While waiting in my filthy, mini van with Jeremiah while Kyle, Malachi, and my neighbor’s flee-filled dog went into the vet, I looked back and saw ten little toes kicking around and it was very much in my face that those little toes would soon be dirty, stinky feet and (Lord willing) there won’t be any other little toes to follow. If you have known me for any time at all, you know that the majority of the things I share with the world are solely based around the parenthood struggles and hilarious situations my kids deliver to me day after day.

As I have shared the rawness of my life over the past few years, I have heard the phrases “Oh my gosh, I can definitely relate. Your posts are hilarious!” and also…”You’re going to miss this one day” more times than I can count. Yes, kind and possibly wise person, I’m sure I will, but today I am the mother who had to come inside after rushing out to the car to leave because her kid pooped, peed, spit up, or wiped snot all over her. The mom who just spent 30 minutes cooking a meal consisting of protein, vegetables, and some incredible side of Kraft macaroni and cheese only to be told “this is gross” after it was the favorite meal the week before. The mother who has had her boob bit more times than she’d like to admit from a teething baby. The mom who gets scared every time she sneezes at night or army crawls out of a creaky-floored bedroom thinking the baby is going to wake up. The mother who is extremely selfish and wants to shower every day, workout a few times a week, and desperately wants to sleep through the night snuggling her way handsome, snuggly husband without 1, 2, or 3, kids separating them. So yes, I am sure I will look back in 20 years and desperately miss this, but today and in these moments, it is hard to believe that life exists. Thank you kind and possibly wise person for the heads up!

Malachi has started saying “ba-nana” instead of “manna” and crosses one leg over the other like a grown man while watching Daniel Tiger, Everly will probably never rock 1/2 inch long bangs as well as she is right now at any other point in her life, Hads will soon enough be able to do her own pony tail, and J-man will probably replace all those smiles he gives me with back-talking as soon as he can formulate sentences.

This week I saw a friend of mine pushing a stroller alongside her other two kiddos on their bikes. At 60 I may see this scene and think “Ooohhh! I miss my teeny kiddos.” But my thought was…look at her being a freaking rockstar and putting forth the effort it took to wake the kids up, get them dressed (because that’s a struggle in itself), locate backpacks, lunch boxes, and shoes, get down the driveway and to the street, and then avoid all the cars on a busy Thursday morning all before school starts! Way to go, momma! You will probably need a nap after this, but you won’t be able to take one! Maybe in a few years! I’m sure our perspective changes over the years and I’m very glad it will so that I can fully embrace the goodness of grandparenthood!

Over the years, I developed this belief that I had to strive for perfection and that I had to get close to it to obtain any type of approval or love. Why is your science grade under a 95? Don’t party. Be respectful. Get that scholarship. Graduate early. Go back for a master’s. Get your doctorate. Have a fantastic job. Don’t screw up. I strived for perfection. And sadly still do.

You know what is impossible?

Perfection in parenthood (well perfection in anything, but specifically parenthood). Because of this, for years I have slapped the label on myself that I am kind of a sucky mom, that my kids will need a therapist, and have been somewhat apologetic that they were dealt me as a mother instead of one of those really patient, nurturing kinds. I love them. I feed them. I meet their needs, but all of the extra stuff doesn’t come easily. More nights than not, I put them to sleep while thinking, Man! Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a chance to redeem today. 

A few months ago, during one of my quarterly purges in an effort to achieve a pipe dream of minimalistic living, I found this old decoration and was about to toss it in the trash and then decided to bust out the paint and fix it up. I don’t paint, nor do I consider myself artistic in that sense, but after half an hour I had a wooden-box-thing that displayed a very simple flower (because again, my ability to paint is limited to houses, stick people, and flowers) and the word “favor.” I then went to hang it up and thought eh, it kind of sucks, but that’s okay.

Then…as life goes, I, of course, dropped it and it cracked all the way across. I picked it up and looked at it thinking, “perfect” (like…not in a sarcastic way, but in a that’s what was missing way). It is my life. Messy, broken, and some days sprinkled with a bit of ugliness, but despite all of that I see God’s favor over and over. Day after day. I think of the stories in the Bible where God shows His favor to people…Moses, Mary, Daniel, Joseph to name a few. Rocky situations, but so-and-so found favor with God! I get excited every time I see those words because we see the miraculousness of God’s goodness and love for His people in every one of those stories.

As I pray that God would show His favor to this family, these kids, me and Kyle as parents, I am so gently reminded over and over that my righteousness, my excellence, and my attempts at perfection are unreachable and am thankful all over again that His righteousness is what covers me.

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