I used to imagine what my husband and I would be like when we had our first child.
We would be parents who didn’t act like “parents.” We would be COOL PARENTS.
We wouldn’t let our kid become the center of our universe.
Our house wouldn’t be taken over with blocks and trains and dolls. We would relegate all of that “stuff” to a small, designated area. I would not be that parent who talks about their kid incessantly, or who’s social media is a gigantic, glaring spotlight on their kid, or who arranges their free time around their child’s schedule and activities.
The time has come and I’ve had to eat all of those words. Every. Last. Crumb.
Have you seen the State Farm commercial that shows a couple going through a typical life progression?
The husband states, “We are never having kids.” The wife’s in labor in the very next shot.
“We are never moving to the suburbs.” And then there he is, trimming the hedges.
My favorite part is when the exasperated dad says, “we are never having another kid” and the mom doesn’t skip a beat as she unceremoniously announces, “I’m pregnant.”
It’s hysterical because it’s TRUE. Kids have a way of turning our “nevers” into “next week” as they infiltrate every part of our lives.
You don’t really see it coming, but before you know it, they take over every priority we thought we had, and the really insane part is? We don’t even care. (Well, most of the time. haha).
I’m convinced that if we’re doing this parenting thing right at all, we will be consumed.
The very nature of good parenting requires you to be all in.
I began learning a lesson on day one of motherhood, and every day since I discover it in a new way. The other day as I walked by my handprint-covered dishwasher, I was reminded again:
Our babies leave fingerprints all over our lives. You can’t compartmentalize this level of devotion to another person. There is no way my life could look the same as it did before. I can fight it….or, I can immerse myself unapologetically in the crazy-amazing adventure of motherhood, knowing it’s worth it and it’s only for a season.
The evidence of my motherhood is inescapable. Besides my dishwasher, take my car: obviously there’s a giant carseat you can’t miss, but also a myriad of toys and books scattered in the backseat for on-the-go entertainment. I have wipes, diapers, snacks, all the necessities. Not to mention a stroller that takes up 95% of my trunk space.
Oh, and my house? There is not a room you could walk in without seeing a toy, a picture of her, a kid potty, or some other toddler paraphernalia. And you’ll probably leave with a Minnie Mouse sticker stuck to the bottom of your shoe.
Even my purse cannot escape the child takeover. Inside, I can usually find a single sock, a hair bow or three, and a diaper. Sometimes I hear a musical sound coming from my purse only to find Aven’s play cell phone hanging out in there.
More proof that a little one is near: the slobber that seems to permanently reside on the shoulder of my t-shirt.
These scenarios should probably make me cringe, but the funny thing is, they make me smile. I look around at my life and see glimpses of her all throughout and it makes me proud. All of the outward signs are simply the testimony of my heart, if only you could see in there.
That’s where you would find the fingerprints that I treasure: the ones left in invisible places.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is seen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
She’s left her mark on my perspective, my faith, my purpose, my thoughts, my understanding of my Father God, my wants, my dreams, my whole heart. Those imprints are the ones that matter, and they aren’t going anywhere. I’m forever changed.
One day, my home will be tidy(er) and quiet. My purse will be organized without the ringing of fake cell phones. My car will be clean(er) with no goldfish in the creases or sippy cups rolling around in the floorboard. Those fingerprints on my dishwasher will have long since been Windexed away.
One day, she’ll leave me and go make her mark in a thousand other places. So for now, while she is here with me, I’ll do my best to cherish everything that comes with this sweet privilege. I will encourage and embrace the handprints, both seen and unseen.
Parenting changes everything. And I’m more than okay with that.
I welcome it with a grateful heart.