I’m a lover of the little years. I know there’s a book about that already, which is sort of a shame because I wish I could have written that, but I promise I’m not stealing the title; I’m just making a general statement about me.
A snippet of my life, in a day:
I get to work, and as I walk in the door I hear from the next room, “Hi!! Hi!!!” And I sometimes have to kick myself into gear (pep talks are normal) to say, “Hi, E!” Sometimes I fix breakfast, sometimes breakfast has already been had, sometimes she’s in the middle of it. I’m usually handed an infant. And I sit down and get the low-down on how the night was, and then begin the day with the kiddos. E (age 2) and I have conversations at the beginning of our day that go a lot like this:
E: KK, muk
me: You want some milk?
E: uh huh
(I poor the milk.)
E: Baby? Eat?
me: Yes, Baby wants to eat. I’m going to feed her, I just have to get her bottle ready.
E: Muk? Boob?
me: Yeah, Baby eats milk from Mommy’s boob.
E: (holding a bite of egg out on a fork, towards me and Baby) “Baby! Eat?”
me: No, Baby only drinks Mommy’s milk. But E eats eggs, right? Because you’re a big girl and you have teeth!
It’s really entertaining. Moving on through the morning…I change some diapers, I wash a bottle. E wants to help wash the bottles so she pulls a chair up and I give her a cup and a plate and a fork to wash. I sit down to have a cup of tea (made by E, served in her pretend tea set). I put Baby on the floor for some tummy time; E says, “Tum tie?” And I say, “Yes, Baby’s going to have some tummy time.” She says, “Me?” And I say, “Sure, you can have some tummy time, too.” And she lies down next to Baby. I put Baby down for a nap, I get E dressed, we paint. We read books, I do some laundry. E puts the wet clothes in the dryer for me. We listen to music. We play with beads. We have temper tantrums. E tries to use the big girl potty. I slump against the bathroom door as I wait for her to actually GO. I practice holding in my gag reflex as I dump the training potty’s contents into the big potty to be flushed.
Here’s why the little years are the best days: You have the admiration and love of a toddler, who depends greatly on you for survival, and loves you with her whole heart. You have the opportunity to tell her about life. What is fun to you? Share it with her. Really she just wants to see you be happy. She loves joining in on things that are fun to you. And it’s hard. There are days where I just say out loud, “Lord, help us!!!” And I am literally begging God to give me patience and grace for the moment. There are times when I’m tired and look at the closed eyes and the wide open, screaming mouth of a newborn and I can’t think straight. There are lots of times when I get home and wish that I could go exercise because I know that is what my body needed 6 hours ago, but I’ve missed the window and I’m already energy-deficient and can’t even get off the couch to put my tennis shoes on. There are times when I grieve the fact that I am like a single parent…no life partner to love these kids with me. And then I feel weird because THESE AREN’T EVEN MY KIDS. They aren’t my full responsibility. They already have a mom and dad, and grandparents and family and I am part of a village. But for hours and hours its me and them.
I love the moments when I get to sing “Jesus Loves Me” to E before nap time because I am reminded that Jesus loves ME. Jesus doesn’t just love E and Baby, Jesus loves KK. This last year of living has been life-changing for me. I’ve struggled, I’ve been hurt, I’ve transitioned, I’ve lost and grieved, and I’ve been so thankful for how I’ve seen my Heavenly Father care for me, how I’ve seen Him rescue me. And part of the way he has shown that to me is through the respect and trust of these little ones, and the conversations that I get to have with them about trust and obedience, and love in action.