The Lessons of Heartache.

Lovebug,

You taught me something this week. Actually, to be fair, you and God worked together to teach me something and I’m pretty sure the lesson was harder on me than it was on you.

You and mama are thick as thieves. We spend the majority of every day together and much to my delight, have formed a bond that is rock solid. We know each other…well. You are comfortable to show me every side of who you truly are because you trust that I will love you in all of it…and you’re right.

Well, inevitably there are times when I have to run out and you are left in the hands of someone we love and trust, who adores you. This week I had a haircut and E was set to watch you, when you announced several days prior that you weren’t interested. Your anxiety about me leaving appeared on Monday, when you brought it up, before I had even mentioned the haircut on Friday. Your introspection never ceases to amaze me and you had already been assuming that since it had been awhile since you had been left in the hands of a babysitter, it was probably coming to that time again. When I explained the plan, you erupted into tears. “No thank you Mama leave, no thank you E play with you.” Heart. Broken.

I did what I assumed I should do…reassured you that it would be fun, that you would be fine, and that it wasn’t going to happen for four more days. For the rest of the day, you double checked that it wasn’t today and you continued to make your opinions known on what was to come. This happened again on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, and on Thursday. You were so sad that my heart wanted to cancel that appointment and just stay with you and love on you all day on Friday. Luckily, my head (and your daddy) said, “No.” Sparing you this sadness would only perpetuate your separation anxiety and would not solve the problem. Still, it hurt. There is this part of the mama bear in me that wants to protect you from all hurts, keep you from being sad at all costs, and make every day of your life filled with nothing but joy. And yet, I know if I do that, I will ruin you. I will rob you of every opportunity for you to see God’s faithfulness in our struggles and deceive you into believing that life is perfect. So we pressed on.

I prayed in the days leading up, arriving at a “Please God” crescendo on Thursday night. I wanted you to feel better about it in the morning and not have any anxiety about what was happening. As is often the case, God had other plans. My prayers were answered, but not in the way I requested.

Friday morning brought anxiety and more pleading for me not to go. In your uncertainty, I saw so much of myself. Longing to be in control, fearing the unknown, desperately grasping for security. I realized then that if you turn out anything like me, this will not be the last time you fear and want to avoid an uncomfortable and uncontrollable situation. So I listened to the God voice in my heart that told me to teach you what I have learned when I feel the same way…pray. Go to Him. Take all of your irrational fear, your mess, your anxiety and lay it at God’s feet asking Him to help you through each moment and guide you through each step.

I sat you on the edge of the bed and said, “Oh buddy…I hate that you are so sad and scared about this. Do you know what Mama does when she is scared and sad about something? I talk to God. I tell Him exactly how I am feeling and ask Him to make me feel brave and strong. I ask Him to give me everything I need to make it through what I am dreading. And you know what? God listens and God helps us.” We prayed together with your little two year old legs dangling and tears filling your eyes and we ventured out to greet E. Your tears continued and you clung to me, but I showed you that I trusted God enough to answer our prayer by giving you a big hug, telling you I loved you BIG MUCH, and walking out the door. Ouch.

I prayed for you as I left. In the grand scheme of life, this is such a small, small problem, but I knew it didn’t feel small for you. I know those feelings so well and really wanted to just make them go away for you, but I knew I couldn’t. This was just the beginning of God’s work with you—just has He has shown me, He will use every fear, every anxiety, every bit of trepidation to show that He is faithful in our trials, that He can be trusted, and that even when you feel alone, you are NOT. Not EVER.

My haircut took longer than it was supposed to, but when I walked back into the house I heard the soundtrack of a happy boy. Your feet slapped the floor as you raced around the corner and proudly proclaimed, “Mama!! I was brave and I was STRONG!” showing me your muscles. Triumph. Some might say that the victory was that you were able to be happy with the babysitter while I was away. Sure. But for me, the victory was so much greater. It was one tiny example, set in your brain and rooted in your heart that when we are scared, we go to God. That doesn’t mean that He takes the scary away, but that He is faithful to give us everything we need to walk through it and that we never have to take a step without Him by our side.

As I soaked in the BIG hug you gave me, I asked God to forgive me for almost robbing you of such a HUGE lesson. I asked Him to keep me from getting in the way as He molds you and shapes you into the man He has called you to be, because one thing I know for sure…He has BIG plans for you, little one.

I love you, buddy. BIG much.

Mama

On the eve of two…

Lovebug,

You turn two tomorrow. I have been saying that to myself all day so that I can wrap my mind around it and prepare myself for the reality that you will cease to be my little one year old babe in just a few short hours. Throughout my life I have been challenged by the ends of chapters/seasons. When change is imminent, I feel myself desperately trying to savor every last moment and cherish what I feel is slipping away. So today we did all of our “usual” activities—all of the things that you love to do. Reading books, playing trucks, and of course, going to visit the ducks and fish at the pond. You had a long, playful bath and once you were in your jammies, we curled up in the chair for bedtime. I gave you extra rocking and snuggling and told you how much I loved you. As I laid you in your crib and crept out of your room, I waited for a pang to enter my stomach as I acknowledged that I had my last day with you as a one year old.

 

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t there.

 

I felt happy…grateful…and totally at peace.

 

As I thought about why this was the case, it fell on me with unbelievable clarity. I wasn’t trying to hang on to this year because I knew without question that I had savored it and enjoyed it completely.

 

Unlike with other seasons, where I felt like I didn’t appreciate them enough or knew that I took them for granted, I could walk away from this year knowing that I had left nothing on the table. By the grace of God, I remained present with you during every day—not wishing a single moment to go faster or to be altered in any way. I loved you with every cell in my body. I gave you all of my energy. I withheld nothing.

 

Even on days that were less than perfect, I never wanted to be anywhere else. I was covered up in gratitude every single day that I could be right here with you and your daddy—I wanted for nothing.

 

I enjoyed the sights, the sounds, the touches. I relished in your new achievements and marveled at your growth. I laughed with you. Held you when you cried. Made messes and cleaned them up. Some moments were glamorous and others were cringe-worthy, but I remain thankful for them all.

 

So while it is in the nature of mamas to always wish for more time, I don’t regret any of the days of this year. I didn’t squander a single one. I haven’t been perfect—I have certainly made mistakes, but taking you for granted wasn’t one of them. What an incredible gift from God. My heart is full knowing that I have loved and savored every day I have been blessed to have with you. My prayer as we walk into 2 tomorrow morning is that this time next year I can say the same thing.

 

I love you BIG MUCH.

mama

Building Blocks

A good bit of my time with W is spent playing with blocks. We count them, we identify their colors, and we build a “Super Truck” almost every day. Without question, the most popular game we play involves me building a tower as high as I can and allowing W to knock it all over. Sometimes he barely lets me stack two blocks before he pummels them to the ground, cackling in delight. On other occasions, he gives me a little time and keeps his distance, waiting for just the right moment to pounce on my creation. Every time he brings my tower to its ruin, I try to alter the design in order to make it a little stronger to withstand future blows. What starts as a flimsy edifice evolves into a fortress with a wide, strong foundation and thick walls. No matter the shape, when he drops the hammer a smile overtakes his entire face as he watches the colorful blocks tumble to the ground. To my delight, he has now added sound effects to our game, shouting “BOOM!” as they fall. Brilliant.

 

We got on a tremendous roll with this recently and I found myself building tower after tower after tower. I started wondering how many times I had rebuilt these broken structures when out of nowhere, God got my attention. I frequently feel His presence during my days with W because our life is so simple and focused on the “now.” As I stacked my millionth tower, I began thinking about how I could relate to this same kind of repetitive rebuilding in my own life.

 

I winced as I recalled such seasons of destruction…

 

carefully organized plans that crumbed before they became reality,

poor choices that led to instability and erosion,

seemingly random instances that knocked the foundation out from under me.

 

I thought back on…

 

the pain,

the desperation,

the sadness and anger,

the countless “Why” conversations with God, punctuated by groans and tears.

 

I became temporarily absorbed by the emotion of those memories and as I nursed the wounds freshly opened, He spoke to my heart.

 

He had always been there.

 

Through every trial, every devastation, every life-changing event, His Presence was not only evident, but was exactly what carried me through every difficult moment. In times when I was building something self-serving or destructive, He was the one who lovingly brought my tower down, but was always right there to help me pick up the pieces in the wake of my disaster. And just like my silly game with W, every time I rebuilt, He helped me put the pieces back differently, arranging them in a new way, each structure stronger than the one before. I used the lessons I learned to assemble the blocks of my life in such a way that reflected the wisdom of experience, the understanding of resilience, and the faithfulness of God. I look at who I am now, battle scars and all, and know that I am stronger, wiser, and more humble than I ever would have been without the intervention of God in my disasters. While I don’t necessarily want to go back and relive those moments, I am forever grateful for their impact on my life.

 

As I put the remaining blocks in place for another round, I prayed…that my little one will have the same awareness and appreciation for God’s presence in every season of building and inevitable rebuilding in his life.

Called.

I once heard it said that the greatest difference you make in the world might not be what you do, but who you raise.

While I no longer remember the context or author of this idea, the weight behind the words has remained with me for years.  When I first heard it, I was not yet a mother and still the words stunned me with their profundity.  Now with a future man in my care, the idea has an even more sobering impact.

I thought that when we first had William, we had a complete understanding of the tremendous responsibility given to us as parents.  As we crept along I-4 after leaving the hospital, we were overcome by the reality that we. were. his. parents.  We would be responsible for making sure he was safe, fed, and cared for, every hour of every day.  It was daunting and inspiring, terrifying and empowering.  We weren’t sure how to go about it but minute by minute, day by day, that is exactly what we started doing.  We woke in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing.  We obsessed over how much he was eating.  We checked the temperature of his toes constantly to make sure he wasn’t too hot or too cold.  Every doctor’s appointment served to affirm that we were actually doing ok.  He was growing.  He was healthy.  And we were relieved.

16 months into this thing, my perspective has shifted a bit.  God has taught me so much in these 500+ days of motherhood and I can say without question that I am not the same person who welcomed William into the world…hopefully, I’m better.  I have grown and changed in countless ways and am now feeling at home in this identity of Mom.  While I am much more confident in my day-to-day responsibilities as William’s mama, one thing hasn’t changed…I remain humbled and awestruck by the responsibility of raising this little boy into a man.  While the general concerns regarding his well-being haven’t lessened, the scope of what it means to raise him in my mind has broadened considerably.

I must teach him the alphabet and also teach him how to give and receive love.

I must protect him from harm but also encourage him to take risks that will enable him to grow.

I must hold his hand to show him that he is safe and cherished, but let it go when he needs to experience new things apart from me.

I must help him read.  And dance.  And swim.  And compromise.

I must instruct him on how to eat with proper table manners and also how to live a life with integrity, honor, and passion.

I must provide a safe place for him to ask questions and also show him that it’s ok to not always have the answers.

I must help him learn to walk without assistance and navigate the path between right and wrong.

I must kiss his hurts and wipe away his tears, while affirming him and letting him know that it’s ok to cry.

I must show him how to put others first, all while the world is screaming at him to only look out for number one.

I must teach him the Gospel, but even more challenging, I must live the Gospel before his eyes in the way I love.

And on…and on…and on…

A person could get downright overwhelmed and desperate in the light of this awesome responsibility.  How thankful I am that I will never walk a day of this journey alone.  When I start to feel like I can’t do something, I am reminded that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

God has called me to this position…chosen me not just to be a mama, but to be William’s mama.  With that knowledge, I can take a deep breath and rest in the fact that while I am caring for William, He will take care of me and meet all of my needs minute by minute…hour by hour…day by day.

 

His mercies are new every morning.

How thankful I am for days.

It’s an odd thought, but it hit me today with such power and relevance that I couldn’t help but express it here.  W and I had a bit of a rocky day together.  His sleep schedule was thrown off last night, which trickled into today, which wrought havoc from sun up to sunset.

We limped through this day and fought for moments of joy.   I was exhausted, he was exhausted, and frustrations loomed around every corner.  My sleepy baby is prone to falls and he had many.  Trying to keep a hand on him at all times was futile, since he is now a “walker” and “doesn’t need my help.”  When a much-needed nap turned into an hour long rebellion, my patience wore thin.  It had been a day and I was over it.  I wanted to show him the grace and love of Christ, but what he got when I lifted him from his crib was a grumpy mama.  I prayed out loud, for his sake and for mine, that God would redeem a day that had clearly derailed.

We made it.  Minute by minute, hour by hour, we trudged through our challenges and made the most of our moments.   Near the end of the day, we took a walk to the pond and chatted together while he chased the ducks.  Just before we started the journey for home, he plopped down in the grass and excitedly squealed “DOH!!” which is his word for flowers.  I laughed.

He was sitting in a patch of weeds.

I was just before redirecting him to a beautiful azalea bush just a few steps away when I saw it.  Sure enough, out of the hideous tangle of overgrown and unwanted plants, a darling little flower emerged, its petals reaching for the sun.  We sat there, my boy and I, for several minutes enjoying the flowers amid the weeds and I was reminded that while beauty is always present, sometimes we have to work a bit harder to find it.

Grateful that God had redeemed the day, I enjoyed the second half much more than the first.  Our evening wasn’t without incident–there was still a toe to be stubbed, a bath meltdown to be had, and a tumble to be taken while feeding the puppers–but I found comfort in the awareness that this too shall pass.  How incredible…an idea that is a bitter pill to swallow in moments of joy, had the capability to make my frustrating moments palatable.

Once my little lion was sleeping soundly, I plopped on the couch and exhaled.  I thought about how it wasn’t my best day, nor was it William’s, and asked God to forgive me for all of the ways I blew it.  With those thoughts buzzing in my brain, I was reminded of this scripture:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

I was so thankful that we would be able to turn the page from this day…go to sleep and wake up with a whole new opportunity to love and live the abundant life God offers.  Certain I had used up all of my allotted “mercies” for the day, I was thankful to get a whole new batch in the morning.  ;0)

Thank You God for days…for the ones that make us smile and the ones that make us cringe.  Thank you for loving us through our messes and giving us a chance every 24 hours to start again.  Thank You for days…and for the grace You pour out according to our many needs on every. single. one of them.

 

 

Rocks in the Garden

Now that William is mobile and the weather is delicious, our favorite activity is playing in the backyard.  We spend hours every day romping around in the grass, swinging in his swing, and chasing the puppers around.  William loves to explore and is fascinated by nature.  He wants to examine all of the plants up close and has the gentlest touch with even the most delicate of flowers.  He will often find leaves or petals on the ground that draw him in and he inevitably scoops them up and tucks them into his palm, treasuring them for as long as they can withstand his grasp.

While he has the run of most of the space, there are a few areas that are off limits, due to the danger factor.  I am always with him, of course, steering him in the right direction and away from peril.  With so many accessible areas, it is usually easy to distract him away from the areas I don’t want him to go near.

Usually.

The other day, he noticed the rocky terrain near the gate leading to the front yard.  Now, although he is technically mobile, he is far from “expert level.”  I still keep a hand on him when we are walking on hard surfaces and uneven ground often trips him up.  That said, the rocky area with the giant metal fence post was not a good spot for him to play.  Did I mention he was barefoot?  He kept pulling my hand in that direction and I repeatedly said, “No,” shaking my head and trying to entice him in another direction.  After multiple attempts and multiple refusals, he pitched. a. fit.  When it was clear that my mind was not going to be swayed, he dropped himself into the grass in a fit of desperation and wailed, looking over at the rocks while crocodile tears cascaded down his cheeks.  He couldn’t understand why I would rob him of the adventure he hungered for.  Why would I deny him such joy??  I told him that I understood how upsetting it is when we aren’t able to do what we want, but that I was only protecting him from harm.  I explained that I didn’t want him to get hurt and that really, the rocks weren’t that cool anyway.  In an effort to redirect his attention, I started pointing out all of the other areas brimming with adventure, but he would have none of it.  He continued to cry in the grass, lamenting the fun he was certain he was missing.

After a minute or two, I actually started to chuckle in my mind.  I glanced around and looked at everything surrounding us.  It was a gorgeous Florida day…there were butterflies fluttering about, flowers waving in the breeze, and puppy dogs chasing dragonflies.  There was a hammock beckoning for a lounger, sparkling pool water to splash in, and a shady oak tree providing the perfect respite from the sun’s rays.  All of this was accessible and my boy was pitching a fit over a handful of rocks and a metal post.  I was just about ready to roll my eyes, when it hit me like a ton of…well…rocks.

He was me.

This is exactly what God has to deal with from me and far more frequently than I would like to admit.

I started to think about how often I pout and stomp my feet when I don’t get my way.  How God has surrounded me with countless blessings and the opportunity for unending joy every day and still, I often choose not to see it.  I plead for His guidance and protection, but only really want it on my terms.  I get frustrated when opportunities pass me by, doors close, relationships end, and I don’t get to do what I want.  Rarely does it occur to me in the moment that the limitations I am facing are quite possibly the hand of God saying, “You really don’t want to go there.  Trust me.  I’m trying to keep you from getting hurt and really, it’s not that cool anyway.”  Instead of accepting His provision and giving thanks, I bemoan the unfairness of life.  While God is pointing out all of the other things around me that I could be focusing on and finding joy in, I choose instead to sit and cry.  God wants to give me the garden and I want the rocks.

The most incredible part of all of this is how God responds to my tantrums.  Instead of rolling His eyes and wandering off, He stoops down with me and lets me cry.  He gives me unending grace to feel the depth of my frustrations and even comforts me in my sadness.  He waits patiently, loves me lavishly, and when I’ve gotten it all out, He ever so gently, brings me back to my feet and guides me back into the garden.

Grace.  I don’t deserve it, and yet He gives it.  Abundantly.

With that in mind, I viewed my sweet boy with a whole new set of lenses, and felt overwhelming compassion.  Instead of rolling my eyes, I sat down in the grass with him.  I wiped away his tears, told him that I understood, and let him have his moment.  Once his frustrations were fully vented, I offered him my hand and he took it.  The garden was waiting and he was now ready to take it all in.

So together we wandered off, hand in hand, and left the rocks behind.  He quickly forgot what had transpired, but I still have not.  As we moved forward I was humbled by God’s unending grace and thanked Him for the millionth time for loving me so well, that I might shower that same love on my precious baby boy.

Word.

So thanks to a dear friend, I have started a little project for W.  She recently learned of someone who keeps a Bible for her child, writing in it, underlining in it, and journaling little notes to her boy and her plan is to give it to him when he graduates from high school.  Beautiful.  Absolutely beautiful and naturally, I had to steal the idea.

I hemmed and hawed over what kind of Bible to get for William, but ultimately decided to get him the current version of the Bible I use in my study.  That way if there were notes at the bottom that I wanted to reference, I could be sure he had the same.  I also thought it might be neat for him to see the Bible that his mama used for her study for most of her adult life.

Well, I ordered the Bible and had his name inscribed on the front.  A friend of mine picked it up and brought it over to my house last night and I was absolutely giddy about it.  Since the idea was first planted in my mind, I have been so eager to get started.  After she left, I removed the Bible from its box and could not have predicted my reaction.

I wept.

Seeing his name on the front of a Bible that has been so incredibly dear to me was enough to do me in.  I sat with it on my lap and was overcome with a tidal wave of emotion.  As I cradled this Bible that had yet to be open, I glanced over to the dog-eared, battered, well-worn and well-loved Bible of my own.  Looking at my faithful friend, I was reminded of all of the times I was so broken and hurting that I couldn’t even open the cover, but was comforted by just clutching it to my chest.  I thought about all that God has taught me through the gift of His Word and how those pages are like life to me.  I thought about how I have been changed, one word at a time and how incredibly grateful I am.  I thought about the struggles…the victories…the battles fought…the lessons learned.  Moments of joy, of fear, of sadness, of anger, and of immense gratitude flooded my mind.  With all of those memories churning in my head and my heart, I was suddenly overcome with a burning desire for my sweet boy…that He would know the depth of God’s consuming love for him and that his faith would blow mine out of the water.

I wept and I prayed and I couldn’t thank God enough for loving my sweet little man more than I ever could.  I praised Him for being so faithful to me and for giving me the unbelievable opportunity to tell my boy all about it.  I prayed with the desperation only a mother could muster that I wouldn’t blow it.  That He would fill in all of my holes, provide everything that I lack, and repair every word that I speak that comes out wrong about who He is and what He has done.  I prayed that my boy would find fulfillment in his Father and that the Bible laying in my lap would be treasured by him throughout his life…not because it was from me, but because it was from Him.

I prayed.  I wept and I prayed and I sat for the longest time thinking about the journey that is ahead for my sweet boy.  When I composed myself enough to not soak the pages with my tears, I cracked the cover and made my first entry.  I turned to Ephesians 1:18 and underlined the verse I have been praying for him every day since he was 6 months old.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

His adventure is just beginning.

As terrifying as it can be to think of all of the hurts likely ahead that I want him to avoid, I also couldn’t be more excited for him.  His adventure is just beginning and he belongs to God.  God will watch over him every moment of his life, guiding and growing him, just as He has for me and I couldn’t be more thankful.  With a profound sense of relief and overwhelming peace, I closed the Bible and put it on my nightstand, thanking God for such an incredible gift.

Close to heaven…

Today I held on to you for just a bit longer before bedtime.

We were going through our normal routines and I was soaking up the remaining drops of you for the day.  I was saying my prayers for you, as usual, but suddenly the moment shifted.  I’m not sure what snapped me out of my normal train of thought, but suddenly I realized I was in holy territory.  Snuggled up in that glider in the corner, I was completely overcome by the awareness of what an absolute treasure you are to me.  My senses went on high alert and I tried to absorb every detail I could in that time.  I listened to your sweet, shallow breaths and watched your chest rise and fall.  I smiled at your legs stretched out with your feet crossed at the ankles.  I felt your precious hand rubbing mine and your hair tickling my arm.  Exhausted from a day filled with adventures, you melted into my lap and for but a brief moment, we were one.  I could just barely make out your profile in the light being cast from the hall and it literally took my breath away.  I thanked God over and over for this day, for this gift of you, and for the divine privilege of being your mama.

You are living grace to me.

For with all of my shortcomings, all of my flaws, my mistakes, my missteps…

With all of the ways I fall short, say the wrong things, and fail to love as selflessly as I so wish I could…

With the knowledge of every bit of this, God still gave me you.

Grace.

Divine grace and something I don’t ever want to take for granted.

I didn’t deserve you, but here you are…the weight of you in my arms reminding me of how incredibly blessed I am to be a child of His and a mama of yours.

So tonight, I lingered.  I closed my eyes and held on to you for just a little bit longer.  I breathed you in and with that, drew as close to heaven as humanly possible and said thank you for the millionth time for God’s incredible gift of you to me.

A trip to crazytown.

Sooo, my sweet little man has been teething and the discomfort has wrought havoc on his sleep.  He is waking more frequently right now and is also rising well before dawn.  Sweet.

A few mornings ago, he woke up just after 5 am and was ready to start the day.  We waited to see if it was just a fleeting desire, but when it was clear that he would not be going back to sleep, we developed a game plan.    Gilbert went in, bundled him up, and popped him in the stroller.  I made myself a nice large mug of coffee and decided to look on the bright side of our early morning…it was chilly outside, I had yummy coffee, and if all worked out we would get to see a beautiful sunrise!

Once W was settled, we took off around the neighborhood.  The crisp air invigorated me and I took the opportunity to pray and enjoy the quiet morning.  William nestled in and relaxed as we walked our familiar route in an unfamiliar time.  It seemed that this was the perfect solution to his fussy wake up and I was just about to pat us on the back for our brilliant thinking until…yes until.  Such power in a single word.  As soon as one hears/reads/utters the word “until” it becomes instantly apparent that something is about to change…and in this case, not for the better.

The loop around our neighborhood is just over a mile.  When we were as close to the halfway point as possible, William lost it.  I mean, absolutely positively lost. his. mind.  There were tears, there were screams, and my feeble attempts to reign him back in were fruitless.  The serene setting I had only moments before embraced now turned into a wicked nightmare.  The quiet only magnified the piercing shrieks and the once friendly looking houses were now certainly filled with angry, judgmental neighbors with their phones in hand calling DCF.

I sang, I danced, I pulled out every toy I had stowed away, and there was absolutely no effect.  In fact, at certain points my antics seemed only to add fuel to the fire, with his cries reaching the upper register of a banshee.  When it became apparent that my usual tricks were not going to work this time around, I swiftly popped him out of the stroller.  With his screams still slicing through the darkness, I threw my coffee into the seat of the stroller and started hauling tail toward home.  With W still crying in my arms, I started singing “The Mexican Hat Dance”–our go to meltdown tune since he was a newborn.  This turned down the volume, but didn’t eliminate the noise entirely.  With only a single bullet left in my gun, I drew out the iPhone and loaded the “Rattle” app as quickly as I could.  Magic: crying stopped.  Being carried, sung to, and entertained with technology was the solution I sought.  Any attempt to withdraw any portion of this twisted trifecta resulted in more tears.

And so we motored on.  I was as happy as a mama could be walking with a baby in one hand, simultaneously pushing a stroller and engaging an app making farm animal noises with the other, while singing “The Mexican Hat Dance”…all before dawn.

As we rounded the bend for home, we passed a jogger taking full advantage of the cool, peaceful morning.  I cringed as we neared this unsuspecting person, who until this point had no doubt been living under the blissful assumption that the neighborhood was free of crazies.  Not the case.  I could only imagine how ridiculous I must look to someone outside the insane world of babies.  I had to appear absolutely certifiable.

When our eyes met however, I found something I wasn’t expecting…familiarity.  On this woman’s face, I saw the unmistakable acknowledgment of someone who knew exactly what I was enduring.  A fellow mama in a different season, she recognized my world and gave me the knowing smile that said, “Don’t sweat it…I have been. there.”  I could almost see the battle scars on her face as she shook her head and closed her eyes, no doubt recalling countless moments of her own insanity and offering as much compassion and empathy as she could.

I smiled the rest of the way home.  Motherhood is such an incredibly cool club and I am beyond blessed to be a part of it.  There are highs and lows, victories and challenges, and when I find myself crossing the border into crazytown, it helps to know I’m not alone.  ;0)