This past week we were at a birthday party - a birthday party with old friends, celebrating 2 years of their beautiful, crazy-fun boy. One of the girls walked in and just shook her head and said, "What. What is it? You look...........hot. Did you lose weight? Did you cut your hair? What?"
Ha. Still giggling over her words.
We met these wonderful people - so many of them - about three years ago. Three years ago when my babies were all still at home. Three years ago when they were all newly married and bright-eyed and wearing funky, cool thrift store clothing or clothing found in a mom's/grandmother's closet or bought in some far away land when they were traveling/living there. They would walk into our house, to church and they would be rested and they would have just exercised that day or spent time cooking/reading/hanging out/cleaning/working ALONE, no little ones following them all the live long day. Then there would be Joe and I with our littles - 4, 3 and 1. We were never rested. We were rarely alone. We never exercised anymore. Our tribe was loud and lovable and eager and always messy. It was like we were some other breed of creature and I still appreciate how welcomed we were.
Ha. I still giggle at the picture we made and the misconceptions of the ones without little ones.
(One of my favorite stories from that time - which we tell over and over - was the first time we met most of these people. It was at a get together at the Barger house. We were some of the only ones with kids. We were sitting down at this table with our three kids and Francesca gets "the look" and starts choking. No biggie. She did it all the time, still does quite frequently. We run her over to the side of the deck and let her throw up in the bushes and then sit down and finish our potluck. Not everyone else was so unfazed by this......or the eating habits of a 3 and 4 year old. Not to mention Joe finishing the mess of food from the children's plate...........the same childless woman at that table? Now pregnant with number 2.......number 1? Yeah, she sat on my lap Monday night, stuck her finger up her nose and pulled out a little present.......I nearly vomited. How, indeed, the tides have turned :)
And so now.........the newly marrieds are the newly babied :) They have little ones, are pregnant with their seconds and the tides have turned. And every time I see this wonderful woman and she exclaims over me and says what happened and what have I done with myself?
I got some sleep.
I have some space.
I shower BY MYSELF WITH NO LITTLE ONES SCREAMING OR NEEDING ME.
I don't chase anymore.
Everyone goes to the bathroom/dresses/feeds themselves.
The little ones help cook/clean.
We have dinner conversation.
My kids and I can play things we BOTH enjoy.
I can say, "HEY. Mom needs a little time. Go play." AND THEY DO.
So what happened?
It's not the bangs. It's certainly not the body. It's not anything. It's just.......well........
Life happened. It went on. Babies got bigger. We entered a new phase.
And it's good.
Just as good as the one before.
And just as good as the one to come after will be.
And, I don't know, I just want to encourage those of you in the midst of that phase that it's ok. It's ok to be tired and wear your jammies all day. It's ok to not feel great and to resent the little ones and lose your patience, at times. It's ok to have laundry that's piled up and dishes that are never done. It's ok to not be ok.
I once cried at Christmas because my brother bought me all these clothes from Banana Republic - dry clean only, pretty clothes that had no place in my life at that time. They didn't fit my body, they didn't fit my life and I cried. I cried because my mom had gotten me a matching jogging-type outfit and it did fit. It fit my body and my life and I thought that was just going to be it. Me in a matchy-match pink and black jogging outfit for the rest of my life and there was going to be no more room for pretty clothes and white tops and cool jeans.
And I know that there are moms out there that do white tops and pretty clothes and bright smiles through the baby years. They look great and the love that time and they get sleep and they just do it somehow.
I wasn't one of them.
I loved my babies and I was a good mom and I played and I created and I got through and did it well. But it wasn't always pretty and it wasn't always fun and I cried and I laughed a lot because nothing gets so bad that you can't find a way to laugh in the midst of it all.
And so I just want to say............it's ok. Whatever you are feeling, whatever you see when you look in the mirror, whatever is happening behind closed doors at home with the little ones........it's ok.
And you will have a TON of great stories at the end of it all.........