It is my six-year-old daughter sprinting from the playground to knock me over with a bear hug. It’s my four-year-old son snuggling into me, his mouth in a full-grin and eyelashes brushing skin as he breathes “I love you the most, mommy.” It is my two-year-old daughter falling asleep in my arms and giggling every time she opens her eyes and looks at mine.
It finally got better!
When I had two in diapers and one barely able to express herself vocally, (Lizzie was 3.5 years old when Lucy was born) I survived on prayer, Dr. Pepper, ice cream and little sleep. I remember the feeling of giving without receiving. Their neediness demanded my devotion and through confused bleariness I wondered, “when will this ever get better?”
Now that all three are potty trained and vocal, it has!
Their fights are louder, their whines even less bearable. Their activities increased, my car has even more mileage on it. Food is more important now that they actually eat (as opposed to me just nursing them).
But what makes it all worth it now, why I feel it is a smidge easier to live through today as opposed to three years ago, is that I can actually begin to receive their love now. They bless me even more than I sometimes feel like I give to them. My heart is just so filled, so blessed.
They all show their love for me in different ways. It is wonderful to watch them grow into their own persons and express it uniquely.
Lizzie, my headstrong leader. She so desires my approval that she works hard to follow my guidance – so long as it doesn’t interfere with her plans, should she make any. It crushes her when she loses my trust. On the flip side, she soaks up every minute we spend together – just us – even if it is to go on errands to the store and bank.
David is my sympathetic one. His heart is easily broken by tears he sees from his sisters or mom. He is a natural peace-maker, a genius designer/inventor, and extremely imaginative. When I join him in the world of his creation, magic happens. Anything is possible – there are endless levels to games he makes up and his good guys always beat the bad.
Lucy, the youngest, is my clown, my source of merriment. Her greatest delight is to hear me laugh, and she is always trying to make me do so more. She is always asking me to dance with her, and I oblige. We play My Little Pony’s, mommy and baby, and bake together. Whatever we do, it is always a production, complete with pictures, video and laughter.
So often my own doubts about my parenting (or failure thereof) cloud my mind and prevent me from accepting or even seeing the love of my children. Writing it out here, I hope I can reference this over and over in my low times to remind myself that my children love me. And my greatest fear – that my three loves will grow up and leave me without looking back – will not come true. I am human – and so are they. It is the loving and forgiving and hoping that triumphs through time.