My whole life, I’ve been extremely neat and very short on patience. Neither of these are my most admirable personality traits, but they have always ensured my house is clean, my life is organized, and things are done quickly. And then, motherhood turned me upside down.
This weekend, Penelope and I made Sunday morning waffles together. If you’ve ever cooked with a toddler, you know it is a slow and messy process.
She stood beside me at the counter, wearing pajamas and perching on a dining room chair, her bear clutched in her arm, chattering away about making waffles and using the measuring cup. I watched her and listened to her, resisting the urge to clean up behind her or do it myself.
Batter made a drippy trail from the mixing bowl to the waffle maker and she kept insisting she needed more measuring spoons. It took three times as long as it normally does to make waffles. We were laughing and listening to the radio and the kitchen was warm and smelled like Sunday breakfast. Over and over, she exclaimed, “Pelope and Mommy making waffles!”
I felt a little bit like I was outside of my body watching us, knowing in my heart that this was it. That this sweet, ordinary, destroying-my-kitchen morning wasn’t to be taken for granted. It was what I waited for.
It took seventeen months for me to get pregnant with Penelope. Short in the scheme of infertility for many, but an eternity when you are the one in the thick of it. During that time, I would hear people complaining all day long about their kids, counting down the minutes until bedtime. I told myself, if I was lucky enough to have a baby, I would never be like that.
And, then I had a baby. And the truth is, motherhood is frustrating and exhausting and all-consuming. It is messy. There is no rushing. There are moments where I would pay someone one hundred dollars for five minutes by myself. I know now where those people were coming from. It is easy to find reasons to complain.
But, I know the alternative, too. I know how it feels to want so desperately the exact moments of my ordinary, every day life now. To feel like I would pay someone all the money I will ever have to have a little person stand beside me and dump waffle batter on my counter.
Somehow, I was lucky enough to get just that. And, when I feel the urge to rush, to complain, to race through and wish it away for a time that is neater, more efficient, quieter, less demanding, more mine, I ask myself, for what?
I had that time, and it didn’t hold a candle to this one.
Celebrate the joy, friends.