Let's be honest. Being a mother is not a piece of cake. There are days (like this week) when Burrito spits up all over the car seat. Gross. (I remember spitting up all over the car too when I was a kid. Mom, how did you ever get that smell out?) There are days when Burrito nags me constantly...she wants a snack...she wants me to play with her...she wants to watch a show...she dramatically throws herself on the floor if she doesn't get her way. She won't let me accomplish simple tasks. I get exasperated. I miss the days when I could curl up with a book anytime during the day and no one would bug me. I miss owning my own time.
There are days when she has sleep disturbances or refuses to go to sleep. There are days when I am exhausted and have trouble finding the energy for her.
But on those days, I try very hard to remind myself of one simple fact. I try to remind myself that one days I will long for these days. And one kiss of those pudgy cheeks, one sweet, "You're my precious Mommy," one cuddle over a story time and it all comes back to me. These days are so fleeting. They will be over and done before I can catch my breath. All older parents say this. They say they just wish they had slowed down and enjoyed the little kid days. They say they can't believe how fast it went. They warn me. "You will long for these days one day." I say to it myself over and over again.
Yes, I try to listen. And I listen not only because life goes fast but because it is fragile. With grief, I hear of the heartbreaking journeys of mothers and fathers in Somalia, journeys to get their many children to food and water. I read of how some parents have had to leave dying children by the side of the road in order to save others. I shudder. I can't imagine such a world. A world in which parents have to make such choices. My heart goes out to them as they are haunted by their decisions.
In recent days, as I think of the fragility of life, as I mourn for the lost children of Somalia, as I pray for the children and their parents, as I organize a fundraiser to help them, Burrito has become even more precious to me. I hold her close. I sit and play with her. I read her stories. And I drink in the precious life that is given to me in her. I don't know why God allows the mothers of Somalia to suffer so with their children and why mine is healthy and strong. I want their children to be healthy too. I want their children to thrive too. I don't know why, but I give thanks and I seek to cherish my child, to remember what a gift she is.
Life is fast and life is fragile. May we treasure our children, our families, our time.