Life Lessons from My Littles

When I started out on this motherhood journey three and a half years ago, I was armed with parenting books, advice, and surrounded by some awesome Mommas.  I was prepared to 'do all the right things' and 'never do that'.    I was ready to exclusively breastfeed until age one, potty train by two, and have a toddler that is polite and smart and knows how to read.  #thenrealityhit

Let's be real.  I supplemented with formula at six months, my three and a half year old is still in diapers, and he might have the polite part down sometimes, but the learning how to read part might be down the road a few years.  Don't get me wrong, my little Luke is exactly how he should be right now.  He is a master cuddler, loves long naps, laughs out loud at his Daddy, and constantly asks his sister questions (which may be the cutest thing ever).  

Motherhood isn't exactly what I envisioned it would be.  It isn't black and white and it surely isn't easy.  I thought I would be the teacher and my children would be the students, in every instance.  That is true with the simple things; how to say please and thank you, how to take off your shoes (we have yet to learn how to tie) and learning how to sing the ABCs (Luke still says LMNOP as one letter).  But with the big stuff, I am sure that I am most definitely the student.  I learn from Luke and Lily daily, sometimes hourly, about the stuff that really matters.  Here are some of the life lessons I've learned in the past three and half years of this thing called motherhood.

#1 Rest is imperative to a happy day.

My kids are sleepers.  I know some of you Mommas out there are rolling your eyes at me.  I know, I know.  I am so amazingly lucky.  I truly am.  Bless their hearts, Luke and Lily love their sleep.  Days without good sleep and without good naps are tough days.  A well rested Luke and Lily make for a happy Luke and Lily (and a happy Mommy and Daddy).  The same goes for me.  If I go to bed too late and have to get up too early, I am not the most pleasant person to be around.  Just ask Kevin.  Sufficient rest is good for the mind, body, and soul.  I do my best to get my 7 1/2 hours every night.

#2  Fresh air makes everything better.

Since we live in Iowa and have four seasons, we look forward to spring weather every February, even though we sometimes have to wait a bit longer.  I can feel it, my kids can feel it, and I'm pretty sure Luke and Lily's toys can feel it; pent up energy, just waiting to be released.  As soon as it is above freezing, we bundle up and trudge outside, because it is so good.  I am going to be honest.  I have never really been an outdoorsy person, but when I saw the difference it made in my kids, I became one.  A walk around the yard, a swing on the swing, or an adventure around the shop always makes the day better and brighter.  I find myself feeling more alive and happier after a trip outside with those two, watching their wonder and longing for great adventures.

#3 Dance parties are always in style.

My kids have got some moves.  They are Kevin's moves and my moves, but they are moves.  #wearesososorry  Nevertheless, they don't know about where they get them (yet), and they love to shake their little selves.  They are up for a dance party anytime, anywhere.  Put on Shake by MercyMe in the car or at the park and they are always ready.  I watch them and reflect upon how I wish I could be so joyful and carefree and then Lily wills me to pick her up or Luke asks me to 'dance Mommy' and I am in the thick of it with them...shaking myself to the music.  There is truly no other way to describe it other than magical.

#4  Time spent alone is time well spent.

My little man Luke loves some good alone time.  Most of the time it is to make a diaper, but he loves it nonetheless.  He goes into his room and asks me to close his door.  He always seems more calm, collected, and ready for whatever comes his way after a little time spent in his room.  Kevin and I are both introverts by nature and time alone for us is rejuvenating and refills our tanks.  All of you awesome extroverts out there might not need this, but it is vital for Kevin and I both to have time sans anyone.

#5  Love without boundaries.

My kids know how to love; deep and wide and long and hard.  And I'm pretty sure yours do, too.  Luke and Lily love without expectations or boundaries or worrying about past mistakes.  Every morning, I open the door to Lily's room and she stands on the tips of her toes, arms stretched as high as she can reach.  She climbs into my arms and squeezes me tight, clings to me like a baby monkey to her momma.  In that moment I know nothing else than that she loves me.  

She doesn't care if my hair is done, she doesn't mind if I am still in my pajamas, she isn't thinking about how I refused to give her the cake last night she so desperately wanted.  She loves me without wanting anything but a touch in return.  I am enough for her in that moment.  Her love for me radiates from the top of her head to her sweet little toes.  

Isn't that incredible?  What would it be like if I loved others the way my little girl loves me?  What if I didn't expect anything in return, didn't worry about past mistakes, and loved without any social or cultural boundaries?  I am thinking I need to love better.  Oh, what these sweet littles of mine have taught me, and continue to teach me, about love!

As much as I love being a teacher to my precious babes, I know that I am really the student in so many ways.  They have taught me more than I could have ever imagined to learn in the short three and half years they have been in my life. We may be working on the letters L, M, N, O, and P for quite awhile, yet, and that's okay, because I have a lot to work on as well.

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