foot_bellyI remember way back when, okay about 8 years ago, when I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my first child. I remember setting up the nursery, lovingly folding all the teeny little onesies in a drawer; my husband and I tossed names back and forth; I tenderly laid a couple of stuffed animals in the crib; I thought about holding her for the very first time.

I knew it wouldn’t be perfect. I knew that there would be midnight feedings. I knew there would be poopy diapers. I knew there would be terrible twos, and terrible threes, and precocious fours.

Boy, I didn’t know all the things I didn’t know.

Oh, all the things I know NOW.

  • I know that the best thing for getting gum out of hair is peanut butter.
  • I know how important it is to always have a backup pacifier.
  • I know what it’s like to drive to Walmart at two o’clock in the morning for a replacement pacifier.
  • I know pennies can be eaten. And passed.
  • I know that pee and poop can travel across an entire room if you don’t change a diaper fast enough.
  • I know that puke can travel faster than the speed of sound.
  • I know that toddlers like to play in messy (and gross) things. See above.
  • I know that babies have a death grip when it comes to pulling hair.
  • I know that toddlers have a propensity for cutting hair.

But there’s more. So much more.

~ I know how sweet babies smell after a bath, and how there’s nothing like nuzzling a clean baby neck or smelling a powdery fresh baby’s head. I know how it feels when they cuddle up close and rest against you in complete and total peace. I know how my heart swells when a baby grasps my finger or clings to me while feeding.

~ I know the pride that comes with each milestone and the joy that accompanies each new discovery. I know how it feels the first time they say “momma” and the first time they reach to be picked up.

~ I know the wonder and excitement as they begin to crawl, walk, talk, run, and learn. I know what it’s like to discover each step with them and teach them the way.

~ I know what it’s like when they’re old enough to interact and converse and say “I love you,” “Come play with me,” or “I want to hold you.” I know how neat it is when they begin to color and draw and read and write.

But yet, it’s still so much more than that.

I now know what it feels like when they recite their first memory verse, talk about God and say their sweet little prayers. I also know what it feels like when they come to Christ, accepting him as their Lord and Savior. I know how it feels to see them beginning to make decisions on their own, choosing right from wrong and picking out their way.

More than that:

~ I know how my heart freezes and my breath stops each time I imagine some kind of harm that might hurt them.

~ I know how my heart aches to think about how quickly they are growing up, and how little time I really have with them.

~ I know how my heart is burdened to prepare them as best as I can for all that life will bring.

~ I know how my heart yearns for them to know God, really know God.

~ I know how my heart feels every second of the ticking clock as the sands of time slip through my fingers.

Still more?

I know that nothing else has a hold on my heart that same way that my children do. I love God first, I love my husband second, and I love my children more than anything else in this whole wide world. Because of that, I’ll keep bandaging booboos, cleaning up messes, settling arguments, disciplining disobedience, training, teaching, guiding, growing, and giving.

Imagine, just imagine, all the things that I don’t even know that I don’t know right now. Imagine all the things I’ll know in another 8 years, or 18. Imagine how sweet it’ll be to know those things then, and how fun/hard/enjoyable/amazing it will be learning them all along the way.

{Originally published May 5, 2008; Republished December 26th, 2008}

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Hey, y’all! I’m Amber and I wear many hats. I drink a ton of coffee and I’m constantly sweeping crumbs off the floor. After 18 years of homeschooling, I’m getting close to graduating my third child and now we are starting over at preschool with our fourth, Lil Miss Mouse. She keeps us young and she’s the main reason for my excessive coffee consumption. Drink up!