If I Had Time to Write, This Is What I’d Say…

I have things to write, you guys. Stuff to say. Some of it’s drivel, as usual, but some of it’s important.

I want to write about having a kid with special needs and what it means to live with constant, evolving grief while still looking for the joy.

I want to write about how annoying it is when people say, “You think two is hard? TWO? Just wait ’til your kid turns THREE. THAT’S hard,” because three IS worse than two — it TOTALLY IS — except when two is worse than three. And parenting teenagers is WAY, WAY HARDER than parenting littles, unless, you know, parenting littles is harder than parenting teens. 

I want to write about how our experiences and our feelings about parenting and life are valid and important even when they’re different than someone else’s experiences and feelings.

I want to write about the ways close families have to WORK and WORK to be close and to compromise and to champion and choose each other, because family — even really wonderful family — is hard. Life-giving and hard. Joyful and hard. Beautiful and hard. Because the people closest to us are the people most able to hurt us and the most motivated to help us heal, and that’s a strange, awful, awesome mixed up mess to navigate.

I want to write about farting and why 8 year old boys like to sit on their mommy’s lap and snuggle down and then let a giant one rip. Why? WHY? WHY IS IT THIS WAY?

I want to write about ages 8 and 9 so often being the gateway to preadolescence and how we never see that one coming. Just never. And so, no matter how many children we raise, we’re always blindsided by all the feelings and the oh my gosh, FREAK OUTs, and the ups and the downs… and the downs and the downs. And I want to write about how it’s worth it because these children, even with all the FEELINGS, can get themselves and all their stuff in and out of the car by themselves which is a MIRACLE. A MIRACLE! They get themselves IN AND OUT OF THE CAR, you guys. You don’t have to carry them there! You DON’T HAVE TO HELP WITH SEATBELTS. You can say things like, “Jump in the car. I’ll meet you there in a minute.” AND THEY DO IT. Do you understand what I’m saying? DO YOU?! THERE IS HOPE. Even with all the EMOTIONS and ups and downs downs downs, THESE CHILDREN CAN PUT ON THEIR OWN DARN SEATBELTS. 

Home3I want to write about my front door. How it’s dirty and scratched and stained and how the red paint has faded to a dull, fingerprinted orange. I want to tell you about how happy it makes me to write on it with a chalk pen, even though I know it’ll add another stain like the skull and crossbones you can see etched into the paint from Halloween last year. I want to talk about the joy of welcoming people to our mess this way. To the madness. To the chaos. And I want to talk about the small smile I smile when I walk through the door and remember to look for the magic here.

Home4I want to write about Autumn. About the sunset maples outside my house and the way they’ve turned orange and red.

I want to write about the changing of the seasons and how this one feels so much slower than summer and so much faster all at once with Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas barreling down upon us. I want to write about how unprepared I am for the season that’s coming and about how I don’t care and also about how I do.

I want to write about whether I can stop long enough to enjoy this season of life or whether, like I suspect, it’ll move past me in a blur. I want to write about the ways I wonder whether my writing will be a comfort to me in my later years. Will I know I at least wanted to be present? Will it be a reminder that I wasn’t somehow ignoring this life? Will I know I was just very busy trying to love my people well? To feed them literally and figuratively. To comfort them. To heal the hurts I caused. To heal the ones I didn’t. To fully live, even at the speed that is this season. 

I want to write all these things, but I can’t because I’ve run out of time. 

P.S. The kids keep getting sick. Not real sick. Not pukey sick or up-all-night sick or, heaven forbid, wash-all-the-sheets sick. No; they’re they best kind of sick, really. Snuggly sick. I-can-get-my-own-popsicle sick. Go-to-sleep-early sick. But sick nonetheless. So I don’t have time to write the things I want to write. But I will. Soon. Because sick only lasts a season, too. x’s and o’s, fellow warriors. x’s and o’s.


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14 responses to “If I Had Time to Write, This Is What I’d Say…”

  1. The seatbelts and getting into and out of the car on your own… I have hope! I still have to corral at least 1 of them after I tell him to get in the car and the other two have to be shepherded and then buckled although THEY have no figured out how to get the top halves of their bodies out of the seatbelts WHILE I am driving no matter how tight I pull them and then they whine and cry “too Tiested”
    Hope, I have hope…

  2. Beth,
    A beautiful post as always that speaks from your heart to so many other Mama’s hearts out there. You ARE enough! You are doing all you can for your family. They love you, they know you, they get you better than any one of us. Your front door is a testament to the love and magical people that inhabit that house. Embrace the life, chaos and (ahem) the farts. They CAN and DO buckle themselves! You are one lucky lady!

    Hugs to you mama xoxo

  3. Regarding the chalk on your door staining – it could be worse. About two weeks after we started renting our current house, it became apparent that every time the kitchen gets warm or steamy (ie every time we cook), the word “WANKER” reappears on the window. I don’t know wtf the previous occupant wrote it with, as it’s been two years since we moved in and no amount of scrubbing gets rid of it. I find it hilarious but my mother does not!

  4. Hi Beth,
    I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile but I’ve never commented because . . .well . . .life? Anyway, I loved this post today and decided to write you and tell you that RIGHT NOW. So yeah, thanks for giving me the hope that my 18 month will eventually be able to get herself in and out of the car all by herself, along with all her entourage and accessories. I feel you read my heart about being prepared for this upcoming season, as a relatively new mama I want to do everything to make the holidays memorable for my daughter, but I also know that it’s those unprepared, unexpected moments that we remember in the end.
    Thanks for being a kindred spirit to so many of us, and speaking the things my heart says but I am too scared to say outloud.

  5. Yes to all of it.

    Three IS hard….

    Sick is hard….thankfully we are over the puking and now onto the coughing/snot sort of sick.

    I have yet to do teens/preteens…but I am so thankful now that 3/5 kids can buckle themselves up in the car.

    Tooting is a sport and with 4 boys I doubt we’ll ever out-grow it. Our one girl is just going to need a thick skin. 🙂

  6. Thank you for this. I have been in a panicky, clawing-at-the-hard kind of place, a place which makes me sad that I don’t enjoy being with my awesome three-year-olds and mad that why the frick did no one tell me how hard being three is?? Three three-year-olds who are lovable and hilarious and oh my lord wear me out with their power struggles and conflicts and NOISE. I want to want to be with my kids again. I want to not feel utterly exhausted all the time: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually exhausted. And we’re only mildly, “I need a SNOT RAG!” kind of sick.

    My neighbor tells me that it will get better, but that light is kind of hard to see. Will it?

  7. My kids are sick, too. Is there an epidemic of colds or something? Yesterday I had to preach a sermon in a class I’m taking, and, of course, the night before someone was throwing up. Thank goodness my husband stayed home with them so I could work and go to class. And then last night I went on a run, and apparently while I was gone the whole house went to Hades in a handbag. The cat started peeing blood in places not his litter box, the drain from the house backed up and completely flooded the entire laundry room, and two of my kids were lying sick on the couch, complaining of stuffy noses and yucky stomachs when I arrived back (after their bedtimes). What is with all of that?!

  8. Yeah…my husband brought a horrible cold back from his business trip (of course), so now I get to spend my lovely crisp autumn days with smalls who cannot reach their own popsicles and don’t remember to wipe their noses on handkerchiefs and NOT THE CARPET OMG.

    And can I just point out that it is EXTREMELY difficult to parent small children while being too sick to yell?

    I like to think that this means I yell less and therefore am closer to the mother I aspire to be, but in actual fact, what it means is that I try to yell and then my voice cracks and I cough cough cough cough cough until I gag…

    Is it winter yet?

    • OMG the carpet! I get tense when they use their shirts or MY shirt!!! Not being able to yell means you can growl instead right? To my kids that is more threatening :). Feel better Mama

  9. Yes and yes and yes to all of it..

    Also, my now-three-year-old slept with me the other weekend. When she woke up, we were still in bed being silly. I was laying on my back and she hopped up and sat on my chest. She said to me “mama, you wanna see dis?” Then leaned to the side, lifting up her cheeks, and ripped off a charming little fart aimed right at my face. Can Not Tell you how hard I laughed.

    So yes to autumn leaves, and the feeling of holding tightly to something that is forever slipping away, and yes to all ages and stages in parenthood being impossibly hard and impossibly wonderful. And yes to farts.

    And yes to taking things that are faded and making the beautiful, yes to making magic in something that wasn’t before.. .whether it’s your front door or this blog.

    Thank you, as always.

  10. Thanks for sharing this Beth, because there are SO MANY THINGS I want to do right now, but my kids ARE ALL SICK (the pukey kind, the wash all the sheets kind). And I have to remember that sick is just a season. And they will all nap at the same time so I can do something other than make playdough and tummy-sensitive snacks.

  11. Dearest Beth,
    How do write from inside my head? Laughing and crying all in the same breat as i sit here waiting for my husband’s doctor’s appointment because HE is the one who is sick.
    Thank you for finding the time to write.

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