One thing I try to do all the time with my little girls is to be connected. To me, this means that I am engaging in a world with them constantly, and not just living my life along side theirs. I ask myself often if I have felt connected to each one today, if I know what’s going on in their little minds at any given time, and if I am truly living this life with them. Our life.
I have learned that as they get older, I have to put in more effort sometimes and be more intentional about connecting with them – asking them about their day, telling them about mine, sharing in what they love and allowing them to share in what I do. But even the littlest one gets my goat some days and I have to remember to surrender to the incessant whining and neediness, let go of my needs and wants (five minutes of silence to myself would be great), and come to her level and just be there with her. Not living my life over her head. In my 7 years of mothering, I have found this to be a remedy for me. When I feel the need to escape, what I usually need to do is submerge.
And I don’t mean I don’t ever need a minute to myself. “Mom timeouts” frequent in the walls of this home and my kids hear a lot of “I really just can’t. I can’t take one more tattle.” or “Mama needs a serious quiet minute!”, but those minutes are usually followed up by making forts in the living room, or laying on the floor of their messy bedroom giggling with them instead of hassling them about it, or wrapping the toddler up in my arms where she always wants to be and walking her around to whatever her little fingers point at. Connection.
We are a family who argues, and has some days where we are breaking up more fights than we are twirling around the living room, and where mom loses her patience, and dad is called at work one too many times in the day… I like to think we are exactly like every other family in this way. But to sum us up as only these things would be grossly unfair. We are also a family who is extended God’s grace daily, as we extend grace to each other multiple times a day. We wear each fight and argument resolved as a merit badge for a closer relationship. We follow up each bad day with a promise to do better tomorrow (always!). We love each other so so so much more than we annoy one another. We are a family who is living a life together, in close quarters, with all the time together we can muster, and our hearts and souls and lives are deeply rooted in one another, and deeply connected to each other.
I will not be defined by my bad days, and I will not answer to the mom guilt that will surely knock at my heart’s door. I will not expect perfection from my mothering ways, and I will extend myself grace over and over and over and over again as long as these little souls are mine. But as these fleeting years of having them under my roof go by, I deeply hope that I can stay connected with them, that I can show them how much they matter to me and how much I care for them. I hope that my heart will always feel the joy and pains their hearts feel. Because they are mine and I am absolutely, unequivocally theirs.