My first clue came on that super-hot second to last day of July 2015. A thought came into my head suddenly and just as strong. I must have peach ice cream. And I must have it now.
It was odd and unfamiliar. My son was then barely 2. I put the possibility out of my mind. Because it couldn’t be. It was crazy to even think about.
I think God read my thoughts and laughed at me. Like the quote from one of my favorite movies Bella (2006) “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
Lord, my plan is to not be a pregnant mama of a toddler.
However…my suspicion on that peach ice cream day led to confirmation 3 days later. I could hardly explain the emotions I felt. Shock, disbelief, joy…there was a little bit of despair and resentment in there too, if I’m being honest.
I had no idea how I would make it through not only the pregnancy, but also the toddler stage for both children. Simultaneously. It boggled my brain.
(Here I hear the maternal voice of Marilla Cuthbert saying, “If you are going to borrow trouble, borrow it from a handier home!”) Meaning, don’t sweat the future there Rachel. Take it one step at a time. And although I’m a worrier, I did my best.
But being honest…carpe diem, as a mother isn’t all that easy. But day after day, amid many mistakes, we try our bestest.
Is it perfectly done? No. Such things do not exist.
What does exist is grace. More grace than you could paint the sky with. More grace than drops in the ocean. I don’t know about you but I need that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sobbed in prayer over my failings as a mother and I felt the sweet, sweet touch of grace from my Heavenly Father.
And although it hardly makes sense and nearly overwhelms me, I am so thankful for God’s grace.
When I got my hair cut not long ago, my hairdresser told me that she thought her one baby was all she could handle. And oh how I understand! “I thought that too. But you adapt.” And you just do. Your heart opens up in ways you never thought possible. Some days will be dark. And some will be so bright.
Being a parent will never be a walk in the park. But that’s the thing about parks. They have sunshine and shadows.
Nowadays I’m on the other side. The baby that my belly held is now no longer a baby but a toddler. And my toddler very soon will leave behind toddlerhood forever.
When I look back on some of those days, I remember moments that make me smile.
Here are a few:
When my husband was visiting his brother out of state for 3 days my son, newborn daughter and I stayed home. I vividly remember trying to give my grubby son a bath while trying to feed my daughter. I struggled because she wanted to sit down and eat for hours regardless of whatever I was doing at the time. I laugh about it now but at the time I remember lots of tears were shed.
One day I decided it would be a good idea to take the kids on a long walk. My daughter was 4 or so months old. My son was about to turn 3. We walked for about 2 miles I think. I bribed my son with lots and lots of chocolate milk, which was spilled everywhere. My daughter was in my ergo baby carrier, so I got very sweaty (it was summer at the time). I felt bad because I couldn’t carry J, who got very tired. But once in the car, they cooled off and took a long nap. We survived!
My last shared memory is nothing too remarkable but the simplicity and the sweetness of it still stays with me. Last spring my daughter was so tiny and light. I carried her everywhere because she slept often. With just as much regularity, my son was a restless warrior who needed to wiggle and run. Almost daily, I took them both outside for walks. L in my arms sheltered by a blanket. J beside me, shouting and running, digging and exploring till his heart’s content.
There can be so many difficulties at this stage of life. But if you look hard enough, you can see the sweetness buried ever so slightly in the chaos, the noise, the dirt. Parenting is beautiful. And so are you, my friend! If you feel in despair as a pregnant mama of a toddler, or overwhelmed with your young brood, take heart. There is grace, and there is hope. ❤