Two tiny feet kicked against the side of the bassinet as I rolled over and groped around blindly for my phone. It was 3:45 in the morning and from the frantic whimpers coming from the side of my bed it was apparently also time for breakfast.
I picked the baby up and laid him snug against my side. He shimmied his little body up next to mine, twirling my hair in his fist as he nursed. We stayed like that for awhile, all cuddled up to one another as he stared at me with unblinking wide eyes. I marveled at him under the reflection of stars that twinkled down us in rotation from his sound machine projector. I traced my finger along the ski-jump curve of his nose and across the chub of his cheeks as his lashes fluttered against the crook of my arm.
He reached up and stroked my face with splayed out fingers. I brushed kisses across the down of his forehead.
“This is it,” I thought to myself, “This is what everyone tells you to savor, not to blink and miss.”
I was savoring. I was exhausted but I was savoring.
He took my face in his chubby hands and pulled it down close to his, rubbing his nose against my cheeks and squealing softly.
“Hi bubba,” I said, all nose to nose and feeling overwhelmed with love and the awe of motherhood.
And he smiled wide back at me and then vomited straight into my mouth.
INTO MY MOUTH, Y’ALL.
Into. My. Mouth.
And that is the story of how at 4:25 in the morning I half flung my sweet angel baby at my sleeping husband and drank half a bottle of mouthwash in the shower.
“The glory of motherhood comes camouflaged in so much chaos.”
Chaos for me looks like piles of paperwork on my desk and piles of dishes in the sink and scrubbing spit up at of my hair in the middle of the night. The truth is, as Scarlette has gotten older I had sort of forgotten how hard it is to do good work when you have tiny little humans needing so much from you at any given moment.
I had forgotten how much it can be to carry out your kingdom callings simultaneously; the daily striving to bring both of the beautiful works I am blessed with in writing and family life to a fruitful completion.
I had also forgotten that you should always keep your mouth closed when giving your darling baby eskimo kisses right after they eat.
And then this morning, a new friend sent me this sweet note on Facebook: “Isaiah 46:4 says, “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” I hope you can feel Him carry you as you live out where He has called you as a mama.”
That was just the lift I needed, that small reminder to pause, and savor, and remember what sustains me. It’s faith and family and friends and fellowship and, after a night like that one, salted caramel mocha frappuccinos.
(You can download the above 8×10 print here: sustain)
(P.S. If you’re a working mama who feels stretched too thin, check out this resource from my friend Jessica Turner. She’s the author of the best-selling book The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You and she’s created this great free video series for working moms along with a course and special Facebook community group where you can share, get support and find fellowship.)