Beatrice will not stop eating. Ever. I’m absolutely befuddled by her tiny frame. It makes. no. sense. The girl will eat as much as her brothers, then fuss for the bite that is on my fork. She is an eating machine with an appetite-to-body-massratio that defies logic. It’s fun to see her develop and grow. It’s fun to see her crawl around on the floor and get right into the thick of things with her brothers. She loves to wrestle with her dad. She loves to be with the action. She stays up late on nights that we entertain because, baby Bea like’s to party. She naps poorly and still wakes frequently at night. We try to forgive her of these shortcomings because, have you seen her? She’s adorable. What can we say, we are smitten. She is a keeper, and the fact that we celebrate her first birthday next Monday is just nonsense. Nonsense I tell you! Who allowed this year to go by so quickly? I feel like I was just pregnant like two days ago. True to her name, she is such a joy. She adds the loveliest dimension to our family. Sure, I could do with out her pterodactyl screech and golly would I like it if should would start sleeping more, but all in all I feel like we really won the lottery with this one. What a joy. What a gift.
Oliver is…Oliver. How do I describe that kid? I can’t think about him without grinning from ear to ear. He is short and squishy and loves to give hugs and when he comes in for a kiss he grabs your face with both hands and pulls you in for the wettest, fattest smooch of your life. He is ornery as the day is long. He eats non stop and I get the biggest kick out of feeding this kid. He eats anything. ANYTHING! He is enjoying his time at home as the “man of the house” now that Theo is at kindergarten. I see just the slightest bit of confidence developing as he has free reign to do as he pleases without fear of a big brother beat down. He smashes everything into everything. He breaks everything. He ruins all his clothes. Potty training is NOT going well. He disassembles and smashes every pen that we accidentally leave out for him to find. He sings songs, dances, and loves to tell jokes. I made him tortellini the other day and every time he wanted more he would ask for “turtle weenie.” I die. He loves going to church. Every day he asks when his daddy and big brother will be home from school. He sings songs like “Jesus loves me over the rainbow.” He has the softest, sweetest, little boy voice that you ever did hear. What a pleasure.
Theo is learning to read and is constantly trying to read everything around him. He sits and “reads” books to his brother. Then he smashes his brother’s head into a wall. Brothers, man. The other day they were racing to the van and Theo full on body checked Oliver into the front end of the vehicle. I’d never seen anything so brutal outside of the animal kingdom. We went for a walk the other day and we stumbled upon some sweet little baby kittens. The kitties wouldn’t come out from the bush for me, but Theo, crouched down and gently talking to them finally coaxed them out. He instantly named them Larry and Timmy and asked if we could keep them because their mother had obviously “passed away.” (This was not obvious. They actually seemed well cared for.) He was invited to do something with a friend the other day and we were both excited because it was the first time he had received an individual invitation to do something. His friend invited him to go bowling and although it was hard for him at first, he ended up having such a great time and I was really proud of him. He can get easily discouraged and give up when things don’t come easily, but he didn’t do that this time. We stayed, he bowled, and a fun time was had by all. He is really into styling his hair like his dad. He likes to wear his police hat to school. When we drive past a police car he points to it and says “There’s my crew.” He is always catching bad guys. He hates school. Mornings are my nightmare, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not thinking and researching and praying and consulting and trying to figure out what is best for this kid. Parenting does not get easier as kids get older. The stakes just get higher and I tend to feel less qualified.
Theo and I play this emotional tug-of-war where, one minute I look at him and I can’t get over how cool he is, how curious and capable and kind. Then I turn my head and am blindsided by his frustration. His disobedience. His incredibly physical way of filling up a space and dominating a room. I love him more than anything but seem to be constantly failing him. I say the wrong things. I get too angry. He sees my helplessness. He sees my frustration.
In this season, I can honestly say I’m giving motherhood my all, and then some. I do not plan on sharing the particulars of how we are struggling with Theo right now, because it doesn’t seem fair to him or necessary to you. But suffice it to say, we are in it. Like, really, really in it. I don’t know how this is all going to turn out.
But I do know one thing.
Theo, and I’m sure all my kids, will remember some of the ways I mess up as a mom. But I believe the thing that they will remember the most is this – I don’t give up. We might fight. We might fail. But we do not flee. I’m not abandoning my kid in this. We are working through this together. Daily messing up. Daily asking for forgiveness and grace. Daily re-evaluating, regrouping, and moving on.
I know I’m not always going to get it perfectly and I know I’m not always going to get it right. But I read something SO encouraging the other day. My friend sent me this blog post and it really shed some much needed perspective on my ideas of motherhood. The post talks about how it’s ok to not be enough for your children. That is the reality. It’s ok to say it. To face it. To embrace it. Because the truth is, in motherhood and in life, we can’t do this all on our own. Every day I have to get up and pray for help do this thing called motherhood. I have to surround myself with a community that speaks truth and love to keep me going. And I need to be able to acknowledge to my kids that I won’t always be enough for them either. And that is how it should be. Because that is the way I can tell my kids about God. About how he is always there for me. How he takes my shortcomings and turns them into strengths. How people fail, but he never does.
And I get to move forward, knowing that my best is enough. Knowing that I don’t have to be perfect to be a good mom.
What a joy. What a gift. What a pleasure.
And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.