hold the moments

It's thunderstorming outside, all the windows are open and my babies are napping. The sound of nothing but the rain falling always puts me in such a place of peace and inspiration. I feel like it's been quite some time since I've written here (like, really written) and with a lot of opportunities for reflection over the past few weeks, I wanted to share something that is so apparent in my own life right now that chances are, as a Mom you are facing too.

On our way to Kindergarten last week, on Olivia's first day, as I was driving she said to me from the back of the car, "Mom, you don't need to come in with me. You can just drop me off at the curb. I'll be just fine." 

Cue all the mama emotions. (Spoiler: I still went in that morning and proceeded to walk her in all week long. Oh and I told her she isn't allowed to call me Mom until she is at least 10, it will be Mama until then). Then today for the first time, I pulled the car up and dropped her off at the curb and watched as she walked in on her own. I trusted that she would make it to her classroom all by herself, that she would find her hook and hang up her backpack and put her lunch where it needed to go. And that she could do it without me. As I drove away from the school, I thought to myself, "I just did it. I just took one more step of letting my baby girl go." Even though it may seem silly or small, for whatever reason it was so significant to me. And it was then that I realized such a core truth of motherhood -- you learn to let go a little at a time, and how we hold the moments we are given with our children is what matters most.

Maybe you're as sad reading that as I am writing it, but over this past Summer and in to Fall I have found that to be so true. It is what shapes how I approach every single day of motherhood. Even the chaotic, overwhelming, messy, noisy days. The ones where you are totally late to everywhere you're going and forget your kids' shoes or snacks or move from diffusing one tantrum to the next (maybe even because of the lack of said snacks). The ones where you're totally convinced you could handle another baby or the ones where you aren't sure how you kept all of your kids alive. The ones where you feel like you're sinking and flying at the same time. The ones where your youngest refuses to get off an elevator and then you're trying to jam the doors open as they begin to close so she doesn't get trapped inside without you and then you drop your parking ramp ticket down the elevator shaft in an effort to pull her out. Yes, that happened yesterday. The ones where you don't know what you're doing but you're just so grateful you get to do it. That God trusted you with these tiny humans that are imperfect yet so very perfect all at the same time. Do you ever have any of those??

For the first time in 5 years, we no longer need a stroller everywhere we go. I can run errands without a diaper bag and pregnancy seems like a lifetime ago. I've since forgotten the fog of the newborn days and exahustion of the sleepless nights and I may even appear like I have it more together than I did back then (another spoiler: I don't). 

We no longer have bottles on our counter or swaddles in our laundry baskets. And to be totally honest, I feel equally excited and sad about that at the same time. Let's get real though, I want like 10 more babies so mostly just excited.

Adaline is now 19 months and when Penelope was that age, I also had a two month old, so it feels very different + unfamiliar to be entering a season without a baby in my arms. Olivia is in 5 day Kindergarten and we celebrated Poppy's 3rd birthday earlier this month, though she seems so much older than 3 to me with the things she does and says. And sweet little Della, who we call the silent partner, copies everything her big sisters do so even though she seems so grown up, I tell her everyday she is my baby and needs to stay that way forever ;)

I have often heard it said, "The days are long but the years are short" and I don't know if I've ever found any quote to be more true.

I had friends ask me how it felt sending Olivia to Kindergarten and if I was happy or sad and it got me wondering: how did we get here?? How did we get to the point that my first baby, the little girl that made me a Mama back when I was just 23, was already 5 and going off to Kindergarten?? I realized that so much had happened over the past 5 years and I began reflecting on how I held on to the moments I had with her. The small, simple ones where she'd come and sit next to me on the couch without saying anything or tell me her three favorite parts of the day at bedtime while holding my hand. And the big, exciting ones where she learned how to walk and talk, write her name and fold her own laundry, paint and draw and then to teach her baby sisters how to do all the things she had mastered and loved so much. And the everyday moments in between. The hundreds of meals we have shared and the countless times I have braided her hair and snuggled in bed or listened to her pray with a soft, gentle voice. The moments I rubbed her back or sang her a lullaby or rocked her or read books to her or watched her play with bubbles in her bath as a little baby. Her first giggles, first smile and first curls. 

In only a matter of minutes, hundreds, thousands of moments came flooding back to me. I'd held on to each and every one; I'd been present in the moment with her, and after living it, tucked each one away in my heart for a day like today. A day where I had to let a little more of her go. I could grab hold of these memories and look back on them with so much joy and it lessened the sadness of the letting go.

If you are a mom, you certainly know this feeling well. Maybe it's sending your baby off to preschool, kindergarten or elementary school. Maybe it's a certain age or birthday celebration (doesn't 5 seem so much older than 4??). Maybe it's something they accomplish or something they say that makes you realize how much they've grown. Or maybe they go to bed one night and just wake up looking like a big kid instead of your little baby and you find yourself with a pit in your stomach wondering how so much time passed and how you can slow it down or stop it altogether.

So whether the moments come easy or land hard, are loud or silent, hold on to them. Let them happen and be present. Laugh with your babies and cry with them. Let them be little and be quick to forgive their mistakes and messes. Focus less on correcting and more on connecting. Chase each other at the playground instead of observing from the bench while your husband chases them. Say yes when they request to sing a song to the baby you're rocking instead of getting in to bed. Read them the extra book, snuggle for 5 more minutes and just lay in stillness with them in your arms and hold on to the moment. 

It is in these small, seemingly insignificant moments that we are truly alive. That we are truly in our calling. That we can truly let it sink in how incredible it is to be called Mama and to have the privilege of raising these children. It is in these moments we cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Of contentment. Of joy. Of connection. Of peace. Of significance and purpose. It is these moments that make up a life well lived. And how wonderful that we get to live it well, with our babies, every single day. 

1 comment:

  1. And now I'm sobbing at work <3 This so perfectly and completely articulates the joy and the heartbreak of raising babies and letting them go. I put my oldest in Pre-K this year, my middle turns 3 in December, and my baby just turned 1! It is such an awesome privilege to raise littles for the Lord <3


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