Sometimes I get discouraged in this motherhood. I sleep very little. Sickness sets in. The television stays on too long. The simple task of sitting at a table together and eating a meal becomes nigh impossible. Afternoon naps? What are those? Cleaning up potty "accidents" becomes tiresome. The laundry overflows. I get on the computer to do something important but can't for the life of me remember what it was. I regret my tone of voice.
And yet, despite all those things (which all happen to be ongoing at this moment), my boys are growing up around me. And there are little signs of grace. Those moments that make you laugh or realize that God is working in their lives in unexpected ways.
On Sunday morning, after Jacob woke me up to this quip: "Mommy, your breath smells. Come see the card I made you! In the kitchen!" He returned with only an open glue stick. Uh-oh. I bolted for the den. There was a card his dad had helped him make the day before. He is his mother's child because IT WASN'T QUITE FINISHED. Not yet. It wasn't perfect. He needed to "add some more shapes." So, I helped him. At a bleary 6:30 a.m. on Mother's Day I supervised the gluing of pieces of yellow construction paper to my very own card. There. All done! And we proudly displayed it next to a vase full of roses and daisies. Some of the shapes were too big and weren't glued down so we folded them. "A pop-up card!"
Before we left for church, Ethan brought me a pair of sandals. This is his latest gift, the shoe-bringing. He understands simple and some complex commands for a fifteen-month old, but this part of the getting-out-the-door process doesn't need one. At all times of day he will surprise me with offerings of my discarded footwear or Jacob's rain boots or Gaines' tennis shoes. When someone even whispers the word "outside," there goes Ethan toddling through the house, returning with his little white loafers. He sits, obediently, with a large grin and a giggle waiting for you to put them on. He claps, expectantly. And as soon as you fasten the straps, he bolts for the door. More than just the shoes themselves, they are his key to exploring the world outside. If only I could learn from his pleasure in small things. I love that boy.
At the restaurant on Mother's Day, we came prepared with a backpack full of playthings, including a small wallet for Jacob that I picked up at an outlet last month. We filled it with pretend cards decorated with stickers and one lone American Express fake card received with the junk mail. He found it while we were waiting to be seated and decided that HE was going to pay for dinner. He called it his "honey-dollar bill." (Where has he heard about a $100 bill? Oh, wait, TV.) He proudly showed it to the hostess, asking her to take it. We told him to wait until after the meal, and thought he had forgotten. He didn't. He was crestfallen when the waitress took Daddy's Visa instead and when the card holder returned, he put his card inside. "When is she coming back?" he asked. My little gentleman, so chivalrous. Don't worry. One day, dear boy, you will be old enough to buy my lunch. Just not yet.
Tonight, as I was putting Jacob to bed, bringing him a cup of water despite our previous forbidding of a nighttime drink, I was hoping to find him asleep. He's been cranky and sick and desperately needs the rest since naps are non-existent right now. Some nights it is so easy and other times he stalls. He often wants me to lie down with him. "Sleep with me! Not somebody small, like Ethan. I want somebody big!" Neither imaginary friends not stuffed animals will do. When I entered his room tonight, I discovered him drawing on a MagnaDoodle. "Look, Mommy!" And he had created the most amazing collection of circles and dots and lines. "They are faces!" (They really were wonderful faces. I took a picture of it before it got erased. To be uploaded...eventually.) And then the kicker, after handing me his drawing: "One of them is sad because he misses his Momma." Oh, my. I love that boy.