At all times of the day, on all accounts, my daughter wants to know where I am. And if I have plans to leave the house, she wants to know, "Are you coming home? Are you coming back? Will you check on me when you get home?" When it's time for me to go, she's on my heels at the front door yelling, "I love you, Mom! I love you to the moon and back and I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU!" Most of the time I laugh and tell her, "Reese, I LOVE you." And she usually doesn't stop repeating that phrase until I have pulled away in my car, her words singing over and over in my head as I drive.
The same is true at bedtime. My husband and I rotate who puts who down, and if I'm tucking Pierson in, she anxiously makes sure that Asa will leave her door open so that Mommy can come in and hug her. But it's never just a hug. She wants me to sing 'Sunshine,' hug her a certain way, and she shouts, "I love you, Mommy! I love you to the moon and back and I love you, I love you, I LOVE YOU!" as I close the door behind me.
Any moms reading this feel like there are days that your heart literally ACHES, because it's throbbing with love so intensely?
Today is one of those days for me. You know how Facebook likes to bring up all these super heart wrenching and emotional articles on your newsfeed? It's like the computer literally KNOWS that you're already on the verge of tears and that you need just one article to be pushed over to the breakdown side. So today as I scroll, I choose the one about the sweet and innocent five year old boy who was stolen away by cancer. And I'll read every single word, feeling my heart rate jump through my chest with each one; "110" my Apple Watch read when I finished. And then the tears came. And I lie in my bed, pulling the covers over my face, to actually plead with God to be spared from scenarios like this. But for some of you, this is your REALITY. Cancer, or another life threatening disease, is beating on your ACTUAL door. You stare it in the face daily. You pray hourly, for just one day, for grace to be given, for healing to occur, for relief and peace to be offered.
And I am reminded that I need to slow the hell down.
Don't you dare close the door on your daughter who is urgently shouting out her love to you! Don't tell her to be quiet or that she doesn't need to say it over and over as you leave her room for the night. Don't take for granted, that your children need you. That they don't just need you, but that they actually WANT you. To be by your side, to hold your hand, be picked up by you. To hear you say in return, "I love YOU to the moon and back and I love you, I love you, I love you!" Don't be so easily annoyed, agitated, stressed out, overwhelmed. Don't TAKE them for granted.
Because as you blink, the thief Time, is closing in. If I am a betting woman, then I bet in a few years my daughter will have forgotten her incessant need to be with me. She'll be in school, surrounded by hundreds of elementary students and her new focus will be getting good grades, experimenting in sports, making friends, and figuring out WHO she is. And if in a few years she is still attached to my hip, then it'll be a few years past that. And I'll be talking to all of my friends wondering, "Where did the time go?"
Some of you have lost a child. Or you've gotten close. Or you ARE close. And my heart is with you right now asking God WHY. I don't get it, I don't understand, I don't like it, I can't fathom it, and it just hurts. Please know that I am trying to NOT take my healthy children for granted. And some days I will write posts ranting about tired I am, how my back hurts from the toys I've picked up and the house I've spent hours cleaning. I'll write about how they exhaust me, or that I don't know how single mothers do it (because I DON'T know how and I think you're really fricking amazing if that is your reality). I'll vent about my daughter's neediness and her three-year old sassafras, and I'll say things like, "Lord HELP me," when making mention of the two humans I've been called to raise. But I want you to know that I see you. I hear you. And literal tears fall as I can mention some of you by name who are in a VERY difficult season of trials and tribulation:
My cousins, Amanda and Mike with baby Jada, who just had a Thymus transplant. The hospital has been their second home, all the meanwhile they're raising Jada's big brother Odyn. They have done it all with grace, as they share their story and constantly lift their family's life up in prayer.
My very dear friend Andrea and her family, as they help their son Drew fight his B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Their struggle has been so real, and this three-year old is near and dear to my heart as I've photographed him every year since he was a newborn! He has begun the "Delayed Intensification" phase of chemo, and needs a ton of prayer [as do his amazing parents and big sister, Amelia].
As a mom of two young ones, there are days that I feel more worn out than usual. And sometimes it takes heart wrenching Facebook articles to remind me that I need to suck it up and do my job with way more happiness than I sometimes do. To those of you hurting, questioning, fighting, and battling the things that you are, please know that I am praying. If you are new here or you're going through something I don't know, don't *ever* hesitate to e-mail and fill me in so that I can add you to my prayers.
To my children, no matter how healthy or sick you are, I love you to the moon and back and I love you, I love you, I love you. May I never forget these toddler phrases, or the way their voice sounds when they say them. May we also never forget to lift one another up in prayer and to be each other's arms wide open.