So many moments while raising children are memories that you want to permanently publish in your mind. They are things you know you’ll miss someday when your nest is quiet and clean and lonely. Any mother could sift through the millions of precious moments with her babies and give you plenty of examples of why motherhood is so great.
But, there are other moments that definitely aren’t Facebook worthy. No one fills scrapbooks with photos of the vomit on the wall or the stitches in the chin. No one wants to record the words “I’m fiiiiiniiiished!” as yelled from the bathroom as a forever keepsake. There’s a lot of nitty gritty that comes with motherhood. And, sometimes when I’m flossing what seems like thousands of teeth I have the thought that there is plenty about motherhood that I won’t miss when my kids are grown. Every time I have that thought during flossing, though, Sawyer says something hilarious while he and Adelade and Emerald and I are stuffed into the tiny bathroom and the giggling starts and Adelade can’t seem to get over it and Emerald laughs as if she gets the joke. And I think, Oh my, yes. I will miss this.
Today I was trying to do a simple task on the computer. Emerald had just gotten up from her nap, and she was a wild woman. She was climbing all over me, hollering and squeezing one of those baby food pouches all over me and the floor and her dress. She was spilling milk while simultaneously managing to push as many buttons on the computer as she could reach. I’ll put it mildly. I was frustrated. And then, right after I cleaned up the multiple messes she had made, she climbed right back up in my lap. I was probably banging the keyboard at this point just trying to finish what I had set out to do when suddenly she leaned over and put her face between the computer screen and me and she smiled the most playful, sweet smile. It was as if she was saying, “But, aren’t I cute?” And I thought, Oh yes. I will miss this.
What I will miss is so much more than the camera- ready experiences. Unexpected, sweet surprises and breath-takingly beautiful moments show up right where I least expect them. Sure, Disney World is a great memory, as I would expect it to be. But, oddly, some of my most special moments as a mother have happened in conjunction with frustration, exhaustion, panic, and broken-heartedness. As parents, we are more than making fun, wonderful memories with our kids. We are living very real, sometimes very difficult lives together. The good is really good. The bad is often filled with precious, amazing moments. And the ugly generally has something beautiful hiding right behind it, just waiting to surprise and amaze us. And each time some menial task or a scary day or a sad, sick, or disobedient child just about wears me out, when I am tempted to wish for times when they are older, when I start forgetting how short the time really is, a sweet expression or a funny conversation or a quiet moment in each other’s arms reminds me, Oh yes. I will miss this.
You see, I don’t just hold my kids. They hold me, too. And a few moments in their arms is enough to erase any complaint in my mind about flossing teeth or picking up Legos AGAIN. The hard stuff, the boring stuff, the frustrating stuff, it’s part of the job description. Perks of the job include enough sweet memories to last a hundred lifetimes. And, while the vomit on the wall may not be the happiest memory in the bunch, while I may not begging for the opportunity to wipe a rear end when my kids are grown, I know I will miss the tender conversations between a sick child and his mother. I know I will miss the sounds of children making messes. I know I will miss babies hanging on my neck.
Oh yes. I will miss this.