All of the Feelings

You guys… today has been a hard day. A really hard day. And not because the kids were losing it… because I was losing it. Because I felt all the emotions. All. Of. Them. Joy. Sadness. Anger. Pain. Fear.

We watched Inside Out today. Have you seen it? It made my cry and ache in ways only a mother can. Not to give away the plot of the movie, but as that little girl is growing up and losing her childhood, basically every fear I have is being realized.

There are times, as an adult, when you look at your children and you can be so very envious of their innocence. Of how happy they can be because nothing in their life has been that hard. They haven’t known what it feels like to be rejected. They haven’t known abandonment. They have never experienced real fear of the unknown. Or of the known, for that matter. They can look at every person and every situation with perfect optimism – they have no reason to believe anything but the best will come to them.

There are times, like today, that I wish I could keep them in this vacuum of innocence. This perfect world where the biggest problem they face is having to sweep the dining room (oh the horror!). It hurts so much to be broken hearted in front of them, and to not even want to say what it is that is hurting me so much, because it will take away from their happiness just by knowing about it.

These moments of overwhelming sadness. Of the magnitude of the responsibility of parenthood weighing heavily on me. Of struggling with the “why’s” of life, that I feel an urge to write everything down, so I don’t forget.

I want to remember this feeling of anguish so I don’t cause others this pain.

I want to remember how deep a wound inflicted by someone you should be able to trust can be. How easily the scab is ripped off and the blood gushes and the pain comes back. How just when you think it’s starting to get better, bam! There you are needing to be stitched up again.

But there’s more that I want to remember.

I want to remember how Henry likes pretending to be a baby. He’ll lay perfectly still for a long time if you cradle him like a baby. Of course, since he can talk, he likes to give stage directions like, “I’m a baby. I need a blanket. I need to go sleep in my crib.”

I also want to remember how he loves to go to grandma’s house. All the grandmas are his favorites. He was playing with his bunny and he asked the bunny if she wanted to go to bed. “The bunny” replied, “No! I don’t want to go to bed! I want to go to grandma’s house!”

He’s very funny, too. He’s already got a great sense of humor. The other day Steve was cleaning him up after a trip to the beach. He said, “Henry, you’re all sandy.” And Henry replied, as the sand fell out of his shorts, “I’m not sandy! The house is sandy!”

I love how he talks slowly to make sure he gets all the words. “I like you (your) hair, mama. It’s… pitty (pretty)… wainbow!”

I want to remember how all three of them just hugged me as I was crying. I couldn’t tell them the details of what was wrong. But they were all there with me. They held me close. They didn’t leave my side.

I want to remember how Liv is getting so tricky with her balance bike. It took her a few days of riding it to figure out how you can balance and now she is trying crazy things. (And maybe falling sometimes, too.) But she’s so adventurous.

She has a giggle that should be in cartoons. And she told her dad the other day, “Dad, you tell the best jokes in the whole world.” And then she told him that she loves mama’s voice.

When we were at the lake house with my grandparents, she said to me and my grandma, “You two look like you’re the same age!” Grandma Ellie replied, “Well, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me in 20 years!”

Olivia’s very good at making people feel loved. Even our cat who is maybe causing a few issues gets love from Olivia. “Oh Snugs. I know you’re really lovely, but you can’t poop in our garden, okay?”

And I want to remember how Ellie makes beautiful paintings and likes to give them to people. And yesterday Henry got a cool set of Minion goggles from Aunt Jo. Ellie wanted some, too, so instead of whining about it, she went into the craft room and cut up a plastic package she found and made herself some Minion goggles. It filled me with pride to see her be resourceful and creative.

And she loves listening to the Bible on audio CD at her rest time. Afterward she likes to come up and tell me things she’s heard. Like, “Jesus said we are salt. But if salt isn’t salty anymore, how can it get salty again?”

She also interpreted the “Field of Blood” as a “big field full of bloody plants and stuff like that.”

She is growing up and having her first real friends. And that is marvelous to watch. Having wonderful friends has been one of the cornerstones of my life, and I pray that she also experiences good and deep and lasting friendships that will be a source of strength and encouragement to her.

I love that she is really understanding when we talk about life. She’s really getting it on a level that is new and wonderful.

I love how she loves music. She is always dancing. Always singing. Always asking us to play her songs. And she loves to make things special. Every day is an opportunity for a special occasion with her.

I want to remember these little things that make life big. I want to remember the way their hair smells salty. I want to remember how they say hi to every person and dog we ever pass. And they always ask to pet the dogs. And sometimes to hold the babies. And then Henry always says, “I like you (your) baby!”

I want to remember holding them in my arms, and wanting to give them the whole world.

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