I’ve had lots of quality time with my Kindle during Juliette’s middle-of-the-night feeding frenzies, and I just finished reading Glennon Doyle Melton’s Carry On, Warrior. In her book (and her blog) she chronicles the ups and downs of being a wife and mother. One of her most famous essays is “Don’t Carpe Diem“, in which she describes the pressure placed on parents to enjoy every single moment of their children’s lives, as it all goes by so quickly. But the reality is that parenthood is often wrought with trials and tantrums and tears, and it’s unfair to expect moms and dads to spend all day, every day in a state of parental bliss. Some days, the best you can hope for are just a couple of precious, fleeting moments with your kids.
Spot on, sister.
We had some bumps in the road today, with bouts of fussiness, stubborn resistance to naps, and hoped-for outings left undone. I wanted to take Juliette to a Halloween party at my office, but the cute mo-hawked rockstar outfit I had planned for her fell to shambles, as she ended up looking more geeky grease monkey than punk rocker. And I could tell she was tired and on the brink of a meltdown as I gathered our things to go. I knew I was pushing it, pushing her, and it wouldn’t end well. So I sighed, washed the coconut oil from her hair, and settled in for another marathon bounce session to get her down to sleep. And man, she fought that nap somethin’ fierce, with wailing and writhing and then the notorious naptime fake-out, acting all snoozy and limp-limbed only to pop open her eyes the second I put her in her crib. We were both at our wit’s end by the time she fell asleep (and four hours later, she’s still sleeping! that girl must have been zonked).
But let’s not forget the good stuff. Like, hey! Jules rolled over today! She was in the midst of her morning tummy time session, lifting her head like a champ, when she leaned a little to the right. And then she leaned a little farther, and a little more, and whoop! She was on her back! You’d think she’d just received her first college acceptance letter for all the hootin’ and hollerin’ Shane and I did.
And dang, this girl is flashing us some good smiles these days. These aren’t “I just made a big poop” smiles. These are “Hey! Mama, Papa, you’re funny!” smiles. As she laid on the floor after her morning snack, kicking her feet and waving her arms, she gave us a little smirk, which was all it took to throw Shane and I into a complete tizzy of silly songs and dance moves and smothering kisses, all the while coaxing bigger and bigger grins from our girl. This feeling that she finally sees us, knows us, that we’re no longer just a bouncing robot and a milk machine – it turns us into a couple of giddy idiots. Joy runs deep when your screechy monkey sounds elicit a smile from your most favorite little person.
It wasn’t a perfect day. In fact, there were times when this day made me want to pull my hair out and hand Juliette off to the first trick or treater that came to our door. But those smiles. Sweet Jesus, those smiles! Best, brightest silver lining ever.