Worth the Labor

There's nothing like the blustering winds of an "arctic blast" and an unexpected snowstorm to make you want to hunker down, all cozy-like.  That's what's happening here tonight, and Kyle and I've already expressed to each other how much we'll miss that howling sound down our chimney and around the corners of our backyard when we move.

We've had an ordinary day today - napping, strolling, grocery-shopping - except for one extraordinary moment of which I'm fixing to tell.

This "being 2-years-old" business feels so fresh to me.  I guess I got kind of blindsided because I gave birth to a new baby a few months before Meggie's second birthday.  Now, I do remember well the "new born baby time warp" that happened after Meggie - where I don't even remember September and October and then there we were at Christmas and I had a four month old.  But, it was just the three of us then.  Kyle and I were so absorbed in our only baby girl that the time warp was ok.

This time, though, I feel like I really missed the passage of time in regards to our oldest baby.  As in, before AV we had our baby, Meggie, and then six months later I've caught my breath, looked up, and here we are with our two-year-old, Meggie.

What it's marked by in our house is grand swings of emotions.  Big, loud: "No NO Nos" and emphatic: "Whoa Whoa WHOAs" and thrashing: "I DO IT BY SELFs!"  Wild, body swings onto the floor.  Gulping, sobbing, unintelligible screams.  She can do so much and yet still needs so much.  Frustrations.  Disappointments.

And, even though there are just as often moments of brilliance...Of incredible cuteness and pertness and lovely smiles and astounding discovery.  Where she says these phrases and my mama heart swells and I can't get enough of her and I think:  I'm really doing something good, here...

...most days it feels like the battle lines are drawn.

I want her to do what I want her to do...and she wants to do NOT what I want her to do.

And on those days it takes a herculean effort for me to remember that I'm the adult and not the 2-year-old, screaming.

Today, something momentous happened.  Meggie girl'd been up for hours.  Kyle told me at dinner that she pulls back her blinds every morning and waves him bye-bye.  Which means that she's awake at least before 6:00.

I knew she was tired.  By 9:00 this morning, she was stumbling over her feet.  When it was time for naps, she was barely walking a straight line.  I had put AV down a little earlier, and had Meggie all to myself.  I snuggled down into her big, brown rocking chair and pulled her up into my lap.  For the first time in a long time, she didn't thrash or kick or squirm away, my independent girl.

She let me wrap her up in our soft, "Big Bah-Bah" and tuck her head into my shoulder.  She asked me to sing "Sanctuary" and then "Be Thou My Vision" again and again.  We rocked together.  I closed my eyes, the warmth of her gangly body and the whispies of her hair lulling even me.  When I opened them again, she was asleep in my arms.  For the first time in a long time, I held her still frame and studied her long eyelashes, fluttering against her rosy cheeks.

For the first time in a long time, I saw my baby in my 2-year-old's face.  I realized: she still needs me.  This big girl, she still needs me.  And, she still needs to be the baby sometimes.  She still needs the cuddles - despite the I do it by selfs.  It felt just like the old days when we spent all of our time together, uninterrupted.  It's been a long six months for her, too.

And, then, for the first time in a long time, as I held her surrendered in sleep, it felt like we were again on the same team, working for the same purpose.  Of growing and urging and pointing out the right way.  And, oh Lord, I remembered that You knew that we needed each other - exactly as we are for each other - to teach each other.  He who gave us to each other in His perfect timing has begun a good work in me and in her and will not stop until it's accomplished.  A holy work.

Through two-years-old, we're being refined together, needing each other together.  I think she and I both needed that encouragement today.

And it made me remember what I vowed to do and be for her, when I was a first-time parent and she was my only little one to love, and when the emphasis then wasn't so much on refining as it was on learning, cherishing.  For the first time in a long time, I remembered how much we've already been through together and the purpose in what lies ahead.  I stayed with her for several minutes relishing her sleepy weight.  When I finally laid her down, tucking the blankets around her, I whispered, "thank you, God, for creating Meggie.  Thank you for giving her to me and trusting her to my care." 

For the first time in a long time, the 2-year-old hard felt worth the labor.   

She is worth the labor.

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