This afternoon, leaving my fifteen year old and almost thirteen year old at home to finish school work, I packed up my eleven year old and eight year old, and we headed over to visit our friend who has a three year old, a two year old, and a newborn. The hope was that while my boys played with her little ones and I held the baby, our friend could get a few things done, or maybe just put her feet up for a while!
This really was an “everyone wins” situation. It was great for my boys to play the “big kid” role. The two and three year olds had fun playing with the big kids. In between feeding times, their mama cleaned out her freezer, got caught up on phone calls and paper work, and did a variety of other tasks that were on “the list”. And I think it goes without saying that I loved having a chance to snuggle a newborn for a good long while. ;)
Back in the day when all my boys were tiny, we had a family friend who would invite me to drop my boys off at her house every so often, just so that I could go to the store (or go home and take a nap) by myself. She insisted that someone had done that for her when her kids were little, and that the way I could repay her was to do the same for others when my kids were older and I had a chance. I’ve never forgotten the blessing that friend was to me during that season.
I could say all kinds of goo-goo stuff about how I miss those days of little bitty ones because truly, some days I do. There is something so precious about silly two year old lingo, sticky kisses, and the “I do it myself!” phase. And there is something equally precious about having an eleven year old who can entertain a two year old well enough to produce belly laughs for a good fifteen minutes. (I should have recorded it.)
Every stage has beauty of its own. Every season is a blessing. And no day is perfect – no matter what season you’re in. I don’t miss everything about having babies and toddlers, nor do I love everything about having independent big kids. But I relish the memories and I embrace the day to day. That’s a whole lot better than living with an “if only”, or “I wish”, or the “I can’t wait until” mentality.
Give thanks for today – no matter what season you are in! And if your season will allow it, go let the mama of little ones take a nap or to do something that doesn’t require wiping a nose or a bottom. If you are that tired mama of little ones, ask a friend for some help. I promise - everyone wins! (Spoken by someone who got a wonderful, squishy baby fix today.) :)
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