6/25/08

I'm Changing the World

Like clock-work, each and every morning, my Asher alarm wakes me at 5:07a.m. Sometimes it's 5:03, but generally, it's 5:07. He's quite serious about when things get done. At 5:07, he fully expects to be refreshed with a small bottle. I try to remember to prepare this little dose of libation the night before so when I stumble into the kitchen at 5:08a.m., I don't have to do any more work than is absolutely necessary.

I get Asher, change his soggy pants, feed him the bottle and put him back in his crib. Most times he's cool with that routine, drifting back to sleep for an hour or two more.

Most of the time I try really hard to drift back to sleep for an hour or two more, but for me there's too much anticipation. Because the next waking is so unpredictable. I try to believe that I'm going to feel rested if I just let myself doze. But more of me knows the truth. I will just begin to dream and my "alarm" will go off again. So I toss and turn and try deep breathing, and just as I begin to enter real sleep, my alarm surely does go off, pulling me from a vivid dream I would rather continue.

So I guess, for the most part, I get up at 5:07a.m. every day. And most nights I've been up a couple of times, interrupting the short sleep I do get.

We move on to breakfast, the day starts rolling and it's more intense than I want it to be on so little sleep. There's a baby crying from the highchair because the food isn't coming fast enough and a toddler yelling that things just aren't right with his food. There are dishes already piling up and breakfast fare covers the counters. I am bone tired and trying to be nice. The dog wants to go out and wants to be fed. Toys are creeping from every bin in the house and hitting the floor under my feet. I'm thinking that maybe I haven't put the laundry in the dryer and now it's probably going to need to be run again since it most likely smells bad from sitting wet. But I can't muster the energy to walk downstairs to investigate. Every once and awhile I see an opportunity to shower so I quickly baby-proof as much as possible, turn on PBS for Miles and try to get clean in three minutes or less, listening all the while for cries or bangs. I then run around in a towel for awhile, checking on the kiddos and trying to find clothes to wear.

That's just a snippit from a morning in my current life. My point?

Sometimes it's really hard to believe that I'm doing something important. Meeting basic needs in this stage of parenting seems to take over all the other things I want to do for my children. Many days I have no energy to connect with my boys the way that I believe I should. Feeding, diapering, dressing and directing take over the day and then I crash. These days are full of a million moments, some of sweetness and hilarity, and many with tantrums and trials.

I'm starting to understand that the first few years are the way they are so I can learn what I need to learn; selflessness. What I mean is that these wee ones will be okay as long as their basic needs are met, they learn by watching and experiencing the smallest of things. But for the most part, I'm the one doing the learning.

I am learning to set myself aside. I am learning what the word sacrifice is all about. That's good for a person. Especially because as a parent, I have many years of sacrifice ahead. If not for these first few years, I wouldn't naturally grow into the parent I need to be. Maybe God knows we need to learn the hard way sometimes, so these physically demanding and exhausting years are a part of growing our character and teaching us perseverance. Amidst it all, despite the struggle, an unconditional and solid love grows deeper and deeper within us. Even though there is not much we get in return, teaching us that we are more deserving of being trusted with our children than we may have once thought.

In all of it, the good and the bad, I'm amazed to my core that what I do really does matter. Every mother who is sacrificing her own needs for the love of her children is changing the world. There is no way around that, even on the days I feel I haven't done my best.

There's a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that says what I'm rambling to say:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppOJkyYonIg (not the whole song, so if you want to hear it all, it's the last song on my playlist to the right).

2 clicked right here to comment:

Kimberly said...

What a brilliant and beautiful insight. There's no denying that the first few years are rough in that respect. We don't see many tangible rewards for all the work and stress we endure every day.

But then there's the day where one of our kids does something really amazing and sweet, and we realize...wow...I taught them that. Me.

It's worth it in moments like that.

MidnightCafe said...

Thanks so much for such a beautiful post!

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