Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dear 2006 Martha,

You can't go back.

Hindsight is 20/20.

There are no do-overs in life.

Oh, if only there were! 

Some people say they wouldn't do anything over; all the events of their life have led to where they are and doing anything to change anything might affect the outcome. Remember the old Gwyneth Paltrow movie, "Sliding Doors?" In one half of the movie she catches a subway at the last second. In the other half the doors on the train car close as she is running towards them. The movie highlights the difference that split second made in the outcome of her life. I love thinking about that.

And while I wouldn't re-do any of the big stuff (I'd still go to college where I did, become a teacher, marry Preston...well, most days.) I would love to go back to 27 year old Martha and give her some tips from a 9 year mothering veteran.

First of all, good job getting that baby here. Don't give a second thought to that C-section you had, nor to the two more C-sections you will elect to have. Home-water-doula-natural births are awesome, and so is major abdominal surgery. Don't let anyone make you feel like you didn't get the real birth experience. Believe me, you did. 

Secondly, she will sleep through the night. But in the meantime, if you need to bail on some stuff and tell a lot of people "no" because holding your eyes open is a full time job, don't worry about it. There will be so much time to do things like cook, teach Sunday school, shower and socialize. You can feel just fine about taking some time to forget anything outside of your little house. And if it's 3 am and you need to sob in the rocking chair, go ahead. It really does help.

Also, put an extra shirt in the car. For you and the baby. For the rest of your life.

And when the second baby comes along 17 months later, and she has her days and nights mixed up and you are in the depths of despair for about 6 full weeks, go ahead and recluse yourselves then, too. People who have expectations of you have either forgotten what it's like, not done it, or are crazy, so don't worry about their judgment or opinion of you. God gave you that Surprise Baby, and Scripture tells us He knows, He loves you, you are engraved on the palm of His hand, and He is ALWAYS doing the VERY BEST THING for you. So even though you have no idea how this happened (well, you do know the science of it) God knows, and He planned your life from the beginning before He created anything. So it's all good. Or if it isn't, you can trust that it will be.

Yes, you should lay that third baby in the crib watching her mobile for lots of hours a day. It will keep her away from her over-loving-still-toddler sisters who like to jam pacifiers down her throat and feed her whole graham crackers when she is 1 week old. She will actually turn out to be the most easily entertained child. So don't worry about ignoring her. She's totally fine.




Don't yell. It just isn't worth it. But know that you will yell. Those three little people will make you so crazy, and you may very well lose it. And when that happens, look into their puffy eyes, explain to them that even though they are total little messes who were behaving horribly, you are the grown up and unfortuantely did not handle the situation well. Apologize and ask for forgiveness. That is powerful. It teaches them to own up to the situation when they are wrong, because even though some people think they are always right, only One person ever was right 100% of the time, and you aren't Him. It also teaches them to say the words, "I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?" All three parts of that are so important. One on it's own is not enough. And you are a yeller by nature, so get ready to model this little lesson pretty much daily. They will love and trust you more for it. 


Run down to Target and go ahead and buy those size 14 jeans. Don't worry about it. You just grew three babies in three years in that body! Your body is AMAZING! Besides, there is so much time to work out and not much time to have your littles. So sneak in a run or a yoga session when you can if you feel like it, but if you don't do anything for six months, please, please don't worry about it. I promise, you can get your body back anytime. (I have the secret when you are ready - two things: Eat Less; Exercise More.) But I also promise that baby girl will never be 4 days, 4 weeks, 4 months, 4 years again. So if she toddles over with a book clutched in her chubby, sticky fingers, sit and read it to her. You won't regret those 5 minutes you cut short the Jane Fonda DVD. 



Because the next nine years... they are going to go fast. Like, warp speed. Even if you thought it was going fast before, trust me, you don't even know, Man. 

And 4 days from now, you will walk that 3rd baby into Kindergarten, and turn her over to a woman you adore, but who still isn't you, and have to drive away because if you stand outside the classroom door and stare in the whole time you will probably be arrested for stalking. 

And that will be that. Someone else gets them 7 hours a day, and you get them about 5 waking hours.  

So even though you feel like the last nine years have been a blur of yoga pants, ponytails, crying in the closet, Sesame Street, play-doh, sandboxes, Cheerios, bad dreams, buckling people in and out, yelling and apologizing, you did it.

You have survived the preschool years. 

And now that it's over, you really, really, really wish you could go back and savor it just a little more. So enjoy it. Enjoy it. Take breaks when you need them. Power through when you think you need a break, but that sweet baby needs you more. Don't feel guilty. Don't. Kiss their chubby cheeks. Hold the bowl when they are throwing up. Take them out of church when you need to. Let them tell you the worst joke for the millionth time. Laugh at it. Mop up the 50th spilled drink of the day. Let that load of laundry sit unfolded for two weeks. Get a babysitter. Cry. Laugh. Hold. Breathe in the scent of their head. Savor. 

I'm so glad there is Heaven in our future. Because my heart is so heavy. I have shed so many tears this week, I think Preston, the man of infinite patience, has just about had it. I feel desperate to hang onto the next four days, resentful that there is so much going on, and I have to share these last baby moments, panicked at what my future holds. 

But Heaven.

For me and my beloved and these covenant children, life has barely begun. And we have forever together. Forever. Hopey told me the other day she can't make her brain understand forever. Neither can I, Precious Girl.


So even though I wish I could go back knowing what I know now, it's ok that I can't. I will still be the one they will turn to, still the one they know can figure out how to fix things from broken feelings to broken ankles. The foundation is laid. I can let someone else teach them the things I can't. And I can share this time I don't want to share. And I can let go. 

And no matter what comes in the next nine years, or the next 50, by the grace of God the Father, I will do my very best to hold loosely.

Because Heaven.

Grace,
Martha

"Believers love Jesus with a deeper affection than they dare to give any other being. They would sooner lose father and mother than part with Christ. They hold all earthly comfort with a loose hand..." Charles Spurgeon

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