Two little handprints have mysteriously appeared on my bathroom mirror. If I were a detective, I might note that these handprints just so happen to match those of a certain little four year old boy that resides in my household and would hunt down the perpetrator. But I’m not. I’m just a mom, and I have chosen to leave the prints for the time being.
Why the dirty mirror? I don’t know- I just think they’re so cute and unique to this chapter in my life. Before long, I will have kids shaving their faces and applying probably-too-much makeup in front of our mirror. These days of grimy fingerprints on everything in sight will pass, and I do believe that I’ll miss them. I’ll reminisce on the days of clingy little toddlers in footie pajamas begging me for just one more bedtime story (or two or twelve) . I’ll look longingly at the Lego sets left by the wayside, dust clinging to their tattered instruction booklets.
I know I’m being slightly (and maybe, to you, annoyingly) sappy and admittedly influenced by this weekend’s reading of Rachel Jankovic’s great little book Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches … but I also know that I have a little four year old who has somehow morphed from a baby into a boy overnight. And I have a spunky two year old who happens to believe that she’s thirteen. As I witness this lightning fast process of growth and development otherwise known as childhood happening right before my eyes, I find myself soaking in their here and now because I know things will be so different in a few short years.
My God-given job is to be present and purposeful in my everyday moments of mothering. Which is easier said than done when I’m washing out yet another pair of poopy princess underwear or disciplining for the same offense for the 17th time in a morning. And you know those days of parenting little ones when 10am really seems like 9pm? When, despite every drop of creativity within you (plus some quality programing from PBS Kids), the rest of the day just continues to drag on infinitely long. And when the husband walks in the door from work, you feel completely justified in doing the “drop and run” (i.e. drop the kids off at his feet and run to the bedroom, behind lock and key, for a few minutes of quiet solitude). I know I’m not the only one who has those days.
But even in those days, I pray that I am reminded by those handprints on the mirror or the Hot Wheels under my feet or whatever “inconvenience” it might be at that moment that my kids are under my direct care and guidance for only a short time. And then they’ll be off. Just like that.
Tomorrow, we might have a clean mirror once again, but for today, I think I’ll enjoy the smudges.