When you spend all day with toddlers, chances are something either really gross or scary (or both) is going to happen at some point in the course of 12 hours. It’s almost a given. This morning, I took the kids out in the yard to play. As I do most days as soon as I get out there, I started to clean up the dog poop to prevent the kids from either accidentally or purposely getting into it. (Eliza still asks, “Mommy there’s dog poop. Can I eat it?”)
Well, this morning somehow within about two minutes Zach not only managed to step in a fresh, wet pile (why it couldn’t have been a sun-dried one, I’ll never know), but he also managed to get some in his hair.
And moments like this are frustrating and annoying, but for the past few weeks, I’ve tried to thank God for them. I don’t want to make anyone cry, but these two weeks have been tough. Dear friends of ours lost their beautiful 14-year-old daughter, Olivia, in a tragic drowning accident on June 23rd. And I’ve lived through tragic deaths before; but this one has hit me more than any other unexpected loss. This family is just so amazing, so loving, so wonderful, that it seems so unfair for them to have to live through something like this. At the viewing, I was hugging Steve, Olivia’s dad, and I said, “You give great hugs.” And he said, “Hugs are all I’ve got right now. Do me a favor and hug and kiss your babies for me when you get home.”
I’ve been so struck by how much EVERY moment is a gift. Though not likely, and certainly not fun to think about, any moment could be my last moment with one of my precious little ones. And I’ve really pondered that these past couple of weeks. When Zach has been waking me up (almost nightly for a reason I still haven’t determined, but I think it’s nightmares), in my tiredness and frustration, I’m trying to feel blessed that I can hold him and touch him and comfort him. When Eliza and I have one of our 72 daily conversations that exacerbates my patience, I’m trying to be thankful for her inquisitiveness (or desire to be annoying – I am not sure which it is yet).
Just this morning, we had this conversation:
Me: “Eliza, we need to put the Play-Doh away because you’re dropping it on the floor and Zach doesn’t understand that he shouldn’t eat it, so we need to play with it when he’s not around,” and she says,
“Why mommy?” and I say,
“Because he’s still too young to understand that it’s not food,” and then she says,
“But why mommy?”
and I try patiently to come up with an answer (my favorite these days is that I don’t have to explain myself to her and she should trust my judgment).
But back to my point, I guarantee that if she weren’t here tomorrow to ask me these questions, I would give anything (an arm? a leg? all our assets?) for one more annoying moment with her. And if something happened to Zach, I would give anything to clean the poop off of his shoes again if I could have one more of his amazing hugs.
So in my grief, I want to encourage you to enjoy the gross and scary moments before they’re gone. And in the words of Steve, go give your babies a hug and a kiss, just because you can.