Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dear Momma I saw at the Doctor Today With the Nine Month Old Triplet Boys,

Dear Momma I saw at the Doctor Today with the Nine Month Old Triplet Boys,

I really want to say, first off, that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

Because when I realized that in addition to your toddler daughter, there were three identical infant boys, and I had an instant spliced image in my brain of one half a pregnant-with-triplets you (you look fantastic, by the way) and the other half three babies all screaming at once at 3am, all I could manage to sputter to you was, "God bless you." And that's so not okay, because "God bless you" was one of those things people used to say to me, when I had four children under four. And I never knew how to take it. I didn't know if they had just insulted me or uttered a sincere prayer for me. I saw that same confused look on your face. I'm so sorry.

It's just that I realize now that for us mommas who are on the other side of the baby days, sometimes seeing little ones brings back a sort of PTSD of our very worst newborn night, when he wouldn't quit screaming for some unknown reason and then we turned too quickly and whacked his little head into the bedroom doorway and cried with him because we had previously suspected but now were convinced that we were the absolute worst mother in the history of ever.  So when we see you with the circles under your eyes we start to sweat and shake a little and maybe aren't totally responsible for what we might say.

But I want you to know that what I really, really meant was, God bless you. God bless you with these babies. God bless you and your exhausted self. God bless you.

And what I really wish I had said to you, there in the hallway, is, "You are so blessed." Because I know that you realize that. When they are all asleep. You stare at them in their cribs, in their little footy pajamas and their little butts in the air and you bend down and smell their sweet little heads and you are hit with such a wave of love and gratitude that it knocks you to your knees.

But I know that there are other times, when one has whined for twelve straight hours and one has diarrhea and one has just broken that sentimental thing that was your grandma's that survived a century of countless children but was demolished within seconds of your child sighting it, after you were up all night with the other one who is teething and your husband is out of town because of course he is, I know it's easy to forget how blessed you are. So easy. It's so easy to get wrapped up in how sticky your floors are and how your laundry is never caught up and how skinny you used to be and how painful literally painful not sleeping feels. 

I wish after I told you were were blessed that I said, "Listen. These are the hardest days of your life." Well, maybe for you, the hardest will hit in about a year when they are all walking and pulling books off bookshelves and discovering gravity and toilets, but you're close. Because these are the hardest days. They are so hard. It's exhausting, to be obsessed with every biological system and aspect of another human, not to mention several humans. Digestive, excretory, respiratory, neurological, endocrine, gross motor, fine motor, psychological, emotional.  You're fully aware of all of them at all times of every day, and ha! that's just when they're healthy. Throw in a rash or stomach bug and it can push you right to the teetering edge of sanity. Sometimes your brain wants to explode. Sometimes your heart wants to explode. Frequently both at once. But then one of them breaks out in hives over, what? what? and you slam another Diet Coke and just soldier on. It's hard. It's so, so hard.

And then I wish I had looked you in the eyes and said, "But it gets easier." Because it gets easier. So much easier. For instance, I have five kids, and every one of them wipes their own behind. All five. The amount of my life dealing with poop has decreased by about 97%. Well, 96%. Not only that, but they all sleep all night. But wait there's more - they can make their own cereal, brush their own teeth, and - wait for it - they even put their own laundry away. One even makes delicious gluten free brownies with absolutely no help from me. Regularly. Yes I'm serious.

Every stage of parenting has its own challenges, I've learned. None of it is easy. But the manual labor stage of it, the pure physical exhaustion, will never, ever be at the level it is for you right now.

If you hadn't been freaked out by a perfect stranger looking you in the eyes and speaking to you intensely and passionately I may have gone on to tell you that my baby boy? The one who used to smell so sweet, and slept with his little butt in the air and would destruct everything that came within twelve feet of him? Well, he'll be 11 next month. And he stinks. I mean, true, manly B.O. I know, it's so crazy. And his voice just got really deep all of a sudden. And the hormones flow like lava, hot, burning, freakish, explosive lava around here. And I'm only one inch taller than he is and we wear the same size shoe but I still totally outweigh him, dammit . And tonight when he was in the pool my neighbor nudged me and said, "Oh my gosh, does Shep have abs?" He has abs, Momma. MY BABY HAS B.O. AND ABS.


And you'll look at them and go, how did this happen? When did this happen? Where did my babies go? What smells like B.O.?

And you'll see another momma at the doctor's office with one or two or four babies and you'll hopefully be more encouraging that I was to you. But you will still think, God bless her. Because you will have learned that as hard as these days are, that God's grace is harder. Stronger. Unexhaustive. Always available to mommas who are at the teetering edge of sanity. And that grace will guide you through the baby years, the toddler years, the elementary years, the puberty years, and beyond. You'll need it in every stage, and it will be yours at every stage, just for the asking. Because that's what parents do, they obsess/love/go without sleep for their children. And while we're loving/obsessing over the babies in our home, our heavenly father is equally loving/obsessing over us.

Don't ever quit reaching for that grace.
It tends to feel the most powerful at about 3am when you're covered in bodily fluids.
At least that's been my experience.

God bless you, Momma.

I really do mean it.  

God bless you. 


  1. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for this. I resonated with every single sentence. I only have two children (a 2 year old and 1 year old), but I am exhausted. Sometimes I ask older moms if it gets easier, and most of the time they say no...which is NOT WHAT I WANT TO HEAR. So thanks for sending a little hope my way...and a good reminder to cherish this special season with my babies!!

  2. I had twins 3.5 weeks ago. Thank you for this. And also for making me cry because they are already growing up too fast.

  3. Lovely. And perfectly timed as I was up all night with a feverish 9 month old, and I'll be up all day with the whole crew. I was actually thinking how thankful I was as I held her close sitting up last night that I had the blessings of Tylenol and the opportunity to comfort the sweet little one, but I am weary.

  4. Oh girl! Amen and amen! My boys are 10 and 6 1/2 (the 1/2 is VERY important). And yes, the eldest now has b.o. and abs ... what the heck?!?!

    And moms of little ones out there ... YES it does get easier! Every stage has its challenges, but once they pass the "wiping own hiney/sleeping all night/dressing self" phase, it gets SOOO much easier.

    But, I have to admit, I miss the sweet baby-head smell and the footie pjs...

  5. Let's see.... my summer has included 3 weeks of Rotavirus being passed around between the 3 kids and myself, my husband being in and out of town (mostly out), my two year old eating a Cascade dish pod, a breast cancer scare and there is more but I'm too exhausted to think of them right now. Exciting times. This post was so, so needed! :) Big hugs to you! Thanks for the encouragement.

  6. Do it! Say it to the mamas with tinies! I'll never forget once when I was taking a walk with my double stroller which held my newborn, my toddler and I was holding the hand of my three year-old-son. I was losing sanity and was going to get out of the house no matter that the kiddos were grumpy and the March weather betrayed me. Another woman, prancing along the path jogged by looking fit, trim and somehow cute in her workout gear. But she turned around and said, "You're doing great, I have three teenagers now and it really does get easier." She smiled and jogged away. I kept pushing that stroller and just cried. It was the first person who acknowledged that what I was doing was hard, but gave me hope it would not always be this way. I don't know who she was, but I hung onto her words for literally YEARS!

    So, now I try to encourage the moms of newborns, and let them know they're doing great. Life will get easier.

  7. I just came here to grab my favorite new mama post (How to Be a Perfect Mother) and saw this one. Yet again you have captured the heart of motherhood. Your stories are such an encouragement and reality check!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Privacy Policy