Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The house is quiet, almost eerily so. So quiet that I can actually hear the appliances humming and the cars driving by. In my world, full of incessant toddler chatter and infant cries, this is a rare moment. In fact, it only happens once a day (if I’m lucky), during that one magical, mystical hour - naptime. If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. That one, sacred, religiously protected hour without demands to hear, and snacks to get, and needs to fulfill. That one, precious, perfect hour without endless questions to answer, and songs to sing, and games to play. That one single hour, when I can actually sit at my computer without little hands pulling for my attention. Me time.
Life wasn’t always so loud. Once upon a time the most anticipated part of my day was in the evening, and not naptime; closer to ten o’clock than two. Once upon a time I had down time, and free time, and a full eight hours of sleep each night, with a bonus twelve on the weekends. I once had personal space, and personal hygiene, and a chance to take a shower without carrying on a constant conversation with a two year old about what I’m doing at that exact moment. I once stayed up past midnight without paying dearly for it the next day, and stayed out past eight o’clock without throwing a little someone’s schedule off for two weeks. I once partook in adult conversations, and used words bigger than “no-no” and “potty”, and composed sentences more sophisticated than “DON’T LICK THE DOG!!” I once read Hemingway and Dickens, instead of Dr. Seuss and “The Big Red Barn.” I studied human parasitology and animal biology, instead of poopy diapers and ten little piggy toes. I memorized life cycles and scientific names, instead of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and (to my dismay) her favorite episode of “The Backyardigans.”
Once upon a time I had a life.
But now, I spend my days blowing noses and washing sticky hands, bathing babies and wiping countless dirty bottoms. Vacuuming the carpets, and brushing the dog, and washing the same dishes that I just washed yesterday. Folding the clothes (or, let’s be honest, dumping them on the bed), scrubbing the toilets, and picking up five million My Little Ponies.
I spend it listening to a sweet little voice singing nonsense songs at the top of her lungs. Listening to her endlessly entertaining chatter, with her adorable toddler twang and her own personal pronunciation and syntax. Listening to her proclaim her love for her sister, and her dog, and her toys, and ice cream, all in one breath. Listening to her tell the dog exactly how to sit, so that she can use her as a slide. Listening to her shout her excitement at the top of her lungs. Listening to sweet baby coos, and grunts, and sleepy sighs.
I spend it watching her little face fill with glee as she spins in her new twirly dress. Watching her play with her tiny zebra for hours, in her own little wonderful world of imagination. Watching her kiss her sister sweetly on the head. Watching chubby baby cheeks dimple as her little body wriggles from the pure joy packed into that first smile. Watching her fists wave and her feet kick. Watching her relax and enjoy spa (bath) time. Watching her gaze in awe at that glorious, glorious light bulb.
I now spend my days reciting the alphabet, and naming colors, and drawing shapes. I spend it counting to ten, and painting with glue, and coloring butterflies. I spend it teaching the most precious, beautiful, priceless resources that God has given us about Him, and about good, and right, and preparing them for this life that is sometimes so hard. I spend it doing the hardest job I know, and training them to know what is wrong, and what is sin, and what is repentance.
I spend it reading favorite stories over and over, singing silly songs ten times in a row, playing ring-around-the-rosy and peek-a-boo until we’re too dizzy to stand. Cleaning play-doh off the carpet for the umpteenth time, and washing shaving cream from her hair yet again, because messy play is so much more fun. I spend it laughing at her laughing at the dog licking her toes, or at me saying the wrong word, or at the tickles I can’t help but give her. I spend it realizing the true meaning of bittersweet, as I proudly watch them grow, and learn, and change, and I spend it being amazed that I love them even more than I did the day before.
I spend it rocking sweet babes to sleep, and kissing soft heads and deliciously chubby cheeks, and smelling that sweet, precious smell that is theirs, and theirs alone. I spend it holding these perfect little gifts in my arms, and aching so beautifully inside, and wishing that somehow this one moment, just this one, will never end. I spend it sneaking into their rooms to look at their innocent, sleeping faces, and wishing they’ll wake up so I can give them one more kiss.
Once upon a time, I thought I had a life. Turns out, I was just waiting for this one.