February 19, 2004
What a fun and could-have-been-stressful-but-wasn’t morning it has been. I woke to find my husband next to me, my babies still sleeping, and my house still sparkling from the scrubbing I gave it a few days ago. I enjoyed a wonderful bowl of Raisin Bran and a piece of wheat toast and felt healthy (a rare moment) and satisfied all at the same time. The sun rose brilliantly this morning and made everything look like June. Because Joshy had a bad messy diaper during the night, and the odor really permeated itself into his room, I cracked his window after he woke up. Later I found that spring had snuck in through his open window and the entire upstairs smelled like it. I could hear birds chirping and twittering and I opened the window completely.
I was feeling so spring-like that I selected a pair of jean capris (they have a zipper and a button and actually still fit over my expanding middle) and a cotton shirt to wear for the day. Feeling especially adventurous I decided to take a shower. I used to sit Brenna immobile and content in front of Teletubbies so that I could sneak into the shower every morning. But then she learned to crawl, and walk, and climb, and then little brother arrived. It’s been over a year since I’ve enjoyed a shower every morning as I used to so I was especially excited and a little bit nervous as I got ready.
I gave the kids small bowls of dry cereal and set them in front of Tarzan, Brenna’s current favorite, somewhat satisfied that they’d sit still for a few minutes at least. I took one last peak down at the kids (they were happily dumping cheerios over each other’s heads) before hopping into the shower.
Everything smelled so good and so fresh, and it felt so nice to shower at a normal time of day, rather than at 1:00 during naptime or 8:00 after the kids were in bed. I enjoyed a very quick, but very nice shower.
As I stepped out and toweled off, I was aware of a strange, consuming silence that filled the air. Silence is said to be golden, but it’s anything but that when two unsupervised and energetic toddlers are “playing” together. The silence was intense and every so often it was punctuated by delighted giggles. I slid into my clothes as fast as I could and hurried downstairs.
There they were, my two smiling cherubs, with an entire box of markers strewn about them on the floor and a rainbow of artistic squiggles and swirls covering both the linoleum and Joshua. So many thoughts entered my brain at all once. This was an obvious no-no and one that we’d discussed before, but how could I scold such small children, only 23 and 11 months? I was the parent here, I’d left them alone, and I should have long ago moved the markers to a place where Brenna couldn’t reach them.
I stood over them, both so happy, and had to ask, “Brenna, where do we color?” Happily she sang out, “On the paper, on the paper! We color on the paper!” as she squiggled a red marker along the linoleum. There was obviously some lack of understanding as to what the term “on paper” actually meant, and I had to smile.
They were both just so cute. Brenna singing brightly, a little kitchen floor Picasso, and Joshy delighted as he squeezed markers in his hands and clapped them gleefully together. It must be really fun to be little with your best friend, a box of markers, and an entire floor to decorate. It must be exciting to see those bright swirling colors as they magically appear. It must be fun to be so happy and so innocent and so young. I snapped a picture of them with their markers and colorful drawings, wanting to always remember them in their innocence and their excitement as they discovered something new in the world.
I explained again that we can’t color on the floor and moved all markers, colored pencils, and pens out of the roll-top desk and into the closet. I scrubbed with a little Windex and Brenna’s artwork came up easily. Encouraged by that and still feeling refreshed from my shower, I dressed the kids for the first time in over a week and bundled them into their stroller. They’ve been so sick recently that this was the first time we’d left the house in weeks for anything other than a trip to the hospital or the pediatrician.
Our walk was wonderful. The air smelled so good, the sun was warm, and the grass was a moist yellow-green color. Everything seemed so serene and yet so alive at the same time. The kids were absolutely still, settling back to enjoy the morning as much as I was. We only walked for thirty minutes or so, but it was a fabulous mini-vacation.
At home I fixed the kids jam sandwiches, one of the few things they’re willing to eat lately. They both not only finished their half-sandwiches but also nibbled on apple slices and cheese afterwards. It encouraged me and made me wonder if they’re finally feeling just a bit better.
I put them both down for naps and the house has been silent ever since. This is the kind of silence that truly is golden, the kind that allows a busy mom to think about something beyond the next round of diaper changes. Walking always makes me grateful. I think it’s pushing a stroller with Brenna and Joshy in it, a stroller full of the reason for everything I do. Brenna and Joshua remind me of hopes and dreams, of my triumphs and shortcomings, of my memories and my future. They are my entire world, Brenna and Joshy. They are the light of my days. They make me so happy. In their innocent sweetness, and in their love of life, they constantly teach me and strengthen me and give more to me than I ever give to them.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever, motherhood is what I was meant to do. I have never found greater joy than this, and I have never felt the spirit as sweetly as I do now. These vibrant, noble, and sacred spirits have been entrusted to me, in my weakness and in my mortality. That’s why I am completely dependant upon the Lord. Because I couldn’t do any of this without Him, and because these precious children were His before they were mine. I will never be afraid to have children, or even to lose them. The Lord knows best and He will always guide me if I ask, especially as I raise these little ones to Him. I am filled with an infinite love and gratitude, for a husband so sweet and babies so precious, for a new little spirit joining us soon, and most of all for a Father in Heaven that never leaves me and always loves me, and blesses me with valiant spirits direct from His presence.
I smile at my life, at the diaper changes and the markers on the floor and at the beautiful babies that fill up my days. I smile at the hectic moments and the sweet ones that always follow. I smile at the slobbery kisses and the goofy giggles and the sticky hands. I smile as I watch them grow, remembering what they were and dreaming of what they will be, and marveling at what they are now.