How Did I Get From There to Here?
I keep hearing of friends getting pregnant for the first time.
Watching newlyweds eat cake and celebrate their first anniversary.
Seeing new moms sigh in the dairy aisle because all the little people are screaming her name.
Oh wait, that was me last week.
Don’t worry, I’m not going all “cherish these years” or “it goes by so fast” or “the days are long but the years are short” on you. What I have to say, I think, is much more important.
It’s actually the opposite of all that. Ready?
Hey moms, quit asking to freeze time. Quit mourning the loss of the baby smell. Stop saying you wish you could go back.
Instead, I want you to do one thing. Lean into the crazy. Like full throttle – bring me all the end of year school emails, poopy diapers, teenagers studying driver’s ed, tantrums in the grocery store, kids puking – kind of crazy.
I know, now you’re thinking I’ve lost it. But, I haven’t really. Last August, I would’ve told you what a difficult time I was having watching my sixth baby grow up. I would’ve admitted, probably with a chocolate and beer bribe, that I was struggling with letting my kids go. And then I saw two kids, two kids whom I adored and have amazing moms, jump from this life to heaven way, way, way too soon for my liking.
And I stopped wishing to freeze time. I started to be oh-so-grateful for every milestone my kids were reaching. My eyes were opened to the gift of the present, not the yesterday.
The eye rolls.
The slamming doors.
The screaming fits.
The homework hell. Okay, maybe not that one.
The first steps.
The funny jokes that made no sense.
The first words.
The crazy things kids say.
The feelings they hold close.
And everything in between.
Because in reality, what we all want is to grow old and watch the people around us thrive and love and grow old, too. We want to be surrounded by deep, tangible, awesome love.
Yes, do I feel like we’re in the HOV high school lane careening into the last lap of raising our oldest? You’re damn right I do. And while the heart palpitations start to emerge, I am so grateful for this season of life. This heightened awareness that the life we are living is good. Real good. And, wishing to go back, to go back to who I once was, is no longer something I daydream about.
I remember fun-loving, perfect parent Kathryn in her 20s. She’s a real hoot now. I remember the crazy things she used to do to get her kids to nap or how she used to give the babysitter a full page of notes when heading out for a few hours. My mama heart has not forgotten the sweetness of early motherhood, of nursing my babies or of extreme sleep deprivation. But now that heart isn’t quite as fragile as it once was, for it’s tasted suffering and pain, sadness and grief, joy and elation, pride and gratitude. It knows the true price of love: selflessness.
So, as we enter Gianna’s second year in a few days, I’m feeling at peace. Knowing that we’re right where God wants us to be. With grateful hearts, we can’t wait to exclaim “happy birthday” and cherish whatever comes next.
You have not aged one bit! Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!
HA! And I was thinking I had. Your glasses must be different than mine. Thank you for those sweet words!
As a mother who works outside the home I have heard “lean in” a lot. But I am going to use this “lean in to the crazy”. You have just restored this phrase for me. Thank you for the perspective on kids growing up.
When you add “crazy” to any phrase, it usually makes it better 😉
Really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing! Crazy is the story of my parenting life.
Oh and speaking of kids puking…Looks like that’s going to be my day today 🙁
YES. A resounding yes. I remember first-tim-I-know-all-the-baby-things Katie and I shake my head in further understanding now. There’s nothing to do but approach motherhood and this whole life with humility and joy in every step. And I’m finding that with the passing of milestones, I enjoy my children so much more and a deeper friendship is born with each one.
I’m so grateful for your experience. Thanks for helping us all lighten up.
And that picture of y’all up top is precious 🙂
As a Grandmother of 9 (7 of whom live nearby), I’m leaning into a new crazy! I’m the carpool grandma and the go-to-all-games, concerts grandma. I still do remember so fondly the growing up years of my children (my husband always said I only remember the good things; and, as we approach the 18th anniversary of his death, I say “I bet he’s really glad about that now”.
God bless you!
Thank you for this. You describe my life perfectly (7 kids, 13 to almost 1), and I’ve been trying to FIGHT the crazy BACK. Stupid and pointless, right? I just need to hang on and whoooooooooooooooooeeeee!
Happy BirthING Day Kathryn!
I sit in the front seat of the crazy car most days. The past week, I’ve been mulling over some things and think about how I might have a 2 month old right now, and how insane and exhausted I would be with a newb, a two year old, a kindergartener, 8th grader, and a husband in an apprenticeship program who also works 2 jobs. And I smile. Because even though it would have been a special kind of crazy upgraded from the current level of crazy, I am open armed to the insanity, for it is how God keeps life interesting for us. I never imagined being a mom of 5 on this side, but somehow, I can not fathom a smaller household than ours with kids literally from diapers to drinking age. We’ve got too much bold personality in our family and I am watching them grow into their purpose. It is one of my delights, one tiny step above the coffee that fuels my efforts each morning.
I have been reading your blog for several months now and have enjoyed every single piece you have written. But this one especially I had to comment on as this is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you for your gift of your words- they truly are a ministry and a blessing to others!!!
Great post! My youngest, #6, turned three yesterday and I’m having a hard time dealing with the lack of “baby” in my life! I need to lean into the crazy a little more! Heaven knows we aren’t short of crazy around here!
I would completely agree with you if everyone was fortunate to have 2, 3, 4, 5 plus kids. But for those suffering loss, infertility, etc..I feel it’s okay to hope for the baby smell, long for it and the snuggles. Because they only got one chance (or none at all) and it’s worth holding on to. Leaning in to the crazy can occur while holding onto the early stages of life and motherhood
While my miscarriage and year of secondary infertility that followed pales in comparison to the cross and grief of many couples, this post wasn’t about that. Instead, it was a reminder to all of us that there are mamas out there who no longer get to make memories with their children, they no longer get to enjoy the moment with their child because it’s gone this side of heaven. Rather than bemoan what happened yesterday and long for it to linger, I’m encouraging moms to be thankful for the now, the present, the gift in front of them, for we know not when it will end. My heart doesn’t forget the early days, in fact, I cherish them. But it no longer relies on them to feel joy. May you be blessed, Janna, and thanks for your kind comment.
Thanks for this great post Kathryn! Next week I will be the mum of a teenager and this was something that I needed to read. Will start practicing “leaning into the crazy today”!! Love it!!
You are so beautiful Kathryn.
You are so kind, Jenny!
Thank you for this great post. Your words always inspire.
Wow, thank you for this! So beautiful and so needed.
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