January 18, 2011

A Joy Every Day

I seem to have been doing a lot of griping about motherhood of late. For a change of pace, I think I’ll gush over my amazing and beautiful daughter for a while. Pull up a chair.

We just got H’s big, first year photo album printed on Shutterfly. The thing is massive because I couldn’t miss an instant. At the end there’s a family portrait of us at her first birthday. I included a note about how much of a joy she is and how much we love her. Josh read this note over the weekend, cocked an eyebrow at me, and asked, “A joy every day?” Wise ass. But yes, every day. There has never been a day in her life when I didn’t scoop the child up, smother her face in kisses, and tell her that I am the luckiest mommy in the world.

There are also many many days that I just wish she’d nap longer so I could savor the sweet quiet. This is normal.

The pressures of single parenting (intermittently) can make it hard to savor those “I love my kid so much I’m about to explode” moments. But you have to try because those are the moments that remind you why you signed up for this insanity.

H just learned to give kisses. Before she would occasionally stick her open, drooling mouth somewhere on your face and that was her “kiss.” Just the open mouth, no pucker. Cute, but gross. A month or so ago, she took Bear (her favorite stuffed animal) and laid him on the floor in the middle of a burp cloth and leaned over him. I snuck around to see what she was doing. She was kissing his nose—much like I kiss her when I’m changing her diaper. I had to literally stick my fist in my mouth to keep from laughing/crying at how friggin’ adorable it was.

Ever since then I’ve been trying to get my own kisses. Bear is nice and all, but Mom is better! It’s taken weeks, and of course Daddy got kisses before Mommy, but every now and again I get a kiss. No matter how crap your day is, a kiss from your daughter makes it better.

This phenomenon is not unique to me or my family. It’s universal. The problem comes when it’s the end of your day and you’re exhausted. You think about what you did and did not accomplish and the battles you fought over food, TV, toys, you name it, and it’s too easy to focus purely on the negatives—on all the times you had to say no.

I task myself, and I invite all of you, to try to end each day with remembering something wonderful my child did. It might be kisses or a new word or giggles as we chase each other around the house. Whatever that good thing is, that will be my best accomplishment. My daughter will grow up happier, healthier, and more loved because of that thing. Our lives together and our memories of this time will be brighter.

So tell me, what wonderful thing did your child do today?


  1. I am beyond exhausted after four nights of virtually no sleep (migraines+too much to think about), and all I wanted tonight was to crawl into bed with my computer to write. After I put Ben to bed, I was all ready to scoop Will up and plop him in bed with a kiss on the head and the whole "Good night, sleep tight" shtick, but I didn't.

    When I saw his sweet face, I told him he couldn't go to bed until he snuggled with me for a little while. He's getting so incredibly big, and I'm just waiting for the day when he says no to this request. So, we snuggled, even though it was way past his bed time and I am barely functioning. Because it's the thing that matters most, and sometimes the only thing that matters.

  2. What wonderful thing did your child do today? Well mine captured one of those fundamental elements of being a parent! Being able to step back – even when the day brought kiddie challenges that totally taxed your patience, your strength, your being a parent – you step back and realize how these aggravating moments pale to insignificance compared to the wonder that is your child, that unique and special person. And the good news is – you never really lose the feeling, that it’s so totally worth it – totally!

  3. I totally agree. Some days it's harder than others, but I always take a few minutes at the end of the day to think about how wonderful my little boys are and what a lucky girl I am. From the top of my head right now, I can tell you that I am loving listening to the boys play together in Evan's room. They are going on a rocketship ride (up in the sky) and having a GREAT time. It's so sweet listening to them play together.


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