Grace + French Fries.
Starting this website/blog/thing meant going back through a bunch of old posts from my former, much older blog, to see if there were any I wanted to import here. As I sifted through them, I couldn't help but giggle (or shudder) at the content of a few special posts. Don't get me wrong--there was a lot of good stuff in there (ha! at least I think so) but sprinkled throughout were a few posts that I would refer to as "precious", mostly in regards to parenting. Posts about scheduling, and what my kids eat, and the right way to do this and the wrong way to do that ... to be fair, I was a new Mom, and every Mom knows that being a new Mom means figuring everything out. But, now that I have been in the Mom gig for almost nine years (super short compared to some of you, I know, so give me grace here) it's HILARIOUS to look at how I've done so many things I said I would "never" do. Like feed my kid French fries. Yeah, that was on the list.
(Slightly terrified New Mom Katie, circa 2008.)
For me, becoming a parent changed everything. Y'all, it was HARD for me to come to grips with being a new Mom. To be honest, it scared me to death. I remember overhearing my new-Mom friends say how, at the moment the doctor placed their baby in their arms, they felt this instant bond of joy and rainbows and happiness and you guys, I just didn't feel that when my son was born. Don't get me wrong, I was super glad he was here, but the bonding? It took a while. I remember staring at him in sheer panic. Hello, tiny human. Wait, you're mine?? What am I doing? I'm hard on myself anyway, so I just knew I was going to screw it all up, somehow. So when they opened the hospital doors and actually let me take this tiny human home? WHOA. Mind blown. And it was just as hard as I thought it would be. We were on an endless cycle of feeding and pumping and feeding and pumping and maybe sleeping and feeding. And pumping. Throw in postpartum anxiety and you have quite a situation. And I remember when he was a few weeks old, and was finally eating well, and I was kind of out of the fog enough to know what day it was, I sat in his nursery, rocking him in the middle of the night. And then ... I felt it. I held him close and the tears began to flow as I prayed over him. He was here. My son. God had entrusted us with him. And ohhhh, I snuggled him so tight. And we bonded. We had fought for it. Through sleepless nights (and did I mention the constant feeding/pumping situation?), we had fought for each other and ended up here. We pulled through, together. Talk about bonding. And now he's almost nine. And I've had two more! And we're all alive.
(I just really love this picture, also circa 2008.)
I tell that story to say that I think I've learned that if anything, parenting doesn't always look the way we think it should. Or, more specifically, it doesn't look for us the way it looks for everyone else. I am still fairly terrible at second-guessing every single decision I make (read my "about me" section and find the description of "messy perfectionist"...super accurate). Almost nine years in and I'm still navigating. It's different now. The sleepless nights have left our house (um, glory HALLELU), and the kids are able to feed themselves and potty themselves and dress themselves and, I'm not going to lie ... it's awesome. But those same insecurities, those "I will never" lists, they still pop up every now and again. I am more confident in some things than I was nine years ago, like trusting my Mom-gut (that's a lovely description), but it is still a daily exercise of prayer, remembering which battles will actually matter in the long run, and looking at my kids as being full of purpose and potential, even when they drive me nuts. That they are hearing, seeing, experiencing everything I throw at them. That's daunting, y'all. But I know that I was created to be their Mom, and they were created to be in my family. And so we continue on, figuring it out as we go. Because rarely do the good things come easy.
(My big kid now.)
We'll see what Future Katie thinks of this post nine years from now (when my son is EIGHTEEN I CAN'T EVEN). I might giggle or shudder, ha. But hopefully I'll extend myself what I know has been abundantly extended to me in this whole process: Grace. Upon grace.
Have a lovely day, friends!