I am pregnant! Yes, early pregnant, with our fourth child! What?! I can hardly believe it myself. Once I get beyond the blahs and ickyness, I’ll be a little more excited. For now, it just means that my food is continuously stuck in my throat and nothing sounds good to eat. I have bouts of post marathon like exhaustion. And a 21 month old crawling all over me while I lay on the couch is not as relaxing as it sounds.

It means that my angry voice comes out a lot more often and my dog is spending a lot more time in the garage. (Sorry Abby.) You think I’d be kinder to the lone female in the household besides myself, but when that female is a 90 lb lab shedding gobs of black hair all over the house and eating the kids’ quesadillas seconds after I set them on the table, I hope you understand.

Can’t deal. One more thing. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, for the next nine months, Abby will be that straw. Poor gal. It’s a good thing she doesn’t take it personally.

This is the fourth pregnancy Abby’s seen me through, and honestly, it’s a miracle she’s still with us. I’m sure she feels the same.

But enough about dogs.

It’s not really fun being “early pregnant.” You feel like crap, and your feeling like crap unfortunately spills over onto everyone else. You are short tempered, irritable, grumpy, uncomfortable and because of this sometimes you get more upset than you should about your son running around singing, “the poop is loose” (whatever that means) instead of getting dressed.

Your house is a mess and you have not the energy nor the will power to clean it. Desire, yes, but ability? Capacity? Stamina? Nope. Perhaps this is the worst part of the whole deal. There is nothing more frustrating than unmet desire, is there not? If-I-could-on-ly-get-off-the-couch-and-un-load-the-dish-wash-er-then-my-life-would-be-bet-ter…But I can’t. You just can’t.

So you sit and cry about it and feel overwhelmed. I mean what else is there to do?

Or is this just my experience? I hope not.

But then I read this, and all the feelings of my overwhelming need for perfection in me and my home subsided. My friend posted an Erma Bombeck quote and as I read it my eyes immediately swelled with tears.

“If I had my life to live over again? I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said ‘Later now get washed up for dinner.’ There would have been more I love yous, more I’m sorrys, but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it, live it, and never give it back.”

Sigh.

Motherhood. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Or maybe, for the toys. It’s so easy for me to look at my own life and see the chaos, without seeing the masterpiece being created out of it, in it, through it. So I sit and cry about spilt milk, rather than look up and see the hands that made milk and made me. The hands that are from everlasting to everlasting. The hands that are there to comfort, to guide, to hold. The hands that never sleep. The ones that are writing my story. No not mine. His.

Those tears were tears of conviction and relief (and partially pregnancy). All these things I am worried about: the endless supply of toys that litter our house, the dirty dishes fanning out from the sink, the literal dirt sprinkled across our patio, the rollie pollies that have rolled out of hands and disappeared into the fibers of our living room rug, all these things, are really NOT a big deal. And even though sometimes it feels like it, they are not the defining moments of my life, or the lives of my kids. There is something much greater at work in these crazy moments of motherhood. Life. My life. The one and only life I will ever be given. And one day all too soon I will only have mushy memories of sticky floors and dirty patios and rollie pollies. Am I “seizing every minute” of it?

At this time in my life, I hardly have time to sit and ponder what I would do differently if I were given another shot at life.  So I needed Erma and her bird’s eye view to tell me.

I’m so grateful she did.

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