Thursday, August 16, 2012

To Love.

One of the most beautiful parts of raising children is learning to love their childhood.

It sounds easy enough. Newborns are so easy to love, infants with their wide eyes and big grins woo you over, too. Mischievous toddlers get away with just about everything because they are so funny and get such a kick out of life.

But then, around three years old, something changes. People aren't quite as enamored with the shenanigans, parents actually have to discipline their charges, and while it was always exhausting, the exhausted mother needs a break from it all every once in a while. It gets a little harder to love their littleness, clumsiness, and inability to control their tempers and emotions. We don't love them any less, but their mere childhood becomes frustrating.
There are some people who don't like children, and while I can't really relate to their perspective, I think it must have to do with children's lack of coordination and emotional control--their childishness itself, regardless of how sweet and well-mannered they might be.

While I don't do jumping jacks when my kids spill apple juice all over the floor, or when the toddler throws my freshly folded laundry out of the basket, by some miracle, I'm kinda over it. I mean, it's what they do, and  getting frustrated about it doesn't change a thing. Even if I freak out, they're still little and klutsy and curious.
When my children tell me their troubles--that they want to play pirates while their playmates want to play house, how can I not smile, and marvel at the endearing parts of what makes up a child. To watch them play pirates, to witness their pretend, and the unraveling of plans as the afternoon escapes structure and turns into a wonder of imagination--this is what childhoods are made of.

It melts me.

Grief still surrounds loved ones and friends this week. It clings to the laughter of my children despite their lack of understanding. I hold them closer, watch them play longer, and maybe say "yes" a few more times than I'm known. Because, when it all comes down it, love is what matters. And to love a child and all their frustrating childishness, is to be blessed beyond comprehension.
"It is love alone that counts." 
St. Therese of Lisieux


Abby said...

This hits so close to home right now... I have struggled with enjoying their childhoods. The days are long, and I am just so tired! Something lately, though.. something has changed. I think it has to do with the heartache surrounding me. I know we are guaranteed nothing here on earth. How many tomorrows do we have? How many more days will I get to kiss and cuddle and giggle with my kids? No one knows... so each day has more meaning. Here's to the little things!

Erin said...

Thank you for a good reminder Mallory!

It's easier for me to love on Belle's more frustrating behaviors. It's not new to me, and I fully know that even on the worst days that one day she will not run away from me and drop to the ground screaming once I catch her. I get it. Claire is tougher for me, I need to remind myself that though I haven't seen the light at the end of this particular tunnel yet, it's still there. Her misbehavior of the season will pass and she will move on to something else and we will all survive each other.

I may not be a new mother anymore, but I sort of always will be when it comes to C, as every stage we reach will continue to be new to both of us. I need to strive to have the patience and humor I have with B's quirks with my oldest as well.

Theresa said...

I look at these pictures and think, "when the heck did these boys grow up?!" Seriously, the bottom one of Paul. I keep thinking he's as little as Michael and Luke is in Paul's place. Seriously....time flies Mallory. And this post is a welcoming reminder to embrace every moment.

Mallory said...

Thanks, ladies. Raising these little children is so exhausting and hard some days, especially when the mom isn't feeling 100%. Time flies, babies grow, people suffer, and we are reminded how precious our loved ones are, and how thankful we need to be for every moment we're given to spend with them on Earth.

Hug your babies tightly!!