Awhile back, our daughters pediatrician told me that much of parenting is simply waving your arms around. With four kids under six at the time, that certainly seemed to ring true!
There were years on end, where I was changing diapers and nursing while simultaneously eating a whole chicken breast off the end of a fork. Who had time to cut it up, or another hand to do so? Laundry, dishes, meal-prep, clean up, activity set up, helping kids get on and off bikes and trikes and juggling the nap schedule, all of this sure seemed like a LOT of arm waving to me!
But later, after he had given his medical synopsis on each of our four precious little ones he said, “They all are thriving and look great.” Though much of parenting is arms waving in the air, or hands gasping over one’s mouth in disbelief of what act your child did or did not do, he reminded me of something so significant. “Let your arms do the most meaningful things first.” I remember standing in the doorway of his pediatric office, two kids in my arms and two holding onto my legs, all four with handfuls of sugarless (are we sure about that?) lollipops, looking at him and thinking, “Can you help me find my keys? I’m obviously out of arms!!!”
For years since then, I have thought about this statement over and over. I think about it every time someone says, “You sure have your hands full!” I think about it every time someone asks, “Are all those children, gulp- YOuRS??!” I think about his pediatric assertion every time someone says, “Your days must be full, and so must your hands!” And quite honestly, these statements used to drive me to the crazy!…(to borrow a line from our 11 yr old!)
But over the years, and ever so gently and slowly, I have come to understand what this tender-hearted pediatrician meant. And why these statements hold so much warm meaning to me now.
And here’s what I deduce.
Let your arms hug, hold tight, nourish and cleanse your little ones. Let them do this before you clean, prepare or get organized.
Let your arms fall over the shoulders of the children in deep pride and love, before they pick up a backpack or duffel bag and bid that child off for an activity of any sort.
Allow your arms to drop onto a yoga mat or lap someone in the pool, so you can refuel your cup and be the mom you love being for your children.
Let your arms wrap up your toddler in a huge blanket, cuddle them in next to you, and fall asleep with them, instead of trying to catch up on house chores, which are the busy arms archenemy anyhow. 😉
Let your arms support your body as they lean on your own knees to meet your child at eye level while they share their important stories, whether they be true or not!
Let those arms become T-Rex mini limbs as you toggle between playing dinosaur and being a wild mustang.
Let those arms pull you up by your own bootstraps and choose a good attitude even when you are exhausted.
And let those arms, of your own children embrace you when you are feeling low and worn down by life. Let their arms lift your spirit.
Let those arms, those mom-tough arms, brush hair, wipe faces clean, cover bruised knees with fancy bandages, hover over budding tweens when doing homework, and hold the little faces of your children before anything else gets done.
Because in the end, those waving arms can serve a purpose. And that’s to choose that your children are only your little children for a short period of time.
“Are all those – gulp- yours??!!”
“Yes,” I beam. “They are all mine.”
— “There is a name, it’s called, The Childhood phase- and sadly it passes fast. ” Charlotte’s Web.