She was carrying a baby and she had a toddler clinging onto her leg in a state of frantic bawling. I’m not talking whimpering, I’m talking howling. The mother couldn’t move. Yet there was something in her face that spoke to me. Sure, she was frazzled and frustrated. She had a little ball of fury hanging on her leg for crying out loud. But there was also something strangely calm about her in the midst of that little hurricane of emotion. She was being a “durable object” (I talked about that back HERE) as her toddler let out some frustration. And I felt such a swell of love for motherhood right at that moment. I know, weird time to think motherhood is grand, but hear me out.
As a fellow mother who has been through that exact scene before, I knew there wasn’t a thing I could do. If I tried to comfort that toddler the wails were sure to become mightier. And the mother was much too in-the-zone to let me sweep away that baby to give her room to calm the toddler.
It made me wonder. How patient was I in the throes of the trenches? How are my trenches different now? I certainly have them, but they have morphed into something oh so different, lassoing teenage hormones, helping maneuver through tough choices, training without pushing, guiding without nagging, praying for help along the way in such a different way than I did back then.
Would I do it differently if I had it to do over again?
Both mothers made me kind of stop in my tracks and think about stages of motherhood. Whatever part we are in, are we making the most of it? If that grandma could pull me aside and give me advice or a pep talk from her vantage point on the motherhood spectrum what would she say? I’m guessing she’d probably tell me to slow down (something that’s always a struggle for me). To go on walks more with a child at my side. Put my new-fangled phone down more often and let things slide? Would she tell me all my worries and striving to re-center would be worth it in the end?
I bet she would.
I’m going to go ahead and take the advice I imagine she’d give and live it up to the best of my abilities at this stage right here right now.
My sisters and I laugh when we get together because one of them always says, every time, “my kids are in the best stage!” I feel the same way about my own kids. Just when I think one stage is the very best it can get, the next gets even better (who knew having a missionary could be so dang fun? more on that later…and older kids who can discuss the world…I talked more about “stages from baby to teens” back HERE). I hope I can always make the motherhood part the “best stage” too. It’s so interesting how motherhood shifts and changes over the years. How I hope I can always recognize the best parts of this grand journey along the way.