the first born is always, always that "one". however their little spirit comes out, it is your first, your guideline, your "normal". the redhead and i are both the first born in our families, so our little hearts go out to our beautiful daughter. the world revolved around her for 2 years and 4 months. the one time i got upset with her before easton was born was a cold camping trip that she insisted on getting up before the sun and before firewood could be fetched for a fire. it is one of those moments that i relive and regret often. i was so sick and pregnant with easton and it was so cold. i confess that my austrailan blood filled it's hell and damn quota before the sun rose. such shame. when your heart expands to love another little person, often times it comes with a price and cost of patience for the one before.
we are going thru change with grayce like the lion and lamb reference to march. except, i never know which day will be what. some days a lamb and i can tolerate her 8 year old antics and not roll my eyes, other days, well. i am scared stupid for the teenage years. where's my magic wand that shrinks and brings back my baby? really. it is not fair. she has a crush on a boy all of the time. what does that say about our parenting? really? she tells everyone she knows that she has a crush on this mop headed ruffian. i bite my tongue, encourage reading with a fresh supply of new books monthly, encourage her to play with the neglected guinea pig, i sic ella on her to play dolls. she is changing and reminds me daily that she is a "mature young adult"as she puts it. before long, womanhood will be descending upon that sweet body and my tears will stain my pillow for the trail of childhood she is leaving in her wake of mature young adulthood. there's the lion.
my lamb days with her include tales of playground rhetoric, the classroom guinea pigs she spoils into oblivion, her discovery of judy bloom, her packing of "a light in the attic" by shel sivlerstein everywhere she has 5 minutes to read, brushing her long locks every morning asking what she wants me to create with them, her love of choir that beckons her out of bed at 6:50 am 2 days a week. those are my lambs. her love of american idol and her dreams that are laced with a victory in her name. there is always something to hold on to. there is also always something to be worked on. at the end of every day at my review of days activities on bended knee, some heaviness hangs around my heart wondering how i could have done better.
last weekend i was ready for a cup to be filled with some inspiration, some reading bliss. i wanted reality, not escape. i wandered down to the local mormon discount store and stumbled upon the book "the mother in me". it is a compilation of essays that the writers and contributors at seagullah had compiled. it was at the very back on a severely discounted table and to that i thought, oh darn, what a great idea. obviously it wasn't good if it is already appearing on the discount isle at the already discounted shop. at $4.99 something told me to take a risk. i holed myself up in my bedroom and dove in. two hours later i was basking in a fulfilling feeling. i felt so refreshed and so inspired. many of the essays touched me, but one in particular has lingered and wrapped itself around my heart with its truthfulness.
it was one talking about the ups and downs of toddler hood. the hopes and dreams a parent holds for a child. the responsibility that can often times become burdensome and tiring with the expectation of ones self. in her murky self criticism the thought very clearly occurred to her that a father in heaven also claims that divine responsibility of parenthood. she contemplated his role and his amazing ability to not take on any of our imperfections when we fail as his children. he stays the same, constant thru our error and our faults. he doesn't demote himself because of our frailties or bad decisions but remains still and constant thru them. the essay is incredibly beautiful and i can whole heartedly recommend the book. it was so profound for me as an imperfect mother that often times finds sadness at the end of the day because of how i responded to my kids and took their missing library book as my neglect or fault. she also cited the fact that our father in heaven knew these babies wouldn't be coming to perfect homes, he knew that they would be immersed in imperfection but counting on us to show these spirits firsthand how the atonement works.
it's been in my heart, those thoughts. it's helping me to be the kind of mom that doesn't feel bad for grayce because she is the firstborn. it left me feeling hopeful that she is seeing the full spectrum of human emotion and imperfection and that at the end of the day and the beginning of the week, i kneel and i attend so that i can more fully understand that garden and how a father in heaven beckons with love.