He used to wake me, oh so often. He'd had a bad dream, or a cough, or something felt funny inside.
I would grumble, or be patient, depending on the night and how tired I was.
Back to his room and tuck him in.
Rinse and repeat, through many moons.
But he doesn't do that anymore.
He used to be our pickiest eater. Though we'd always fed all three the same, he turned up his nose more frequently.
I would grumble about this, or be patient, depending on the day and all that had happened up until this point in it.
Trying not to make it a big deal, we encouraged him to try things. We also honored his preferences and didn't force it.
A few nights ago I made a steaming pot of chili (one of his not-favorites). I set a small bowl in front of him and watched wide-eyed as he gobbled it all down.
He just doesn't do that anymore.
Her hugs were stiff, like she didn't understand how to give them.
Like she wasn't used to receiving them.
I would grumble about this, or be patient, depending on the state of my heart that moment.
These days she says "You know something, Mommy? I love you." She throws little arms around me like a girl who has met love.
She doesn't do that anymore.
The tantrums, oh dear Lord, the tantrums.
"Don't give in and they'll soon learn that tantruming doesn't work."
Ha. I never gave in, but that didn't stop these daily occurences that pushed me to my limits and beyond. For years.
I would grumble about this, or be patient, depending on how many times this had already happened within a 24 hour period.
Not able to leave him alone, I found myself sitting with him through the screaming, sometimes with earplugs, often with tears of helplessness running like rivers.
Too drained to even wipe them away. Convinced I must be doing everything wrong.
But he doesn't do it anymore.
Some mamas are reading this after multiple times up in the night. Or you've stumbled across these words soon after (or perhaps even during?) another tantrum.
Or perhaps the dinner you poured weary energy into met with a resounding lack of applause.
I don't want to minimize the stage you're in. I don't want to tell you "Enjoy these days, they go by so fast." I don't want to patronize you.
Instead let me pour a little encouragement your way:
Go ahead and grumble, or be patient. You don't have to handle all the issues perfectly.
Go ahead and cry, and wonder if it's all worth it.
Go ahead and pray, for strength to make it through the next five minutes.
Because one day--often when you least expect it--often when you've come to peace with the imperfections and decided to be happy anyway--you'll wake up, look around and realize:
They just don't do that anymore.
"The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time."
~ Abraham Lincoln
(written with the permission of my three not-so-little anymore people)