mistakes and shortcomings I may have made, and will probably make.

Here are some other glimpses I've had.


Jane's birth

Family Movie Night - "Despicable Me"

Just eating some lunch - watching Baby Einstein

Alice's birth - premature, Very unexpected. Instant Love. 
(But actually "love" doesn't even begin to describe it; more like Instant obsession, devotion, enchantment. Instantly you have my whole heart and soul, Instantly I will do anything, Anything for you without even thinking. More like that.)

Alice getting a sister to love.

Finally taking our premie home from the hospital

A summer evening walk

This little face

Alice playing in sand and soot.

An infant needing me.
 For food, for sleep, for comfort, for baths, clothes, binkies, snuggles.


Easter, 2014

We had a blessed Easter this year. While we attend church every Sunday of the year, it is nice to have a certain Sabbath during which our thoughts are more specifically and especially turned towards our Savior, Jesus Christ, and his ultimate, incomprehensible sacrifice for us. My church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, aka Mormons) produced this great short video about Jesus Christ's atonement. You can watch it, and learn more about Jesus Christ and Easter here:

We enjoyed watching it as a family in the days leading up to Easter Sunday, getting our thoughts and hearts focused on him before the actual holiday.

On a more secular note, I kept with the tradition of new Easter dresses for church for me and the girls (poor M didn't get nothin). And I may have stayed up into the wee hours of Easter morn to finish them - gotta stop procrastinating things like that. They turned out really cute though.

As well as the tradition of the Easter Bunny and Easter baskets. It's hard to get children to focus on the real meaning of the holiday when they have the Easter Bunny to think about, but one of the gifts in their Easter baskets was a children's book about the Atonement and the real meaning of Easter. We were sure to read that and talk about it with Alice to help her understand why we have this holiday. I think she understood it, she was able to tell her Grandma later in the day that Jesus died, and they put nails in his hands and hurt him, but he came back to life and was resurrected! And I think that's about as much as a 3 year old can be expected to understand.

Jane enjoyed the goodies inside her basket.
For several weeks afterwards whenever she saw an Easter egg lying around she would get real excited and try to open it to get the treats. In her mind egg equaled treats. Only sometimes sweetie :)
After breakfast we got all dressed up for church!
Alice was thrilled to have a lovely new dress to wear. The girls loves dressing up, no question about that.

 Dad and the girls...
... And Mama with the girls.
(This is quite possibly one of my favorite photos. Love that girl admiring her new dress)



The rest of these photos, I know they're all pretty much the same. But I just love the sequence of them. Dad being silly with the girls and snuggle squishing their squirmy little bodies on Sunday evening after a long 3 hours of church (In the LDS/Mormon church we have three hours of Sunday meetings: Sacrament meeting, Sunday School and then either Relief Society/Priesthood meetings for the adult men/women, Young Men/Young Women meetings for the teenagers, and Primary for the children. You can read more about Mormon church services here and/or here (this second link will also help you find a local church if you would like to attend)





Happy Belated Easter to all. Here's to keeping Easter and Christ in our hearts and minds always.


Oh, and we did have a really fun egg hunt with some neighborhood kids the Wednesday before Easter. Alice really enjoyed that. I accidentally deleted all of those pictures though! Just try to imagine her with like 30 other small children running around a playground picking up eggs left and right. I'm sure you get the idea.