February 19, 2012

29 Days of Love & A Little Cup of Water

Can I tell you something?  Something I’m not necessarily fond of talking about, but that which I am recently overwhelmed by? 

29 Days of Love – it should be fairly easy, right?  I mean – show extra love to those you love for 29 days – how hard is that?  Well, actually – this month it feels kind of insurmountable.  Not because my heart is not overwhelmed and overflowing with love for my sweethearts – because IT IS.  But having said that – and meant it – I have to tell you, I’m having a hard time getting along with my little boy.  And that’s really a whole nother’ story – because I’m not going into the why…but I will say…

…every time I start to write a post – it’s all I want to talk about.  Girls night out this weekend?  Riddled with conversation about my confusion, my frustration, my angst…my longing…and still it wasn’t enough.  I’m still stuck there.  In that place of sadness.  Every time someone asks me how I am?  Diarrhea of the mouth about Q and our struggles.

He is a wonderful boy.  A charming, strong-willed, loving, SPITFIRE, beautiful, outrageous, amazing, infuriating, wonderful boy.  And I am in love with him.  I want to put him in my lap and whisper words of love and adoration, and I want that to solve all of it.  But it’s not going to happen.  That is, I’m going to continue to pull him in my lap and whisper my love for him – and we’re still going to wake up each day and wonder how we’re going to make it through.  And I’m finally realizing – I guess I’m naïve that way – that we could be, and likely are, going to deal with much of what we are going through now for many years to come.  Likely throughout his life.

I can’t tell you how sad that makes my heart.  How heavy that feels.  How if I could soak up every ounce of his struggles and take them onto my own person – I would never even blink with hesitation.  I would take every last drop. 

Instead, I’m just reminded that this is a long road.  That Rome wasn’t built in a day.  That we have a tremendous journey ahead of us with Quint.  That as he grows, new issues seem to arise – prolonging and changing the course ahead.  Like new chapters written into a story that I thought I had already written the entire plot for.  And nothing to be done but forge ahead into the unknown and hope that the ending still looks as beautiful as the one I had planned on. 

As I put him to bed the other night,  I was at first frustrated by his typical “antics” – his stall tactics and his many requests.  But as I stood in the dark of his room – hovering over him while he sipped at a cup of water – waiting in my exhaustion from the day for him to “release me” – I was overcome.  I felt the years moving away from me, and I felt him aging – as if before my eyes.  I saw him grown and gone.  I saw him on his own.  As a man and no longer in need of these trivial little things – like a cup of water from his mama, late at night.  No longer in need of me – not like this.  No longer needing me for all of his comfort, small and great.  For his reassurance in the midst of the storm.  For his goodnight and his cup of water.  I very clearly and fleetingly saw that this time with him was in fact the shortest possible amount of time and how easily it could be squandered.  I heard the many voices of my motherhood who have gently reminded me how fast they are gone from you.  I heard them and I listened – and truly – it was as if time was still for a moment while I watched him sitting up in his bed – drinking that small cup of water in all of his four years and two months and a couple days.


I was overwhelmed with love for him.  And for the fact that I knew in the blink of an eye, this would be no more; my opportunity to give him what he needs and to be who he needs. 

And I don’t know how to tell you this other than to say, that in the midst of my great frustration in that moment  - I also felt true and pure regret.  Regret because I would waste even a day languishing in complaint about where we seem to be stuck with our sweet boy.  Regret that as sure as yesterday came and went, he was a baby in a crib in that same exact spot – cooing and looking up at me with those enormous brown eyes…as sure as he was a 2 year old in his “toddler bed” and so proud of himself for crawling in and out…as sure as I tucked him in after that drink of water, planting yet another kiss on his little cheek – my four year old – tomorrow he would be gone from us…to have his own life and his own family…and would not need nearly as much from me.  Or that his needs would be so very different.  And regretting that I seemed incapable of appreciating the hills AND the valleys of my days being his mother.

So I’m stuck there a bit.  In the day to day – so frustrated….so tired….so spent from dealing with whatever is the latest in a long stream of complications with Quint.  In the nighttime, trying to sleep – but filled with regret.  That it wasn’t as it should have been today. That I could have done better.  That I should have given more of myself to him.  That I should have tried much harder to reach him or reach out to him.  That I’m failing him – somehow, someway.  That I’m missing it.  And that in the years to come I will weep for the days when he called to me in the night and asked for a cup of water and another hug and kiss.  How I will long for those moment with sad tears…and cherish them so much more than I seem to be capable of now. 

The years slip by, and I am distraught to lose them.  I am sad to see them go – because they are taking opportunities with them.  For me to do better at being his mom.  For me to have better understanding of who he is and why.  For me to love him better, because I can’t possibly love him more.  For me to grow up and for him to stay as he is until I do. 

In the meantime, I’m fighting my own will every day.  Not to love him because that is like breathing for me - natural and easy…but to genuinely cherish him – all of who he is  - day to day.  To cherish him.  The difficulties, hardships, joy, and the sweetest moments.  Knowing that there will be a time – in what will feel like a blink…when I will truly long for the days of fetching him a little cup of water and feeling those little hands pressed against my back. 

I already miss them…and they haven’t even left…

Love your babies, friends.



Anna said...

Q is a very sweet and very lucky little boy! I have always heard that boys are the most difficult to raise the first 10 years of their lives. I believe that is true. I go back and forth from frustration to pure joy and love for my boys. They have my heart and take a lot of energy. Don't forget to replenish your soul so you can keep feeding theirs. Love ya!

The Gang's Momma! said...

There are so many hard, frustrating moments in the days of raising little ones that it is easy to forget to cherish the other moments. You said it all beautifully but never forget, you aren't alone in your frustrations with yourself or with your boy. God never intended us to do this alone and this post is a great illustration of why! Thank you for your gut-wrenching honesty. You put into words what so many moms feel but aren't brave or maybe eloquent enough to say in a redemptive manner. Blessings on you. Your hard times will count for something as he grows into God's man :)

John & Michelle said...

Thanks for this post Christie! I am going through the same thing and have shared my feelings with no one! I seem to be tired when I go to bed and also when I wake up! Piper is such a sweet child that never runs out of energy! I hope we meet some neighbors this summer so she'll have some kiddo's to play with!

Jenny Diedrich said...

I also struggle with these same feelings of frustration in not being the mom that I should be, that I think I could be if I only tried harder, had more patience, etc., etc. But I also try to remember that no matter the kind of mom I am being in this moment, I will always want to be better. It's our plight as parents. Because we love our kids so much, we will always want to do better. Try to give yourself a break and know that you are doing your very best right now. Your children clearly know that they are loved, and that's what they need most. They will grow up to be amazing human beings despite our guilt and worries about not doing enough. And as far as cherishing every moment, I'm not sure that's really possible. Part of being in this moment is being frustrated and overwhelmed. We will look back on this time as wonderful and cherish those memories, forgetting how we're feeling right now. I'm far from a perfect parent, but I do try to give myself a break. Like you, I have some pretty great kids so we must be doing something right. :)
Thank you for your blog. It makes me think and I love that.