This week I had the privilege of taking each of my three daughters out on separate mommy/daughter lunch dates. The older two I took shopping. The youngest enjoyed a day in the sprinkler with me. Today I took my oldest, my 13 year old, out for lunch, shopping, and then ice cream. As we sat at the Olive Garden enjoying our salads and toasted ravioli together, we both fell in love with two sweet little toddlers at a table near ours. The dad looked tired. The mom looked frazzled. The little ones looked happy and oblivious. I commented to my daughter that I don't miss those days at all, as I watched the mom scramble under the table in search of a missing crayon...again. But as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I knew they weren't true. And so did my daughter. She immediately called me on it and asked me if I didn't miss the days of being able to hold her and rock her and snuggle in bed with her. Of course I do. I miss those days terribly. I miss her chubby cheeks and the sweet smell of a baby after a bath. I miss the softness of her skin and the tenderness of her coo. I miss always knowing where she is and having the ability to make every decision that concerns her. I miss her being all mine.
As the little boy across from us started stretching fried mozzarella from his mouth to his plate and his little sister began making music with her fork, their frazzled mother turned to face us as she heard our escaped giggles. "Please tell me it gets easier," she said to me with a look of fatigue on her face that every mother knows. "It does," I assured her. "And it goes by fast, so try to enjoy it."
After our lunch, Miracle and I enjoyed some shopping with a gift card her grandma sent her and then she suggested we hit up our favorite soft custard stand. I posted a picture of us on facebook and captioned it with "These special days out with my daughters are making me broke and fat - but they're worth it." And that is the truth. They are worth it. I know my girls won't be babies forever. They won't be five year olds forever. They won't be teenagers forever. God only gives us a short season to be able to have our children under our wings. I want to be intentional in cherishing every moment of it.
If you're a sleepless mom of a newborn, a frazzled mom of a toddler, a busy mom of a young child, a puzzled mom of a tween, or a worried mom of a teenager, HOLD ON. God will give you the grace that you need to get through each day...and precious memories to last a life time.