Is there anything worse than being three years old and having your mom make you get out of the bath? In my toddlers world, the answer to that question is an emphatic NO.
This day was no different. I was trying everything I could think of to keep the insanity to a minimum. “It’s no fun to be cold, is it?” I said, drying her off and praising her for doing a good job. She really was doing an excellent job. But I could tell being cold and wet was getting to her and a meltdown was imminent.
“Robe, please,” she shivered.
“Let’s get your underpants and pajamas on first, my girl.”
Then suddenly, out of nowhere she inhaled “heee” and exhaled a guttural “ahhhh”. I realized this was the moment we’d been working towards for months. Deep breaths in and deep breaths out to calm down in a difficult situation. What else could I do? I followed her lead. There we were, sitting on the floor of the bathroom breathing in and out like a couple of asthmatic hyenas.
“Is everything okay up there!?” My husband shouted from the living room.
“Yes, heeee, everything is fine, ahhhh!” I shouted back.
That day, we made it through putting on pajamas, her Wonder Woman bathrobe, and brushing her hair while engaged in our unusual deep breathing exercise. My daughter may have been the one wearing the Wonder Woman robe, but I was the one that felt like Wonder Woman after bath time.
Anne gives herself freely to each emotion as it passes through her psyche. Surrendering completely, into the depths of despair or the heights of ecstasy.
Marilla is afraid to feel. A life of hard experiences has taught her not to expect too much, lest she be disappointed. Her moments of passion have led to some of her biggest regrets.
Sometimes I am Anne and sometimes I am Marilla. Often I am nervous to give in completely. In some ways this is good. As an adult I need to function on a day-to-day basis and one can’t do that very well in the depths of despair. In other ways it is terrible. I struggle to give in to the sweet moments that come, moments saturated with love and safety.
When I get excited about something, echoes of “next time dad gets paid” ring through my head and I remember all the “next times” that never came. The clothes that didn’t fit, the activities I didn’t even ask to participate in. Other times I remember being on the giving end of a Secret Santa and I struggle to express how excited I get to be able to do the same for another struggling family.
The blessings of being a mother to daughters that feel deeply are not lost on me. They show me every day that you can give in to those feelings and still be worthy of love. I know this because they have my love. Every day I find it easier and easier to give in to my highs and lows, to feel them fully. During these times, I am Anne. Feeling the delights of extreme happiness and the depth of sorrow or grief.
Where do you find yourself? Are you mostly Anne, mostly Marilla, or somewhere in between?
This past Tuesday we were fortunate to go “up north” to Nateanite’s family cabin. E and I spent way too much time in the lake, particularly for the amount of sunblock we had on (thankfully the girls didn’t get burned).
As I’ve moved through this parenthood journey I have looked forward to the lazy days of summer with mixed feelings. But this photo of E during out boat ride (we even got to do a water rescue and pretend to be Zuma!) captures the beauty of these “lazy” days.
I generally think of myself as a serious person. Anybody who has read this gem knows that this self-impression is 100% false. I have serious thoughts and I take important things seriously, but I really am pretty goofy at heart.
Embracing these dichotomies about myself, for my post this week I’ve added a little poem to this fabulous photo my Nine Kopfer. This is similar to the regular, everyday, little rhymes that are just a regular part of life when you have little kids.