Stop growing!!!

Sometimes, when my daughter looks at me, I swear I can see what she’s going to look like as a teenager.  The pouty lip, the attitude in the hips, the slight squint in her eyes that says, “I totally know more than you.”  And I fall in love with her all over again.

But a million questions fill my head…what WILL you be like as a teenager?  Will we be close?  Will you hate me for not letting you wear makeup till your 13?  Will you think my jeans are old-fashioned and my hair out-of-date?  Will you be embarrassed to hug me in front of your friends?  Will we have special dates together, just me and you….and more importantly, will you WANT to?  Will we talk about boys and love and God and faith?  Will I be worthy to have you as a daughter?

I cannot know the future.  Which is a good thing, I’m sure.  Because it forces me to take each day, moment by moment, relishing all the tantrums, giggles,  eye-rolling, and hand-holding.  And although I’m anxious to see what she will look like, act like, talk like, and think like, I can still take her in my arms every day and whisper into her hair, “O, my love….stay just the way you are and you’ll be just fine.”

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My little relentless alarms

This morning I had fleeting sentiments of the days before children….

Ah, those whimsical day where if I stayed up late, I could sleep in, snuggle my husband, or push snooze on the alarm.   Where the sheets smelled of fresh linen instead of baby spit-up, and where sometimes my wake up call was simply the sun streaming through the window.

But with two little ones, those days are now just passing memories.  I’m awakened every day, Sunday through Saturday by 6am  (7 is now considered sleeping in).  My little relentless alarms.  No more weekends, no more lazy vacation days.  Either my baby girl is crying to be fed, or my almost 3 yr old is wearing her little plastic heels clip, clop, clip, clop all over her wooden floors, singing at the top of her voice “HOW MUCH IS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW…”

And some mornings, when I wish I could roll over and go back to the sweet dream I was having about splurge shopping, I force myself to think of those days before children…not the beautiful sleep I did have, but the things I didn’t have.   Things like early morning giggles, or warm little bodies to hug, or the smell of Honey Nut Cheerios with bananas.   And I’m reminded that there really is no better way to greet the morning than with a loud, “MOMMY! I AWAKE!”

My hands hurt

My hands hurt,

ache,

from holding on so long.

Please. Please

pry through these

stiff fingers

and take it.

I cannot give,

my grip it stays.

I’ve locked my hold so tight

that, though give be my desire,

I cannot crack this fist of mine;

it’s plastered in my palm,

etched in by my nails.

I cannot dig it out.

Please.  Please

take it.

I’m tired.

And my hands hurt.

Rain

Maybe the raindrops

are God’s tears.

Maybe the clouds

are the accumulation of His

brow-furrowed

fist-clenched

heart-broken

remembrances of the

sin that severs us strangers.

Maybe the storm

is is his passion for his children.

He sees their scars;

he heeds their husky sobs,

and the skies open

to spill His aching heart.

Beautiful

can you cement my eyes?

make me a sleeping beauty and

wake me when this is through?

You pour fire over me,

chisel off the flakes of impurity

until i crumble,

with blackened body,

eyes melted to your throne.

You reach for me (burned and shaking)…

“Child, this is beauty.”

A very good nothing day.

We did nothing today. And it was wonderful.  Why do we feel the necessity to fill up our days with driving here, meeting there, cooking this, cleaning that, etc?   Sitting on the living room floor with my daughters, one wearing a pink tutu, the other still in her sleeper from the night before, the breeze blowing through the screen door and making the whole house smell of autumn, my cup overflowed.  Coffee in one hand and a puzzle piece in the other, I am filled with peace…

and I rejoice with e.e. cummings…

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Swallowing a battery = gratefulness?

The other night I had to take my 2 1/2 year old to the ER.  She swallowed a watch battery about the size of a nickel.  Why is it that all toddlers must experience everything through their taste buds?  It is not enough to touch the battery or see the battery or smell the battery…oh no…it must be rolled with the tongue, caressed by the cheek.  And if it happens to slide down the throat by mistake–oh well!  It was worth it just to see what that shiny little circle tasted like!

When she came up to our room and announced that she had “swallowed the money” (she thought it was money….no Dear, the emergency room is what money looks like), I must admit that I was not as “calm, cool and collected” as I wish I’d been.  I am not exactly a fortress of strength in times of trouble.  My first reaction was to panic, which in this case consisted of shaking and shouting in an annoyingly high-pitched voice: “I know I read somewhere that batteries are BAD to swallow!”  (As if anyone on this planet would suggest eating a battery for an after-dinner snack.)

My husband, the ever-calm, “nothing-bad-could-ever-happen” dad, tells me not to worry, “She’ll just poop it out.”  So after he calms me down and we put her to bed, we both think better of it and decide to call Poison Control.  As I’m talking to a very in-control Susan on the other end of the line, my husband is whispering to me, “Don’t give them any information!  They can sue us!  Do you want them to take our child from us!?!”  Susan recommended we take her to the ER to have her x-rayed and make sure the battery is passing through and not releasing acid to corrode her insides.

When we get to the ER, Rae is immediately smitten with the receptionist (who is equally as smitten by her…and who wouldn’t be, with her ice cream cone pajamas, clinging to her little white bunny?)  As we wait, we snuggle up close and discuss the Winnie the Pooh mural.  And suddenly I am hit with the thought…

I am so blessed.

This could have been so much worse.  How many parents have had to rush their child to the ER because he fell into scalding water, or broke his arm, or ate something and turned blue?!  And so I am overcome with both gratefulness and fear.

Gratefulness because I am here, with a beautiful corn-silk blonde baby girl, so smart and healthy, who will probably be just fine.  But fear because of how quickly all of that can change.

Images flash in my head–the mother turning to check on her baby in the car seat who doesn’t see the truck run the stop sign;  the player with the football scholarship.–and undiagnosed heart failure–rushing onto the field; the elderly couple going to bed together for the last time–no one ever knows when they are living in that “last moment,” the moment that changes everything.

Last moments happen in an instant…in the words of a doctor, in the knock on the front door, and even in the swallow of a battery.  So in a way, I am thankful that my daughter only swallowed a battery.  And every time I have to sift through her poop to see if it’s come out yet, I will try to give thanks for all the blessings–and moments–we have together.