The holiday season has come to a close and we are eagerly making resolutions and plans for 2016.
It took a lot to get us here. We spent 26 days sharing what we were most thankful for before storing up our thanks for another year and switching gears. We charged full speed into the merry making fun of Christmas: frantic searches for the (currently MIA) Elf that does anything BUT sit on our shelves, tree farm visits, and Christmas card pictures (a marathon event that usually ends in someone's tears) and they are now behind us for another year. We anticipated the season all year long, it arrived packaged in stress and frustration, and it is now tucked neatly away as a magical memory. As I sat packed into the back of my mini with 2 children, 2 dogs, and an array of hunting and fishing gear mixed in amongst our luggage I reflected on the last 6 weeks of travel, traditions, and mom-sized temper tantrums.
And I realized there is one thing I am particularly grateful for this year and it is not my family, friends, food, or home.
With a prayer of gratitude I penned this letter into my daughters' journal knowing I was given a great gift this year: the age of amnesia.
It's been a busy season! We have travelled the state from top to bottom. We have indulged in gluttonous feasts with family, weddings, a hayride, 2 visits from Santa, and road trips in between. You shoveled Nonna's Chicken & Dumplings into your mouth with chubby fingers and massacred the turkey cupcake Grandma made just for you. We have laughed, celebrated birthdays, and sat around a fire playing games. You have stayed up (hours) too late and licked the remains of icing and ice cream off of unknown plates.
But today, while you nap, one beside me and one in my arms, on a blustery, winter's day I find myself most thankful for one thing.
You will not remember the Momster I was this season.
Mommy guilt is a real witch. Remember that one day when you are moms.
There were days I let you play in the floor and watch tv while I worked. I cooked supper and folded laundry (it may not have actually made it to drawers, that is okay! Remember that, too.) I stopped to laugh and dance with you for a few seconds before handing you a busy bin so I could get back to work. I sat and wrote blog posts from my chair in your playroom while you gave Little People check-ups and practiced crawling. I felt like a productive homemaker and semi-productive blogger – and I was attacked by mommy guilt.
So I tried again. I turned the tv off and put my computer away until bedtime (I even managed to hide my phone and iPad so I would not give in to your wails for Doc, surprise eggs and creepy renditions of “Where is Thumpkin?”). We invented new games and laid on quilts in the yard (It was an 80 degree Christmas, after all). I let the laundry pile up and picked up unhealthy, non-organic, take-out for supper (which the oldest of you seems to prefer over my cooking anyways).
I was wound tight with the stress of being a “good mom”. Of waiting until you fell asleep to catch up on chores and bang out a blog post or two. Of ignoring the urge to turn on a Christmas movie and pack but instead throwing a tennis ball down our (very steep) hill and retrieving it over and over and over again- because it was sunny out and we would spend hours in the car later in the week. Of making eye contact each time one of you looked to me for approval instead of responding to emails and editing pictures. This should have made me feel like a Mom-Star! Instead it created a Momster.
And then our travel days dawned and I scrambled to catch up on so many things since I was already behind. (This year we traveled twice for Thanksgiving and twice for Christmas… you'd think I would have learned the first time around…) I was packing bags and doing laundry as the seconds to our departure wound down. I was wrapping gifts, stuffing stockings, and building swingsets at 3 am. I was chaotic and distracted. I fussed when you begged for my attention and argued with your dad. I turned on a movie in the car and was irritable when you wanted to kick the screen and ask for the 37th pouch today- because babies and 2 year olds should definitely love a road trip! I snapped at your daddy IN FRONT OF HIS FAMILY (this, my girls is something you simply don't do even when it's warranted) because he snapped at one of you.
There were so many fantastic moments- so many kisses and hugs, check ups and stickers. But there were also times the Momster showed up and showed out. Traveling with two little ones is so hard. Splitting a holiday between two families so far apart is insanely difficult. Sometimes families forget these things when they plan their celebrations and, though it is not your fault, you are the recipient of a stressed out, frazzled Mama trying to ensure everyone receives their fair share of our endearing little family.
These moments would stick in your sensitive little hearts and minds if only you were a bit older, “Do you remember how mom used to fuss because we tried to dance with her while she was packing? How about that time she was irritated that I was crying and she didn't know my leg was stuck? What about the car trip she yelled at me because I was so exhausted I couldn't nap?”
“Do you remember that mom and dad didn't talk on trips because they were so irritated by the time they got the car packed?”
Sweet girls, these are not the memories I want to make with you! I lose my temper and snap at you and I see your bright blue eyes cloud over and well up with tears. A hug and a kiss later you are smiling, cooing, and giggling with me again. I am so very grateful you remain in this age of second chances and easy forgiveness. So thankful I have time to learn this mom thing a little better before you begin to remember my (many) mistakes.
There will be times (so many times) that we will argue and fuss. I will tell you that 12 years old is too young for make-up, your shorts are too short, and I'll hate your boyfriend that you proclaim everlasting love for on whatever ridiculous form of social media we are using that day. Tears will flow and feelings will be hurt. But I want them to be about things that matter! About making good decisions and being responsible when it's not cool (I probably won't be the cool mom… prepare yourselves for that!)- not about things like asking Mama to hold you or play a game with you. I always want to do those things- even when I'm tired, even when I'm ill, even when I'm exhausted, even when I can't. When you reach your juicy arms up for me, or you say “Up peeeees!” my heart breaks to tell you no. Even when my tone says GO FAR FAR AWAY FROM ME! I don't really mean it.
There are many things I am thankful for this year and you, my precious girls, are at the top of that list. But today I am the very most thankful for God's grace over me and the knowledge that you have already forgotten the moments I failed; those that I can't quite forgive myself for yet. You have forgiven me, our loving Heavenly Father has forgiven me, and even your earthly daddy has forgiven me.
This is our quiet season of spending days in pajamas and weekends at home because it's too cold to get out. But Easter will come, first birthdays, and beach trips. We will pack up again and pile into the mini again and I will I get a redo. Thank you, God, for that!
I am so very blessed.