I was chatting with a friend about the constant rotation of seasons in our lives, especially as mothers of little bitty ones. It is hard to know sometimes how to balance all the needs of our family members and ourselves, and no matter how hard we try, it often winds up being a triage situation where we have to assess who's needs are most urgent in the moment.
Obviously, when our babies are tiny, they get priority. They don't have the developmental capacity for understanding or waiting that more mature members do. We have the example of Jesus, of the greater serving the lesser, as we minister to the needs of our little ones. Even so, it is important to keep in mind that in the most trying moments, when we are exhausted from yet another wakeful night or ear infection, or when our toddler's need to assert independence makes everything take longer than we think it should, that this, too, shall pass.
The last several days, the kidlets and I have been venturing out nearly every day for shopping trips and other explorations. Nearly every afternoon we have been gone for three or four hours. It has been so much fun! They have been cooperative, even when the shopping involved multiple stores and a few hours. They have left the parks and bookstores without complaint or running away. It has been delightful!
The funny thing is, just a few months ago I wouldn't have dared to take all three by myself. Even with Carlos, a trip to Borders or Barnes and Noble was a stressful undertaking of heading off potential meltdowns, trying to contain a runner, and possibly (probably) involved "helping" someone to return to the car. Had you suggested that I take all three to Walmart, I would have laughed hysterically and then shuddered for several minutes as the horror sank in.
I am really enjoying this season, where the maturity and self-control are a bit stronger, where they can think ahead and adjust their attitudes and expectations. They are growing up! (I should probably add that I have had to also work a lot on maturity, self-control, attitude adjustment and expectations!).
Knowing how much growing room I have left, I am sure that there will be new challenges in the seasons to come. I have been told by some pretty reliable people that it continues to get better, and that by the time we enter the season of grandparenting it will be even more fun! Regardless of what the next season holds for us, I want to be thankful for each one as we are in it, and to remember that it will quickly change. Even as I look forward to sleeping through the night, I know that one day I'll miss our midnight snuggles.