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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Letter To My Daughters

Dear E & H,

It's late in the afternoon on St Patty's Day and I've been puttering around the house, hearing so many people's plans and fun times for this day and it got me to thinking...

Your dad and I are so happy we had you both and your brothers. We would not change or trade even one thing if we could. You six are easily the most satisfying and wonderful things on this earth to us.

However, I want to write this down while it's fresh in my mind and I hope that even as time goes by and the freshness of these feelings fades, I'll be able to recall exactly how I feel today.

I love watching you play and hearing your laugh. I know these times will go by so quickly--and already have. I love the sound of your voice and when you run to share something that is so very important to you--like when you collected enough crystals in the My Little Pony game to "buy" a Pinkie Pie or when something on La La Loopsie made you laugh, or hearing your laughter while you're playing who knows what with your brothers and laughing at some private joke between the 6 of you....

I lock these things away in my heart.

But I also want to bottle this feeling...what it's like to be caught in between loving you so much it hurts and wanting desperately to reclaim a little of what makes me ME.

I love being Mommy.

I cherish that title. With all that is in me I cherish it.

But I also realize that to be a good mom, I need to also be a good wife and individual.

That means time away from you and your siblings so that I can recharge and refresh.

So that I can reconnect with your dad and remember what we like about each other, and maybe discover some new things.

It means that sometimes I need to carve time out to be a little selfish...which isn't really selfish at all, but enables me to be more present when I am with you and more engaged when we're together.

I want to remember this season in my life--the good and the bad--so that I can really be there for you both when and if you decide to have children of your own one day.

I have long said I am waiting for my "June" (as in Cleaver) to sweep in and tell me to put my feet up or go get coffee while she washes my dishes, folds my laundry, feeds you dinner, plays with you, and gives me some much needed time to myself--away from the demands that my beautiful babies place on me. Demands that are a blessing and not a burden, for sure, but still demands.

And while there have been times here and there where that type of scenario has happened, it's few and far between.

So, I hope one day, when you're at the middle of an already long day, feeling absolutely blessed, yet undeniably overwhelmed and exhausted, both of you and I will remember what I've written here. I hope what you'll both take from this is that this is just a season. It will pass. And you will miss these times. Babies are demanding and take lots of time and work. But it's fleeting. You will undoubtedly feel guilty for wanting to close yourself in a closet at best, or--worse--run away when the pressures seem too much.

But don't beat up on yourself. It's normal. You are one person and you only have so much to give. You do your very best to be patient when that little one interrupts you for the 600th time to share with you what they've built on Mine Craft. Or to smile when they explain--in great, painstaking detail--what they have drawn. And you'll just have to swallow your pride when they cry that you never do anything "fun" and that they want a new toy or game because they're bored with what they have. You know you do what you can and give as much as you have to give.

Don't feel weak when your shoulders slump and you can't hold back the tears and the stress of being the sole human being who can answer their every need gets to be too much. Don't come down too hard on yourself when you just want 5 minutes alone and you don't run the first time you hear "MOM!"

Give yourself permission to be lax in your day-to-day chores and responsibilities on occasion. Your house won't always be spotless. Heck...it won't always be habitable...but it is still your little ones' favorite place on this earth. And do you know why? Because you're there.

And try not to get too annoyed when a well-meaning individual tells you to make sure you sit down and relax once in a while...when you can't seem to sit down to pee without commotion. They truly mean well. They don't understand that you are constantly in demand for one thing or another; to get a snack, to tie a shoe, to prepare a meal, to change a diaper, to kiss a boo boo, to referee a fight, to fix a toy, to fold the laundry, to put a baby in bed, to wash the dishes, to pay a bill, to make a phone call...your list is never ending.

I know that.

And try to forgive those moms whose babies are grown and when they share their plans for the day and don't swoop in to give you a break. It's not their fault. They may have forgotten the season you're in. They may consider that they've paid their dues and survived and so will you.

Do your best to not resent when you are face down on the living room sofa, sicker than a dog, with babies hanging off chandeliers and your 7 year old is getting everyone's dinner...cereal...and most of it is landing in the bowls...and the most you get is a "feel better soon" wish from others.

And as I sit here, with tears streaming down my face, I am trying to tell myself all of this too.

I know this is a season. And I know it will pass.

But as I cling to this very moment in time, hoping and praying that time will stop so you won't grow older and I can feel your sweet breath on my cheek and hear your soft voice in my ear for always, I am also yearning for the day when I can reunite with that woman deep inside me.

It's a bitter battle. And I pray that I will help you remember you're not a "bad" mom because you want to reclaim a little of your independence. You're not depriving your kids for wanting time to yourself and alone with your husband. You're not an awful mother when you get frustrated at the barrage of questions throughout your day.

And--most of all--I hope I swoop in to be your June.

And if I get to that place where I forget what it's like, please remind me of this letter.

I want to be to you what I have always wanted for myself.

Your support. Your cheerleader. Your friend.

And at times, your cook, nanny, housekeeper, and therapist. ;)

I pray I'll have presence of mind to call you regularly and ask how your day is...and then really listen as you lament the challenges of your day.

I pray I won't disregard your struggles or minimize your stress. I hope to remember how all consuming this time in your life is.

I so hope to be ready to drop everything to come to you when I hear the strain in your voice and hear you say, "I'm gonna lose it today."

And I'll remember what that's like.

I'll remember how something as silly as a spilled cup of juice can send you over the edge...into a raving lunatic on the verge of a melt down.

I hope I jump in my car, on a plane, or whatever it will take to get to you, to be there.

To give you a break. To play with my grand babies. To remind you that you are a great mother. To tell you I love you. And to give you some much needed time alone and with your husband.

I am committing to you now to be that person for both of you; your "June".

I love you both. More than I can ever put into words.

And now...back to cleaning who knows what off the kitchen floor and answering for the tenth time what's for dinner.




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