Sunday morning…sun waking up. Quiet. I prep my coffee and then get the baby up to nurse. I’m surprised I haven’t heard my intrepid toddler yet, but savor the cup of coffee with just me and the littlest before church. I hear my daughter just as the baby finishes up, I put him down and go to wake my daughter. I open the door, expecting to see her smiling face and have some special mommy and Layla time before we go and rejoin her brother, who is kicking away on the play mat in the living room, but instead her smile is surrounded by marker: bright teal, permanent marker.
Actually her face and hands are covered in marker too. Her little white rocking chair an heirloom gift from her grandparents has been scribbled all over. Her Bitty Baby Cece has marker all over her face, arms, eyes, legs, belly.
I gasp. Tears pool in my eyes.
“What are you doing??? How–how did this happen?” I quickly snatch the open sharpie out of her hand.
“I coloring, mommy…” her voice falters.
“No-no!! We color on paper! Not on our dolls! Not on our chairs! Layla this is VERY BAD.”
Let’s just say that we didn’t make it to church. Mommy needed a break. Layla needed a break. We sat on the couch and watched Frozen. I was too angry to punish her so I just sat with her. I did learn (thanks to google) that my daughter was not the first child to color on her very expensive American Girl doll–if you ever need the secret of getting sharpie off your doll, I’m your girl.
Thursday afternoon…both kiddos napping peacefully. I sit down and open my computer, waiting for blog post inspiration to strike me (I normally wait around on Facebook or Pinterest ;)) and then I hear a little voice.
“Mama! Mama! Come here!”
I enter her room and look down at my daughter playing with leggos (how do I not hear this?).
I look around. There is poop everywhere. The carpet, her sheepskin rug, her dress, a random plop in the closet.
“Whaaaaat??? How? How-did this happen? What. What?” *gagging noises*
I spend the next half hour plus, getting her in the shower, scraping poop off places, and googling how to clean ground in poop off carpet. By the by, if you need to know how to clean ground in poop off the carpet–I’m your girl too!
Mommin’ ain’t easy, ya’ll.
As I was exchanging preschool/toddler girl war stories with my sister-in-law who had just had a super-special sister hair cutting experience at her house we encouraged/cried/comforted each other with these truths.
- Someday we will laugh. We will. I’m totally ready for my mom stand-up comedy routine with these bits. It’s not funny to ME now, but it is a little funny.
- People that say “Cherish these days” aren’t talking about the day you are scrubbing poop off carpet while intermittently gagging. Or the day you almost lost your shiz on your toddler over a baby doll. A baby doll.
- It’s just stuff. Just a chair. Just carpet. It will all get broken, lost, destroyed someday. The thing that is eternal is my child’s soul. Our relationship will last forever. Is it worth sacrificing for a chair? A doll? Bodily fluid?
“Let your conversation always be full of GRACE, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6
I don’t always have the answer for my little girl. And I’m not always full of grace, sometimes I’m full of impatience and frustration for her silliness, childishness, and imperfections. I have to breathe. I have to inhale the grace so I can exhale it to her. Otherwise I will deflate her joy and the beauty of her childhood. The truth is having a child is messy. The amount of bodily fluid is real. And I know I’m not the only one…I have friends who have had their carpets painted, makeup laid waste to, holes dug all over their yard, and I even know one woman, who on a return to her house found her children inches deep in water enjoying a water fight with the sprayer on the kitchen sink. (Spoiler alert: that woman was my mom. Those crazy kids were me and my brothers.)
If you want a neat, orderly, convenient life-don’t have kids. If you’re cool with muddy pants, lost sleep, colored on dolls, and holding loosely to “precious” things you’re in the right place.
I’ve recently been writing out the book of Ephesians. It’s been refreshing to meditate on this familiar book and it’s theme of GRACE. For better or for worse the way I love my daughter will influence the way she understands God’s love for her. And I’m wanting to channel this kind of love.
“To the praise of His glorious grace, in which he has blessed us in the Beloved, in him we have redemption through his blood the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished on us, in all wisdom and insight.” Ephesians 1:7-8
Forgiveness. Lavish grace.
In the face of poop and markers.
That’s some Jesus kind of stuff, people. Don’t think what you’re doing doesn’t matter, mama. You matter. You are doing hard and holy things with every hug, every make-believe game, every moment of forgiveness, every mess made right.
“Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” -Andy Stanley