Do all things with love.
All we need is love? Really?
There is a framed print hanging in my office. A bird perches on a limb, and there's a nest with three little eggs. Above the nest, the print says, "Do ALL things with Love." When I discovered this print last winter at Hobby Lobby, I was in the process of decorating my new office, and I immediately thought of my three daughters when I saw it. Those little eggs and the mama bird on the limb seemed like a great representation of us, so I bought it and hung it right above my desk where I can see it all day.
That's the story I tell if anyone asks. In reality, I look at that print more times than I can count and think to myself, "Do ALL things with Love. Do ALL things with Love. You CAN do ALL things with Love, even if it kills you."
I love my kids more than any breath I have ever taken or will ever take and can't imagine a single second of my life without them. My girls and my husband are the center of my universe, and everything I do pretty much revolves right around them. But there are times, especially with five people living in a tiny house that only has one bathroom, that I just want to scream, "I'm trying to do All things with love over here! Help me out!"
My angels are precious, just PRECIOUS.
It is hard to stay upset with my kids.
My eight-year-old is an old soul. She understands concepts well beyond her years. She smother-mothers her sisters as if their ultimate success or failure in life is dependent on her intervention. She can also be silly and typically eight. She is beautiful and has legs up to her eyeballs. She is a fashion maven who has never hesitated to rock her own look, and she loves her stuffed animals with a love that extends far beyond reasonable boundaries.
My six-year-old is a sweet little breeze blowing through our lives with a dimpled smile and charmingly disarming blue eyes. She has the tiniest, sweetest voice, and she is very aware of her ability to charm her daddy and pretty much anyone else she encounters. She is a pleaser who would walk through the flames of Hell to spare her loved ones one moment's discomfort. She is snuggly, lovey and preciously endowed with a heart full of joy.
My two-year-old is a mischievously cute doll. She has a little round nose and lusciously long, honey-colored hair. When she smiles, she scrunches her nose, and it's as if her eyes have a smile all their own. Her laugh is infectiously amazing. She is sensitive, smart and silly, but she can burn your soul to charred bits of regret with her determination to have her own way. Just make sure she has her blanket and her thumb at the end of the day and make sure she has a bottomless cup of chocolate milk if you want to stay on her sweet side.
Oh, but that preciousness can be fleeting...
The aforementioned apples of Mama's eyes can also gnash their teeth and bark at each other with a spirit that can only be rivaled by a pack of angry, hungry, tired, threatened wolves. Don't be mistaken - they are not always my perfectly angelic, awesomely lovey little ladies. During those times when I would rather run into oncoming traffic on the interstate than have to listen to one more, "stop that" or "leave me alone," I have to remind myself how much I love these children.
Yep. I admit it. There are times I don't like my kids.
I always love them. Of course I do. I gave birth to these wonderful creatures. I am constantly amazed that of all the women on Earth I was chosen to give birth to them and to help shepherd them through this crazy world.
But dang. Those sister girls can sure get on my nerves when they get rolling.
I once told the oldest that I will always love her no matter what she does or says and nothing can ever, ever, EVER change that but that I do NOT always like her. She looked at me as if I had slapped her across the face with a razor blade and poured alcohol in the wound.
Am I wrong for being honest? Am I wrong to let my kids know that their mama is human and that I don't always like their behavior? It seems pretty important to me to be upfront with them and let them know that their behavior is grating on my nerves and that, just as they are not being perfect, I am not feeling particularly perfect at that moment either. According to Pinterest and what most people post about themselves on Facebook, I should feel dazzlingly, spectacularly motherly at all times and think my children do no wrong. In fact, I should be raising them to be perfect stars at everything they do.
Uh, no. My kids are kids. They are normal. They argue. They don't always understand everything they're taught in school as soon as it's presented. They can be selfish. They fight. They hide their mistakes and hope no one finds out.
They're kids. And guess what? I'm human, and I was a kid once, too. I understand they aren't perfect, and I need them to understand that I understand that. They need to know it about me as well.
So do it anyway.
So when those moments arrive that all three girls are on a tear and I'm pretty sure the day will end with at least two or more of us in tears and my feeling like a giant failure of a mother, I remind myself that I do love those little gripers.
And that's okay. We may gripe, and we certainly don't always get along. But at the end of the day, as long as most of what we do is with love, I guess that's all that matters. Even when we don't like each other. We may not do ALL things with love, but we do what we can. When we feel like throwing in the towel and giving up, we just have to love each other anyway.
We're family. It's what we do.