Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wishing Nothing Away

One of the most important pieces of advice an older and much wiser friend gave me before Joseph was born was, "Never wish your kids into the next stage of life, because you'll want to go back to the days you currently find so hard eventually."  I'm sure she said it much more eloquently, but you get the point.

Anyway, this has proven to be harder than I thought.  When he was a newborn, I wished he was older so he could play and we could interact.  I wanted him to crawl, then I wanted him to eat solid food, then learn to walk, then feed himself a bottle...on and on.

What is it that makes me wish I were at some other point in my life, or that he was at some other point in his, for that matter?  Other moms confirm constantly that there are new struggles with every new age and stage.  There are joys and challenges that come with a child's ability to perform new tasks and operate at a new level of independence.  And I, like every mother out there, will, I'm sure, long for the days of dumping out MegaBlocks all over the floor, playing silly made-up games that no one else knows, re-putting little shoes on for the gazillionth time that day, waddling after him as he speeds down the sidewalk with his push toy, wiping up those spaghetti messes, and playing chase around the house until I'm ready to drop.  Yet, most days, it is hard for me to be content with enjoying Joseph as he is right now.  I watch other kids out with their moms and think "Wow...that kid can get into his own carseat!" or "Wouldn't it be amazing to say something and have Joseph understand and obey?!"

Even as I write this, I'm welling up (give me a break - these pregnancy hormones are really something!) thinking I'm silly for even posting all of this - there are many worse things in life.  My child is healthy, we have everything we need and so much more, I am doing what I always wanted to do...

I think that I have been surrounded by some amazing families who seem to "have it together".  I know every family has its issues, but when I dreamed of having a family, I always pictured myself hair done, makeup on, with a cute apron in the kitchen on a crisp fall day with my wonderfully-behaved children all gathered around me as we baked together all day long.  Needless to say, there hasn't been a day like that yet.  Joseph likes spices, but he mostly just likes to open them and shake the contents all over the rug I just vacuumed.  (Or maybe that was last week...)  I guess I lose sight of the fact that those families didn't get to where they are without "paying their dues" and working through these days of infancy and toddler-hood with perseverance and consistency.  Families of five or eight or twenty kids don't just turn out wonderfully with time.  And, as I'm sure they'd tell me, they didn't have it all figured out from day one.  I suppose we all have to start somewhere.  Did I pray for patience recently?  Hmmmm... 

So I ask you, moms out there, how do you live life during these stages without just going through the motions?  I don't want to look back and wonder what we did with these days.  How do we turn the trials and repetitiveness of daily life into joy and embrace the stages that we sometimes try so hard to hurry through?


  1. I totally know what you mean. The other day, I was dreaming about being in my parents shoes. They are at the stage of their lives where they travel the world visiting their kids and grandkids. Lucy isn't out of diapers and I'm already thinking about becoming a grandma? Fr. David once gave me a quote from St. Catherine of Sienna (and I'll probably get it somewhat wrong), but the gist of it is this: The root of all sin is a lack of gratitude. Now, I realize dreaming about the future isn't a sin, but it can keep me from enjoying the present moment. To get through the hard stages with Lucy, I have to just be so thankful for the gift that she is to us. She is alive and she brings us joy.

    Honestly, I think blogging helps record the events we have as parents. I've gone back and re-read my blog posts from when Lucy was just a baby and even though life was a struggle then (as it can be now!), I look back happily. It's comforting to know that months or years from now, I'll look back at the age she is now and realize that it was a great time.

  2. well, i won't be offering you any advice on the mom front since i haven't quite gotten there yet, but just know that anytime you want to ship my nephews over, they can come hang out with me. :) i'm sorry you're stressed out. maybe it would be good before #2 is born to have a little "babymoon" and drop j off at mom and dad's. when i am feeling overwhelmed and kind of ungrateful for the people in my life, all i have to do is be away from them for a day or so and it puts everything in perspective. love you!