During November, I spend a lot of time thinking about the good things in my life, the things I overlook on a day-to-day basis but that are always there making life better nonetheless. I am grateful for my children everyday. I am grateful they are healthy and smart. I am grateful they are in my life. But I can get caught up in all the ways my kids can be better, how my life is inconvenienced, etc. So today I am writing a note of gratitude to the girls who make me smile the most.
Dear Avery and Claire,
Six years ago, I did not know what being a mother meant. I did not know what it meant to care about someone else so much more than myself. Then, I was gifted a 6 pound, 12 ounce bundle who knew her own mind almost immediately. Avery, you knew you hated bottles, required swaddling and soothing, and preferred to chew on the nose of your very favorite bunny rattle. You were a tiny girl and a force all at once. And if I thought you were a force, a little less than three years later, we yet again met our match with the birth of one Claire Chandler. Claire, you were a precocious baby, smiling, gurgling, charming. But as soon as you could move and talk and communicate, your strength was on display. Each day since your births, I have grown to know you more and more as you unveil yourselves. Over the years, I have been frustrated by your strength and your senses of self, but today I am grateful for it because you will need it so much to navigate this world, heck even to navigate our own household.
I am grateful for many, many things about your personalities, but I’m especially grateful for the small joys you deliver everyday. Although these are the days when I hardly ever wear makeup and often have dried food in my hair, these are also the days I get to experience the purest forms of your personalities. If I didn’t have you, who would absentmindedly be singing “You Are My Sunshine” as we get into the car? Who would tell me how pretty I look whilst wearing my work out gear and brushing dried sweat out of my hair? There would be no one in my life pretending to be a mouse for days on end, squeaking and scurrying around the house, and no one announcing her arrival into a room by proclaiming “your nugget is here.” I would not notice every flowering tree, fluffy animal, and noteworthy cloud outside our car window because there would not be an observant six-year-old to point them all out to me. I would not have enjoyed Halloween nearly as much because there would not have been two, pint-sized Music Men running around my garage singing “76 Trombones.” I would be so lonely at the grocery store without a companion sitting in the cart, declaring “yuck” or “yum” as each item hits the cart.
I love it all – everything you bring to my life. I love the smudges on the windows because my life needs fingerprints around the edges. My life needs messy. I have my entire life for neat, orderly, and convenient. But right now, I need toys on the carpet and tiny socks entangled in my laundry. I require sticky kisses and sweetly mumbled prayers at bedtime. And a small piece of me can’t help but wonder if the clock is already ticking on our time together. Are we, like me and my own mom, not destined to have fifty or sixty years together? If that is the case, I have no regrets because we are making the most of it. I am right where I need to be – spending my days with you. Because these are the days – the days I will look back upon with longing.
My mission is to remind myself of all this on those days – the days with more tears than laughter, the days I pick an entire fruit snack out of my hair at bedtime, the days when I am tired of you and you are tired of me. I am lucky and grateful. I am grateful for you.