Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always..."

 Mirabel outside of Savenor's in Cambridge, MA.  May 2011.  And that's Julia Child's writing in the pavement!

This past weekend was a rainy one.  Very refreshing for July.  I can't remember the last time it rained in July, in Austin.  We stayed home on Sunday and spent naptime organizing photos.  I think we have more than 21K now (I've got a great camera on my phone that I love to use!).  

Looking at photos is bittersweet.  Jose used to insist that it was impossible to enjoy a moment if I was hiding behind a camera the whole time.  But now that our kids are growing up (well, Mirabel is 3 and time's flying by to me), he doesn't complain much about it anymore ;).  I don't want to forget these moments.  I've already forgotten how squishy Mirabel's rolly legs used to feel like.  I'm glad I at least have those pictures.  One thing I can't forget: How tough it was being a mom the first time around.

I remember waiting for the day she could walk, somehow thinking it would get easier (Ha! Amateur!).  But Mirabel didn't walk, she ran...and she didn't stop, until she was almost 3.  I savor these last few pre-walking days with Juliette, even though she is quite squirmy in my arms.  At 11 months, she's already trying to take off at the store, even though she doesn't get very far doing the army crawl and the sideways moonwalk.  You should've seen me today at Mirabel's ballet class.  There were a few other pre-walkers there, but Juju was the only one squirming until I put her down, and wiggling across the floor in search of a goldfish crumb or two, or maybe even a leaf.  She's so curious and energetic, but still squishy.  

Before Juliette was born, I managed to finish a scrapbook with a few favorite pictures from Mirabel's first year.  I haven't even started on Juliette's.  2 years ago, I bought a first year picture collage frame for Mirabel.  I tried buying one for Juliette yesterday, at the same store, and they no longer sell it.  I was more sad about it than I should've been.  Mom guilt, anyone?  But looking at those pictures over the weekend made me feel like I'd already lost my first baby and I was beginning to lose my second.  I mentioned it to Jose, and in that same conversation I realized that we're also gaining something more than what we had before.  Little did I know 3 years ago that Mirabel would someday love to dance, would befriend any passer-by with a friendly hello (followed by a hug), would want to watch Beauty and the Beast 3 times in one week, and would love to make robots from empty cartons... These moments are just as priceless as the ones before, and I'm slowly learning to live in and appreciate right now, and not yesterday or tomorrow, whether the babies are squishy or not.

Strawberry picking in Fredericksburg, TX.

As lovely as it all sounds, I've also had the opportunity to witness a few less pleasant traits blossom in this child whose personality is as curly as her ringlets.  Yes, she was the one expressing her frustration quite loudly today in class, as she struggled to put on her tap shoes all by herself.  And I admit, this is another moment that I wish I could press rewind or fast forward.  (Then I realize I don't really want to press fast forward, because if she's like this now, how will she be at 16 ;)?)  I see the little hairs on her head curl even tighter with every impatient scream... and I remember that God has a sense of humor.

Even though it wasn't fun to watch, I didn't take it too personally today.  Because, like everything else, that moment passed.  And I also remembered what I'd read just a few days prior, in a book that has been incredibly encouraging, and has given me a new perspective on moments like these that make up the beauty of motherhood... Drum roll, please.  That book is called: The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.

It's like a refreshing slap in the face.  It's honest and so right on.  I think I've highlighted 98.9% of the book so far, but here are my favorite quotes,  the ones that are setting me straight:

"...servant leadership is the model that Jesus gave to us for all areas of our lives, including our roles as mothers.  He reached the minds, hearts and lives of his disciples not just by telling them what to do but by serving them in love--an example the contrasts starkly to the common view of what leadership is all about." (p. 63)

"Choosing to be a servant-mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering--and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of my time at that moment.  It means that, by faith, I have already made a decision to make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because I believe it is God's will for me to serve my family through them.  Making this choice ahead of time means I will expect problems and needs to arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment." (p. 67)

"...the future is not where real life began.  Each day was God's perfect will for me.  There would be no wasted years of 'just taking care of the needs of my young children.' On the contrary, these years would be the most important of my life." (p. 68)

Juju almost a year ago!  She'll be a year next month!


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