Lessons from my Littles

by Kristi Van Dyk in

There's no point in masking it - anyone who knows me well can see it: we're stressed.I've been commuting to work 2 days a week for 4 months WITH the kids in tow; Steve has been commuting for almost 1 month now, daily. We've been freshening up our house for sale - amidst the busy lives of 3 precious ones, WHILE we're both learning these new jobs. Emotionally, I'm spent. I don't like goodbyes - and there is a big one pending. At the same time, there are plenty of hellos to say when we do finally sell/buy and move it all. I can see that it's taking its toll on the kids too. They're tired - they miss more naps because our schedule is crazy (our schedule is usually crazy but this is a monster all its own).  I do things like have them skip Weds night church (and miss my Bible study) because the kids are simply too exhausted to function. We even had a skip school day because I'm sure Kayleigh would have been too much trouble for the Maestras at school.

But, if I really take time to reflect ... even if its just a few minutes while waiting in a traffic jam on 131 ... there are some incredible lessons in this time of our life.

Each child is a gift for just this moment in time I love our babies. I believe they are a treasure, specifically gifted to Steve and I, from our gracious Lord. But what astounds me is that it seems all three of them were made for me - in this moment - in this time of life ... specifically as they are.

a. Kayleigh Elaine - My first born is head strong, and in my negativity sometimes, I can see her as "difficult." But that head strong, independent nature, with a keen mind for details, saves me more often than I'd like to admit. Just yesterday, I was in a whirlwind getting everyone out of the house - trying to keep it tidy in case we got a showing while everyone was in Holland. I'm dressing the baby, finishing the systematic packing of the van, calling over my shoulder for the only kid who can dress herself to please hurry up ... and there I see her ... standing on the tile: boots dripping water all over, coat zipper stuck, hat on the top of her head, backpack sliding down her shoulders, barely able to walk...as she carries my leather laptop bag. "Mommy, you can't forget this! How would you work?" Or the other morning as I'm scrambling to get the little kids to the babysitter so that I can help at Pre-School - We're loaded down with diaper bags, pull ups for the potty training son, a cooler for the school snack, snacks for the little ones and a fully dressed for school Kayleigh. I'm about to slam the door closed to block IN the escaping cat when a tiny voice says, "Mom, don't you need your keys???" (as she points to them -  still on the counter - narrowly avoiding a locked out of the house disaster).

My headstrong, independent child, who sometimes tests my patience  is the one who saves me from yet another disaster of my own making.

What a gift from God!

b. Benjamin Steven - My middle man is in the depths of "two year old tantrums" and all that that implies. He's resisting potty training (not surprising considering our lifestyle right now), but he is making progress. He struggles to get along with other little boys - and often instigates some knock down drag out nasty fights with his big sister. BUT more often than not, even when I'm really frustrated or stressed - this little man can fix it. He has one liners that make you laugh out loud and he has a keen sense of just when Mommy needs cheering up.

Last night as I pulled onto the freeway for our return trip home he says, "Aww man, the freeway again? I wanted to take the back roads!" Or the other night, as we sat down for dinner - without Daddy, yet - he looks at my tired eyes (as I balance the baby and try to eat pasta while its warm), "Momma, thank you for my dinner! And thank you for my milk. And thank you for my toys. And thank you for my hugs!!! I love you, Momma!"

So little middle man might be super emotional - causing big fits of anger, but that passion creates a tenderness and sensitivity that gives me the boost I need to survive another day! 

What a gift from God!

c. Madeleine Mae - Sweet baby Maddie - who God blessed with a gentle, quiet spirit. I'm not exaggerating when I say she cries, truly gets upset, MAYBE one time per day. There are times when I'll check on her to find her simply laying peacefully, wide awake, in her crib - happily looking about. Not a sound came from the monitor for an hour or so - so who knows how long she sat alone and simply took it all in ... Maddie is beginning to form happy squeals and carry on "conversations." But, she's shy about it - always preferring to have her Mommy to herself before speaking. So, in the early hours of the morning when I'm awake to work - she's next to me, chatting happily - just to remind me that someone is there.

Maddie's contented nature makes our life right now possible. Some days we have to eat lunch at 10:30 or 11:00 a.m., and we don't get home until after 3. She happily takes whatever she's given and waits until we have a chance for feeding again. There are days when the roads are nasty and we don't get home from Zeeland until 6:45 or 7:00 ... Although that's typically prep for bed time, she waits as patiently as possible (Sometimes she shouts at me a bit... but considering her situation its amazingly calm). I know she's just a baby and isn't consciously teaching me anything, but what peace and trust her disposition shows. "I know you'll get to me Mom. We'll get our time. I trust you, and I'm okay with that." What if I had that attitude ... that attitude about selling our house - about ending this commute - about living our life in haphazard fashion. "You know my needs, God. I'm sure you have a plan. I trust you, and I'm okay with that."

What a gift from God. 

If you're still with me, thanks for "listening" as I journal these precious thoughts. Its important to me when I look back on this time in our life - that I trace through the beauty in the simple things and remember the lessons. I don't want to look back and remember that I was simply stressed out and exhausted and overwhelmed - because there's so much more to it than that.