Get in the photo…

I often joke that my kids are going to look back at all their documented childhood memories and wonder why their mom was never around! They went and did all these fun things and I was never there.  But I was – there may be very little photographic proof – but I was there.

You see – if there are photos being taken in the family, it’s most likely me behind the lens. I really love taking photos and I always see an opportunity to capture something. But it does result in a photographic past with a very absent mother.

Yes, I suppose I could ask others to take more photos of me, but it always feels weird asking. Like a little self-centered – which its not.  So instead, I stay behind the camera and wish I had more photos with my kids or on vacation or just candids.

Our last time in Mexico, the only photo I was in the whole trip was a family shot the last day. I’ve got hundreds of photos from the trip – and I’m only in one. Mom problems, right? So recently on that same trip, I mentioned this to Steve and asked him to be a little more conscious of it. (It’s not something he even thinks about, but he did great!)

I also handed the camera over to Hallie for an hour one afternoon when she was looking for something to do. You should see the shots she came up with as she walked around the beach and observed everyone playing and hanging out. As I scanned through the photos, I came across this picture:

I’m not sure when she captured it and I wish Steve was in the frame just a little bit more – but there I am with an ocean in the background – proof that I was there. I’ve got to hand the camera to Hallie just a little bit more!

Do you miss this…

I went to see neighbor’s brand new baby. As Steve and I sat on the couch with the newborn, the other three kids were wild and energetic. Obviously, there were a lot of changes in their house and they were each coping with the changes in their own way. I could see the mother was tired from the newborn and probably even more so from the others that also required so much attention.

The new mom then made an observation, “People say to soak this up because one day I’m going to miss it. I can’t even have two seconds to myself, I can’t imagine missing it. Your kids are starting to get a little older, do you miss this?” I looked around at her kids jumping off the furniture, one throwing a soft toy around the house and the tissue paper from our gift littering the floor. I couldn’t lie. I did not miss those moments. The moments where I was so tired I could cry at any moment. Yes, you might miss the newborn snuggles. But newborns are really like puppies and they grow up way too quick and then the newborn snuggles are gone and you’re left with a cranky teething baby. We commiserated. And then joked that the women who keep telling us that we’ll miss this stage are never the ones willing to take your kids for the afternoon to give you a break so you can think about missing this stage!

I felt for that new mom (and made note as to how I could help without telling her to soak this in because she’s going to miss it – because that is really not helpful at all). And then I came home and found this little Lego guy on the handle of my cabinet. 

I’m not sure how long it had been there but he caught my eye and I had the realization that it’s these little things I suppose I’ll miss. Not the fighting. Or the whining. Or the up-all-night children. But the little quiet moments that remind me that there’s a little human in the house that leaves unexpected toys in places where I find them. It’s walking upstairs and seeing books lined up in a row making the perfect car path.

It’s hard to even recognize these little moments as something to remember when there’s so much going on so I’m grateful when they catch me by surprise and it sinks in just for a second.

It may not be a glamorous job – but it’s definitely important.

Little moments…

People always see me with kids in tow and they always tell me I’m going to miss this stage. I usually joke back that one (or more) are for rent if they want to relive the glory days of young children. And although I tease – I understand what they’re saying. Sure, I hope I never have to potty train again, but listening to these two play in the mornings is motherhood gold.

They’ve got a few more months before Cannon heads off to kindergarten and it makes me sad to think Briggs has no idea that his little playful world is going to be rocked.

Puzzles. Trains. Dress up. Magformers. They do it all – they’re so good together.

Stand still…

I was listening to a gospel pandora station one Sunday morning as I was getting kids ready for church. As I was bathing a child this song came on the station. I’m not one for mourning the loss of stages but this song spoke to me. In that moment, it made me cherish the thought of bathing a small child. And even more so it made me realize how important it is that I document this time – through photos, videos, personal anecdotes.

This song has popped into my mind multiple times in the last couple weeks as Christmas seems to be arriving at an abnormally fast pace. I love this season and there’s a part of me that just wants it to stay a little bit longer. I want to remember just how excited Briggs was to play the sheep in the live nativity. I want to remember Cannon’s excitement of telling Santa he wants a beanie boo. Or Hallie’s love for doing Christmas puzzles set up in the living room. Or Bennett’s dedication to making sure the Christmas lights are always on. Or Hunter and his friend riding their scooters down to the Christmas house to check out the lights. Or sitting by the tree to read another Christmas book.

Christmas Puzzle

There’s so many happy feelings and I know as they get older the excitement changes. This is what I want to bottle up – the feeling in our home this Christmas season. I would love for time to stand still just a little longer.

Ive been taking pictures for a long, long time
Some are on paper but most are in my mind
Snapshots and memories of the days when you were young
I plan to keep them long after you’ve grown and gone

I remember watching as you took your first step
Seems the clocks been running faster ever since
Every day a little taller, it says so on the wall

The days are passing
And they’re not going to stop
And if I could, I would

Ask time to stand still
So I could hold you a little longer
I’d make the minutes stop
So we would always have today
I won’t let the sun go down
Until you know how I feel
I love you so much
I wish time could stand still

Fingerprints all over the sliding glass door
And I can barely see underneath the toys on the floor
I have wished away the sleepless nights, the noise and the messes made
But my heart reminds me
I’m gonna miss these days
So if I could, I would

Ask time to stand still
So I could hold you a little longer
I’d make the minutes stop
So we would always have today
I won’t let the sun go down
Until you know how I feel
I love you so much
I wish time could stand still

 

New Stage…

I was at the grocery store the other day with my four boys – who all happen to be 2 1/2 years apart from each other. The lady at the checkout was kind and friendly and was inquisitive about our family. After surveying the ages of the boys she joked, “Looks like its time for another one!”

Her comment (unbeknownst to her) had interesting timing as someone just days earlier had said the same thing. I joked back with each of the commenters – I’ve already got my hands full!

But then I started thinking – this is the first time I’ve had a 2 1/2 year old and not had a baby. (or have been really pregnant – there’s a slightly larger gap between Hallie and Hunter). I hadn’t thought anything of it until their comments, but we are really entering a new stage. Briggs grows out of clothes and I don’t save them – they get donated. We’ve cleared out all the baby toys and even some of the other toys he doesn’t show interest in. With each stage he grows out of – we get rid of more and more gear – gear we’ve had for years and years. He’s the first kid we haven’t had to kick out of the crib – we can keep him in it until he’s 5! 😉

But what’s interesting is those baby memories are still really close to the surface. I think I’ve had babies on the brain since my sister told us last weekend that she’s having a girl (after two boys).

As I was getting ready this morning with my bedroom door shut, I heard what sounded like a newborn cry. And for a minute, I was panicked thinking I didn’t get ready before the baby got up…and then I realized, I don’t have a baby!  When I saw the lady in church holding her sleeping baby as she thumbed through a notebook I could feel my own arm going numb from her awkward position. I could feel the weight of the car seat as a dad held it in the crook of his arm. There are so many relatable moments. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the fatigue and frustration that comes along with babies and I want to give a hug to every mother and father I see juggling a baby. You’re doing an extremely exhausting and yet rewarding work.

Some of my early motherhood days seemed so long and the thought of being out of the baby stage seemed incomprehensible. And yet here I am with a talking toddler and I have to say I’m quite enjoying it. Each stage is better than the last.

 

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