Before We Wave the White Flag...

And the poop is back, folks. I mean, I’m a mom, so I guess poop is never missing from my life, but it’s just making extra appearances.


Every kid does it at least once, and I guess it must’ve been Willa’s turn. It’s just been one of those weeks. It’s like all the floodgates were opened and the two of them were just pullin' out all the stops. I give them props for working together like that—at least they’re exhibiting cooperation and teamwork, even if it’s to overthrow the parental government and take no hostages.

I was SO close to waving the white flag today. I needed some backup, or at least some moral support, so I sent this calm request for input to my mom-in-law, aka “superwoman” today:

“I don’t understand how you’re still alive. 8 kids. EIGHT. HOW DID YOU SURVIVE IT?!!!!!!”

She quickly responded to my not-so-subtle SOS with the love, wisdom, and support that is always her M.O. She’s a saint. One piece of advice I will share, because some of you out there may be like me today, and contemplating waving the white flag….or putting your kids in boarding school….in Zimbabwe. Let’s listen and heed the advice of a wise momma who has “been there.” Here is what we’re all going to try tonight:

“Go watch her when she’s sleeping for a couple minutes and it actually helps. I know it sounds crazy but it really did help—kind of the ‘small puppy can I keep it’ syndrome.”

Yes. Let’s remember they are small. I know because of their willpower and might they seem twice the size of a grizzly bear when awake, but when they have been tranquilized by sleep, they are really very tiny. They are so small in a big world, and they are trying to figure out how to live in it. Imagine what it would be like to be a mouse in Costco. That’s what my Willa probably feels like in the world. Now she’s unusually small, but you get my drift. It would be frightening and it might make you a bit spastic and erratic. That explains a lot in my house tonight.

Let’s remember they are puppies. By that I mean that they are so fully of energy and bounce that they practically destroy a room just by entering it. Their very presence makes dirt appear and random objects become strewn all over the room. They don’t mean to. It’s not because they hate us, but because the energy they carry has been so tightly packed into such a small package it cannot be properly contained. Thus, it explodes everywhere and there is just nothing much to do about that. They will grow of it, eventually. Let’s try not to completely lose our minds until that day.

Let’s remember how tightly we held them on the day we brought them home. Let’s remember how mesmerized we were just watching their every breath and movement. Let’s remember how madly and deeply in love we fell just holding them. They are still those babies, just slightly bigger. Their eyes are open for a greater portion of the day now, and they’re capable of more—more damage and more love. Let’s remember the newness and awe and wonder we felt over them.

Before I go to bed tonight, I’m going to make a stop a couple doors away. I’m going to peer in on a little tiny “puppy” with crazy blonde curls, sleeping away. I’m going to tuck her in again to the “nest” she made on the floor while her huge bed sits empty. (She’s going through a phase where she wants to sleep on the floor with pillows surrounding her, and even now as I write this post I’m figuring out why. She’s tiny. Her bed is big. She wants to feel cozy and secure.) I’m going to breathe slowly, quietly, and watch her do the same. I’m going to remind myself that even though it feels like an all-out civil war sometimes, we are actually on the same team. I’m here to teach her, yes, but also to cheer her on and help her discover who she is and how she will change this world, because she will. She is strong. Phew, lawdy. Strong doesn’t even begin to cover it. But it is her strength that will shine in the years to come. For now I will watch her sleep and love her and whisper silent prayers in the darkness--prayers for her future far off, and prayers for tomorrow.