...you can do things like cradle them in your arms, look them in the eyes, and "baby" them. But not so much when they're 9. Greg celebrated his birthday this week, and I was reminded again how little boys are only little for a wink and a blink.
The other night was the usual chaos where you need about 10 hands to do all the things that need to be done for bedtimes. Aaron was outside finishing tasks, and I was inside trying to put 4 children to bed at the same time. I do not recommend this.
Jonathan looked up at me with his saddest face and said, "You never have time for me anymore!" And I just about broke in half. I finally realized, "Okay. I am one woman. I have 4 children. They will all need to simply wait their turn."
I got Hope down first, then told Greg we could finish our Battleship game after everyone else was in bed. I helped Jonathan brush his teeth, gave him extra cuddle time in bed, read a short book to Daniel, put him down, then joined Greg upstairs. And the funny thing is - they seem to get it. They (hopefully) are developing patience and understanding in our family of six.
When I start to have a pity party for myself and think I'm short-changing my kids, I am always reminded that God loves them perfectly and brought them into this family for a purpose. There are struggles in each and every family, not just the ones with more than 1 or 2 kids.
And it reminds me that I am sooo not perfect and can only do the best job I know how. Giving myself grace -- as one of my friends mentioned the other day (thanks Rachel!) -- is VITAL to mothering, VITAL to living with others and growing in Christ.
I can't cradle Greg anymore, but I can cradle a couple of other kids in this house for awhile, and I plan on doing it as often as possible, as well as giving myself small doses of the grace God has lavished on me.