This week I found myself running more errands than usual.
It can probably be summed up in one word: procrastination. Those items to return, new shoes to buy, sports equipment to exchange and groceries for the hungry people in my house finally caught up to me. Poor Gianna. She lives in the carseat.
During one of those errands – pretty sure it was Costco and I could’ve sworn I saw Grace and Rachel (oh wait, I was checking Instagram) – I caught myself doing it. Staring at another mom with littles. As she wrangled her three kids, all under four, I smiled. I remember being that mom.
Who am I kidding? In some ways, I’m still that mom. I glanced down at Gianna, playing with my wallet and the car keys, and chuckled. The sixth kid doesn’t even get toys. She gets a credit card and a sharp object. There are worse things.
Watching my life “back then” play out in front of me was a bit eye opening. I’ve often wanted to take a video of me with all the crazy and then replay it. While drinking a sweet tea martini. Our lives are so full of nuts, aren’t they?
I loaded up the groceries, buckled Gianna in her car seat and glanced in the rear view mirror. And I caught myself. How very surreal to see the life you thought you had figured out, play out in your rear view mirror. I didn’t know we’d miscarry. I didn’t know we’d have a preemie. I didn’t know my father-in-law would pass away just weeks after welcoming his first granddaughter. I didn’t know my marriage would end up in counseling. I didn’t know my prayer life could be so much better. I didn’t know I would give birth naturally. And the list goes on.
So many unknowns.
I read other posts, or light quips, about how great motherhood is. How wistful women get about the infant, baby or toddler stages and how they want to freeze time. Motherhood is all that, definitely. It’s hard, too. Like crazy, ridiculous hard. But I hope to always remember that motherhood is neither always bliss, nor always sucky. No stage of childhood gets to claim just one exclusively.
Motherhood is not all or nothing. It’s the sum total of everything.
I suppose looking in that rear view mirror allowed me to see how motherhood has changed me. Made me less selfish, more sleep deprived, yes, but more loving. It’s reignited my prayer life. Taught me that I don’t know jack **** about lots of things. Encouraged me to get up and live another day even though the one prior was an utter failure. Reminded me of the importance of an awesome husband, a fridge stocked with Dr Pepper and Dos Equis, girlfriends who make you laugh and a God who’s always there to welcome you home.
Honestly? I hope I never forget to look in the rear view mirror from time to time, to see just how far I’ve come. People often ask me how I do it with all these kids. Or, they’ll say they could never do it. Maybe. But, when I look in my rear view mirror I sure didn’t think I had it in me.
Truth is, I didn’t. Praise the Lord for God’s grace and mercy, y’all.