I Can’t Help but Stare

My days typically begin with the quiet creak of my son’s door opening down the hall. I know that the squeak between the wooden door frame means he has changed out of his PJ pants and pull-up and into undies covered by a blue train or a firefighting Dalmatian puppy. He runs into the living room, flips on the lights, and the toy buckets begin to fall from the shelves and scatter the carpet.

I drag myself out of bed and emerge from my room and… 

I can’t help but stare.

The living room I cleaned last night is littered with every toy we have ever owned. How is it that the popper we’ve been missing for months suddenly reappeared while I was putting on deodorant? My mouth gapes open as I hear giggles from my daughter’s room behind me.

My redheaded toddling daughter is a force to be reckoned with, to be frank. She is a Velcro baby and sits on my left hip at all times. Or she cries. Screams are more like it. We are a unit and I have become quite skilled at doing daily chores with one hand. I put her down to do things like use the bathroom, spray some dry shampoo on my hair, and open the oven door without her plump baby hands grabbing for the dinner casserole. As her tiny feet hit the floor she runs straight to the refrigerator for milk.

I turn around and advise her she can wait until I have an available moment to retrieve said milk. Screaming and insanity ensues.

And again.

I can’t help but stare.

This sweet little girl can switch from 0 to 60 faster than a quarter mile race on Fast and Furious. Not only can she turn on the waterworks, she can flush that valve so fast your head will spin. She knows her audience.

Me.

As a seasoned mom with two kiddos, not much scares me these days. Not to mention the fact that I left a first grade classroom with 29 students behind to spend my days at home with my kiddos. But sometimes, I have no words.

No magic formula. No more discipline. No more logical discussions.

I am whipped. I am beaten. I am tired. I stare at them as they stare back waiting to see how I will fold.

Or will I?

These moments where they are defying me and defying gravity (literally-standing on my dining room table), I still manage to breathe. This buys me some time to go into the other room and stare at myself in the mirror. To calm down. The words might not come out in that heated and anxious moment when it feels like I am failing now and forever. But, they will test me again. They will push me again. And I will be ready. Each day is a new chance to fix my imperfections from the day before.

Every day is another opportunity to watch my darling children sit and play together. Engaged in happy parallel play that is the stuff mommy dreams are made of-sharing, empathy, and encouragement. I stand back and gaze at their beauty, curiosity, innocence, joy, and wonderment. Those are truly the moments that take my breath away.

And.. I can’t help but stare.

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