Far too often, I let my feelings dictate my thoughts.
When I pick up the same toys for the third time that day, knowing it won’t be the last time . . .
When you ask for a drink, and I rummage in the drawer, the cabinet, and the dishwasher searching for a clean sippy cup and matching straw . . .
When I throw in one more load of laundry, pouring in extra soap and stain remover for your peanut butter stained shirts . . .
When you hobble precariously wearing only one shoe as I scramble for the other one on our way out the door . . .
When I push a cart teeming with groceries and you help me pull off a box of diapers and slide it into the undercarriage . . .
When I hear your cry in the middle of the night for the fourth time in as many hours . . .
Overwhelmed with making meals and keeping the pantry stocked with snacks.
Overwhelmed with changing diapers and brushing teeth.
Overwhelmed with vacuuming and wiping yogurt covered tables.
Overwhelmed with piles of unfolded clean laundry and rooms with unmade beds.
Overwhelmed by the markers and coloring pages strewn across the kitchen floor.
Overwhelmed by the flash cards and library books we haven’t gone over or read in several weeks.
But when I feel myself growing resentful with exhaustion, growing weary of whining and tantrum-filled cries . . . You fall into my arms smiling and giggling.
You ask for help and my steps fill with purpose.
You cry for mommy and my heart blooms with love.
You laugh and stomp your feet, dancing off-beat to music in a way that mirrors my own clumsy rhythm.
You throw the football at my head and hold your hands out to catch it.
You clutch tiny dinosaurs and growl before racing match cars across my lap.
You splash bath water and blow bubbles, and your arms wrap around my neck.
A dimple carves into your cheek as you smile and say, “Love you, too,” and I remember what the stranger said to me at the grocery store so many months ago.
He noticed your sister first, and when he saw you his eyebrows shot up in surprise. I braced myself for a comment about how full my hands were, but instead, he smiled and said softly, “You’re lucky.”
Last night, as I blow-dried my hair in the bathroom, I looked at you and your sister’s happy faces. You clambered and jumped across the bed as your daddy tickled and knocked you over, as he held you and kept you from falling, as he laughed and vaulted you into the air.
And I remembered through the exhaustion and weariness, that I am so much more than lucky.
You are my gifts from above, and I am done taking you for granted.
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