Still my small babe

I feel like I say this often- I realize how big my girls are getting. How grown up they’re becoming. I see it on a daily basis, with the “I can do it’s” or the “can I try?” or the clothes that suddenly no longer fit or with new skills they continue to master. I see how quickly they are growing up every day. But, on the flipside? It’s not often that I am reminded how little they are, but when I am, it pulls at my heart in a way I just can’t explain.

I had a moment like that with Addison the other day and it made me cry, real, legitimate tears.

These last couple of months have been trying, to say the least. There is a lot of personal stress perfectly timed with Addison going through a fiercely independent, big emotion-fueled stage. She has decided to all but kick her naps (I’m talking one every 10 business days, if we’re lucky), which makes the days feel that much longer.

I love my kids, don’t get me wrong. I love them more than anything else in this world and there’s not a thing I wouldn’t do for them. But… mama needs that midday break. I thought we were getting close to both girls being on the same nap schedule so that I could have a child-free moment to my day here shortly. It seems fitting that Addison gave that the old middle finger almost as soon as I thought it and decided she didn’t need naps anymore.

She has also been testing limits. Instead of just taking “no” as just that, she requires it to be said about 800 more times before she melts down and is then able to move on.

She is learning about the world around her and is trying to make sense of everything and I know that. But with that curiosity, comes about 3000 questions before 9am. The girl has questions about everything. Questions about questions. Questions she knows the answers to but wants to ask anyway (to test me? I’m not sure.). The same question 14 times in a row- that has to be my favorite.

All this to say, this stage with her has been…. TOUGH.

I end my days feeling utterly and completely exhausted lately, and then wake up and do it all again the next day.

All this to say, it is easy for me to get lost in the fact that she is growing up because I see it so clearly (and sometimes painfully) every day.

But the other day was a different story.

We went to Fort Worth to help celebrate Landry’s birthday. We left in the morning after getting the girls up, fed a little and dressed and didn’t end up getting there until about 1pm. We had a great time- ate some food, bounced on a bounce house, watched our favorite girl open some presents, spent time with family…. We lost track of time and didn’t end up leaving to head back home until 6pm. Y’all. It’s a 3-hour drive, best case scenario. There’s not a world where we leave Fort Worth at 6 and make it home in time for the girls’ bedtime at 7. Oops.

We committed to it being a miserable car ride because the girls do NOT sleep in their car seats. And you know what? It was. It was miserable. Meredith cried because she was tired and couldn’t get comfortable for the first two hours. Addison was a champ until about 8:30 and then the exhaustion kicked in. She couldn’t find a way to comfortable either and she fussed about it, telling me frequently that she just “needed a hug from mama.”

I did my best to console her as we were going 75MPH down the highway by holding her hand and rubbing her arm with my thumb. That seemed to do the trick because she used her whole little toddler hand and wrapped it around my pointer finger and fell asleep. She held my hand like she used to when she was a baby and it UNRAVELED me. I was transported back to when she was little and would do that as we were rocking together in her chair and I cried.

You see, they grow up fast, this is true. They gain their independence and start tackling things with a little less of our help every day. And isn’t that the goal? As parents that’s what we want, right? We are trying to raise humans to be able to do things without our assistance all the time. But these moments where I see that she still needs my comfort and to wrap her little hand around my finger? It makes me realize how much she still needs me, how much I still do for her even if it isn’t as apparent anymore. And it gives my heart the fuel I need to go to battle answering her millions of questions the next day.

No one told me how hard toddlerhood would be. But no one told me how sweet it could be either.