"Honey, Hang in There!"
By Sandra P. Aldrich
Published by Livingstone Books
As Different As Night and Day
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13).
My two children, Jay and Holly, are sixteen and a half months apart. (I add the "half" because I desperately needed those last two weeks of sleep before Holly arrived!) Their closeness in age shows God's sense of humor. You see, two of my siblings were born within eighteen months of each other, and I once self-righteously declared, "My children will never be eighteen months apart!"
Well, they're not.
What I remember most about those early years of mothering can be summarized in one word: exhaustion. Adding to the weary excitement was the fact that Jay and Holly were (and are!) as different as night and day. Before they were born, their unique personalities were already evident. Jay started running in the womb. He kicked my ribs, poked my bladder, and, it seemed, braced his feet against my hip bones as he stretched against my lungs until I thought I'd never get a full breath again. Whenever we attended the noisy family gatherings, he'd become even more active, as though he was yelling through my navel, "Let me out. I have an opinion on that, too!"
Holly, on the other hand, liked finding a comfortable spot under my heart and settling in for hours, even days. After Jay's prenatal running, I'd start to worry about this new baby and think maybe something was wrong. I'd try pushing against my side.
Nothing. Then in panic, I'd thump my side to make her move so I could assure myself she was all right. She's jump, just as though she were yelling
Whew. The baby's all right, I'd think, my worry lessened for a few more days.
Uh, Holly's still a little nervous in life. Once, I told her she had to stop worrying so much. Then trying to spiritualize the situation, I intoned, "You've got to give this to God."
She nodded, then said, "I know that, Mom. But I'll be going along just fine, and suddenly it's as though somebody hits me alongside the head!"
Oh, dear. They do remember.
An Encouraging Hug: Honey, even children born into the same family will be as different as night and day.
Shopping Cart Adventures
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him (James 1:5).
Grocery shopping with two little people was an adventure. To keep from losing toddler Jay, I'd plop him in the front of the cart, where he'd take a commandeering stance and wave his arms toward the cookies. Then I'd position Holly, in the cart seat - supported by a small pillow - and to keep her from crying, quickly lean forward to assure her I hadn't abandoned her. So there we were: the two-and-a-half-year-old trying to reach everything on the shelves, his baby sister hanging on to a lock of my hair, and me, the tried mother walking lopsided, trying to keep the cart in the middle of the aisle.
Occasionally other shoppers would glance at me as though wondering, Why doesn't she control those kids?
And I'd think, They are controlled. You ought to see them when they're not!
Invariably, our little trio would be spotted by a grandmother type who would smile, pat me on the arm, and say, "Oh, honey, these are the best days of your life!"
When I'd hear that two or three times before rolling up to the dairy section, I'd be frantic and think, If these are the best years, what are the rest like?
Somehow we all survived those adventures, and today Jay and Holly are grown. Now when I go to the grocery store, I can steer as closely as I want to the cookies and sugar cereals, knowing that only those items I choose will land in the cart. And occasionally I see tired young mothers walking lopsided as they steer the cart with a commandeering toddler in the front and a younger one whimpering in the seat.
Now it's my turn to smile and pat them on the arm! And I say, "Hang in there, honey! It does get better!"
Never have I been told to mind my own business. The response is always,
"Oh, thank you! Thank you!"
And, truly, less exhausting days do come.
An Encouraging Hug: Honey, these exhausting days will pass.
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