little ones

they were little once.

they were little once and target was a weekly highlight.

someone preparing a cup of coffee for me and i didn't even have to unbuckle the kids nor myself to get it was royal.

to have them all take a nap at the same time and i thought surely God loved me most those days.

a loaded diaper bag,

a clean and organized purse,

bottles and sippy cups prepared,

lights turned off,

clean and dry baby bottoms,

and ready to go was a holiday.

it happened but once a year.

my favorite time of day was a mere ten minutes of bliss in the bathroom with the door locked and the vent on high. hot water pouring into the tub and any magazine or book i could grab on my way into hiding. it didn't even matter if i'd read the book several times or the magazine was two years old. it was adult reading material and didn't include animated pictures of trains and superheroes.

my meals resembled samples at big wholesale clubs. small portions in small doses in a race through the day carting all kinds of stuff.

success with little ones was convincing myself that this to shall pass. whoever said that was just trying to be spiritual and used it out of context. i'm sure of it.

a good day included getting outside, reading to them, interacting in pretend play, and fewer temper tantrums than the day before.

by the time the last kid was asleep, i made a mad dash to the bed. being the type 'a' person that i am, i did swing by the kitchen sink to load the dirty dishes and shove all toys around the house to one pile for the next morning.  i crashed into bed, not even sure the makeup was off the face or if any made it on the face those days. the very stillness of the house lulled me to sleep.

ben and i kept opposite schedules. i let this drive a wedge between us many a day and night. about the time i was in a deep sleep, drooling on the pillow, he would come home from a late night of college ministry. and about the time he was sound asleep, it was feeding time for the youngest. and then about the time the boys were up and ready to play before the sun was up, ben was still in bed. i had early mornings and early nights. he had late mornings and late nights. we were missing each other.

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while this seemed like it lasted an eternity, the seasons of infancy, toddlerhood, and motherhood were always changing.

regretfully i lived many days focused on what i couldn't be a part of or couldn't have and giving very little gratitude. the sun seemed to brighten and warm other's days, but i wondered why i couldn't feel the warmth and embrace the days given me.

i share my story of little ones to spare you from thinking that this is it. to spare you from thinking that all of life is summed up in diapers, sleepless nights, and cutting up food into bite-sized pieces.

our marriage survived the years of little ones. we did manage to get conversations in around temper tantrums and spilled milk.

it wasn't easy. our married years, for me, were the toughest when the kids were little. i fought the urge to put my value in the hours ben spent at home, the compliments he did or didn't give me. i fought the urge to wish for more mobile days rather than days confined to nap time schedules and feeding schedules.

a wise mother once told me that the days are long, but the years are short.

oh to rock my babies again!

oh to nap when they napped!

oh to decipher their babbles!

let me challenge, you, the mother of little ones with this...

 just do 3 things a day. that's it. 1. 2. 3.

maybe it's a shower, laundry, and vacuuming the floor.

maybe it's paying a few bills, making a phone call to a friend, and a tea party with your little girl.

if you get more done. bonus. in fact, throw a party with the kids when this happens! i definitely think it calls for ice cream!

but make life with little ones easier on yourself and them. they are only little for a short while.

say this over and over...my one thing is my family. my one thing is my family. my one thing is my family.

it's in these crucial 'little one' years that you build a strong foundation. what you say to them at age 5 and how you respond to their anger at age 9 can be reflective of the foundation.

protect your marriage. parenthood is all the better for modeling to the kids when a healthy marriage is displayed. greet each other with a kiss. pray as a family before the day begins.

love the season of life you're in...even if you feel like you're on the sidelines. you'll get back in the game (whatever the game is for you) soon enough.

remember each and every day that "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."{Psalm 118.24}

celebrate the kids' lives. their milestones. their laughter. their connectedness with you, God, and the world.