This had better be the final Alone Together installment. It has nothing to do with typhoons, and more with quarantines.
The song quoted below is "I Get To Be the One" by JJ Heller.
I skim a lot of mom blogs. Skim only because either I can't handle adding their stress to my stress, or they're all doing that thing where they take an everyday mothering situation and turn it into a theological lesson (I get enough of those in my own life, thankyouverymuch), or because they're often writing about how very much of ourselves our kids take up and those types of stories can smack of a little too much martyrdom for my taste. I love being a mom, and stay-at-home mom has been my mutually-agreed-upon primary career since the beginning of our marriage. But then I have a week like that last one.
The specifics aren't important (I tell myself as I try to resist a laundry list of the offenses the days committed against me). But it involved starting off tired, then sickness and more sickness and vomit and pain and not being able to do anything besides stroke her head for comfort (and it doesn't help that 3-year-olds are capable of refusing medicine and preferring foods that will most assuredly not make them feel better), and sleep deprivation and long-planned events missed. Nothing too special, just a lot of alone-together-in-the-house time and the slow grind of discouragement and exhaustion wearing us down to our dry soul bones.
So I did what I always do and reached blindly for some favorite music. The very first song on the album I just happened to turn on was for this day.
Well, hello little baby
your eyes have never seen the sun
You should know, little baby
that I am the lucky one
My mind trails back to one midnight in Arizona, the first time my arms held her, shocked at how very big and un-newbornlike her tiny little hands and feet were. Well, hello! I--ever unwomanly--didn't tear up, my mind blanked by awe and maybe a little shock.
I get to be the one
Through birthdays and broken bones,
I'll be there to watch you grow
I get to be the one
Through first blood--a bitten tongue--and black eyes, through learning-how-to-throw-up-into-a-bowl and little deployments that last forever to you. Through your first bully and being guilty of your first bullying. Through hardships there is no way to explain to you and through petty temper tantrums. Through many potty accidents and many bedtime battles. Through early mornings and late nights, through transpacific flights and glass-bottomed boat rides. Through so many "I love yous". I found it strangely hard to say at first, as I found it hard to say your name out loud instead of "baby"--everything all strange and new. But it slips unbidden from my mouth so many times every day now, and you say it back freely.
Don't feel alone now, little baby
do you hear me singin you a song?
I can't wait to show you, little baby
how to crawl, how to walk, how to run
I've been making you walk everywhere the last few weeks. I held you standing for a few minutes on Sunday and very well nearly had your brother on the spot. You've been learning that just because I'm making you walk doesn't mean I love you any less.
How does someone so small
hold my heart so tightly?
I don't even know you
I love you completely
Three years in, and I'm getting to know you now. I can tell when you're lying or when you miss your daddy. I know that you're not me and that I can't take credit for you in any way. I can just do my best, living in light of mercies new every morning and ultimately leaving you in the capable hands of the One who made you in the first place. I know that even when it gets hard, when I stop and take a breath this motherhood thing smacks so very much more of undeserved privilege than hardship.
And any day now here comes your little brother. All I know about him is that he gets still when he hears my voice and live music puts him to sleep and he already looks like his daddy. All you know is that he's taking up all the room on what used to be known as my lap. I'm sure one day soon I'll have to remind you that you jumped up and down and shrieked "I'm so happy that he's comin outta your belly!" But yeah, we already love him. And though I'm as scared about mothering a second child as someone who believes in a sovereign God can be, well, there goes my flesh heart anyway, utterly enveloped in four little hands.
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