I heard someone say that the joy of motherhood comes in moments. That feels so true. There are such long stretches of work, sleeplessness, worry, and yes – frustration – but all of that can disappear in a moment. Those special little flashes of delight that make the harsh edges of the world go soft. In those moments, all the difficult things recede in the light of all that is glorious and good about being a mom. Joy. It’s pure joy. Not pure fun and games. But pure joy – absolutely.
Today my first born turns six. SIX!
They say that the days are long but the years are short. And honestly, I don’t feel any pressure in that statement the way I used to. I used to feel so overwhelmed when people would look at my kids – the same ones who had been making me want to pull my hair out all day – and say, “Oh, enjoy it! It goes by so fast.”
There are so many unenjoyable things about raising little ones that this felt like a judgement of the many things I wasn’t enjoying. Should I be enjoying the sleepless nights and the health struggles and the constant messes and the destructive energy and the willfulness that threatens my very existence? Do I HAVE to enjoy all that?
But now, I’ve made peace with this phrase, and all the people who tell me to “enjoy it.” I DO enjoy motherhood. I enjoy it a whole heck of a lot. But there are plenty of things about motherhood and each of my kids that drives me insane, and I embrace that too. I think I would be crazy not to feel this way — this is, after all, THE most all consuming, mind boggling, physically uncontrollable thing I’ve ever experienced.
I don’t face today with any sadness. Six has been hard fought. We’ve come along way to get here baby. So much work. So many tears. So many struggles. I feel proud of us to be here! We maaaaade it!
I also can think of about one billion moments that have made each year of six absolutely magical. Moments that make my heart grow three sizes and my eyes automatically close as I drink in the memories. Six years of hard work that felt hard, yes. But also, six years of unbelievably good moments from an unbelievably amazing kid.
Here are six of my favorite things about my first born.
-Theo has the most amazing memory. He remembers everything he has ever done. He remembers directions. He remembers people and places and details that you didn’t even know he noticed. He remembers things and then stores it up, randomly pointing out places he remembers going years ago or asking about a person he met once on a walk. It blows my mind.
-Theo loves to work hard. He is a joy to have in the kitchen. He loves to help his dad. He is smart, creative, and loves to problem solve. It is fun to give him tasks and see how he resolves issues that come up. He doesn’t take anything for granted or at face value and questions everything. As his mom, of course, this is super annoying. But as a fellow human being I simply marvel at the way his mind works.
-Theo is incredibly physical. I don’t mean physical in a negative way. He doesn’t hit or anything like that. He is just such a physically active person! He loves to ride his bike and was riding without training wheels at age three. We didn’t even get that proud parent moment of teaching him. He just hopped on a friend’s bike one day that didn’t have the training wheels and off he went! So typical Theo.
He touches everything. He jumps on everything. He climbs everything. I love to watch him climb trees. Once, on a hike, he scaled the rock wall that surrounded a waterfall (Mike was with him, calm down). He started to slide back and with one hand he just reached out, caught a root that was sticking out, stabilized, and continued climbing. He loves to explore his world in a very physical way, and I think that is just so cool.
-Theo loves music, but he also loves talk radio. It is hilarious. He had a radio in his room when he was younger and I would go back to his room to find him playing with the radio on, blaring some old school southern baptist preacher. I die. So stinkin funny. He listens to a lot of books on tape now, but occasionally, he will turn on his radio to find some music or a sports talk show. The other day, he proudly told his dad “I listened to football today, daddy!”
This kid, I tell ya! So funny.
-Theo is one of the most friendly kids I’ve ever met. He loves to say hi to people. He cares deeply for his friends. I love that he is used to our habit of inviting lots of people to join us for meals each week. It is just normal to him. He welcomes each and every person with so much enthusiasm and I can’t help but appreciate the special level of love, cheer, and friendliness that he adds to our family and our home.
-I love the way Theo loves his family. He adores his dad and looks up to him in ways that I can’t speak of without getting choked up. He mimics his dad and tells me all sorts of things throughout the day that he wants to do that I know he simply notices his dad doing. I die each time he goes into the bathroom, wets a comb, runs it through his hair and adds gel to his hair, just like dad. It also kills me when he puts on his dad’s deodorant.
He and his brother have such a special relationship. At least, that’s what I keep telling them! lol. They might fight like, well, brothers, but they care so deeply for one another. I love that they don’t want to go to bed without the other at night. I love that Theo wants to help Oliver learn things – in a big brother sort of way, not a bossy way. He is such a caretaker, and it comes out in a million little ways.
And the way he is with Beatrice, you guys. I can’t even handle it. Theo is the most tender hearted, compassionate, thoughtful brother to his little sister. Did you know that he told me we were having a girl way before the doctors did? And it wasn’t in a “I-want-a-sister” kind of way. He simply, emphatically, kept telling us the baby was a girl. He has always had a special connection with her. He calls Bea his “sweet girl” and goes into her room at night to sing her a bedtime song. HE SINGS HER A BEDTIME SONG, you guys. For the love of all that is sweet and beautiful. This kid just really melts me when it comes to his sister.
I wish you could hear his tender little voice, singing and talking to his sister at night. It reveals something truly kind and good in him.
I have been this little boy’s mom for six years now. There have been some difficult moments, to be sure. But oh my friends, they don’t even compare to the moments of joy. The moments that remind me that this person standing before me is a gift from God. That he is a miracle. That he is an incredible person and I am privileged to get to be a part of his life.
The joy of motherhood really does comes in moments. In so many, wonderful moments. I cherish them all.