Looking Back


Great things happen at Walmart.

There’s bound to be a good stranger spotting or ridiculous story to tell.

Well, this is a more tender moment, compliments of my local Walmart.

I went with my youngest daughter as I waddled around pregnant. My oldest was at preschool, and had to pick up a few items while I only had one child in the cart.

It was a “special time” outing of sorts. Nora felt grown up and I even let her walk for part of the trip. (Typically mom suicide to let a toddler loose)

I didn’t have to fight off people in the aisles…a calm morning, I guess while most people are off at work.

We wandered and joked, and she pointed out things she liked.

At one point I checked my list and said, “That’s it. We got everything!!”

Well you can’t pull much past my smart 2-year-old…she said, “Nanas!”

She reminded me we forgot to pick up the bananas. I laughed to myself, thinking, that’s so funny she’d remember that.

But silly me… I had told her that’s her job, and to distract her from something 10 minutes earlier, I said, “Ok, you’re in charge of finding the bananas!”

Anyway, her face lit up as we passed the bananas. She giggled as I put them in the cart.

OK, now we had it all.

I checked out with a young lady, no one ahead of me. I usually talk to the cashiers, because it’s Texas and that’s what you do. I told her about my three girls, and how I feel so lucky to be a mom.

I told her I’m having a hard time with names, and she told me her favorite of my five options. (I ask everyone…)

She asked if I was going to have any more kids, and I said, “Yes, probably. I came from a family of 5. I like being a mom. It teaches me everything I need to learn in life.”

She said, “Isn’t that the truth?!”

She was single, no kids of her own, but would watch her nephew every once in awhile. She said it’s a lot of work.

Of course, I agreed.

But I shared my simple testimony. I love being a mom, and I love my girls.

I think it caught her a little off guard. I’m sure she’s seen lots of unhappy moms, especially at Walmart. Yelling, nagging, or just plain stressed.

But that day I gave her a smile and told her how motherhood is beautiful. How even at Walmart with a 2-year-old can be a happy experience.

Not every trip to the store ends in this euphoric feeling. I know what it’s like to be at the end of your rope, only to have the random over-priced $5 toys being thrown in your face with begging and tears.

But, after reading an article about looking back on these days, I want to remember the good times.

It’s already passed so quickly. Carmen will be 4, and out and perusing her own interests and school. She’s connecting with friends and finding people she wants to emulate.

I want to be a mom she wants to emulate. I want her to know being a mom is the best thing ever.

I laugh and cry, just like we all do.

Just last night when my pregnant body rolled out to respond to crying girls at 3:45am, I died inside.

Not sure why my kids wake up randomly, only to be put right back to bed and fall asleep 5 minutes later. No clue. I’m not sure a full night’s sleep is something I’ll miss in the days ahead, but who knows. I’m gearing up for my newborn days ahead, so sleep is just not in the picture.

Anyway, I feel blessed to stay home with my girls.

To be there every step of the way, and to cheer them on in life. I know all moms try their best, some are away, but their hearts are never far.

My heart is here in the home, and there are so many things that are already slipping away.

As I watch old videos or see pictures of them, it feels like a dream. Time passes so quickly when measured by your children.

That’s why all older moms say, “hold on, it goes fast.” And that’s why grandmas are so wonderful.

So, here you go… My personal snapshot.

Things I will miss looking back:

  • Waking up to bed head and puffy eyes
  • Seeing what outfits Carmen comes up with, always dressed the second she pops out of bed
  • Painting nails at all random times of day, because when they go to get the nail polish and toilet paper, I can’t resist
  • Not having to set an alarm clock
  • Wiping dirty hands
  • Hearing “I love you” for the simplest things
  • Never having a quiet house
  • Being able to make everything better with a piece of candy
  • Hearing Nora say, “Me come?” or “Wait for me.”
  • Singing songs in the car together and “rocking out”
  • Having them close their eyes to  make things soooo exciting
  • Making clean up a game
  • Appearing so cool to my children because of the small things I do
  • Watching them show off their pretty hair, jammies, or outfit to their dad “Show Dad,” Nora says after getting dressed
  • FaceTime where all you can see is their eyeballs
  • Hearing the simplest reasoning for things
  • Finding Nora hiding in her room after dirtying her diaper, with the surprised look like “How did you know!?”
  • Curling the back of Nora’s hair to avoid the mullet stage
  • Finding stickers…everywhere
  • Listening to them rewatch iPhone videos of themselves over and over
  • Leaving a graham cracker out on the counter, if I have a hungry wanderer at 3am
  • Listening to endless giggles as they swing
  • Admiring their messy chalk drawings covering the cement, play structure, and deck
  • Negotiating with a 3-year-old… “How about if we read two books, then tomorrow I can have one?”
  • Singing popcorn popping on the apricot tree every. night. for scripture study
  • Hearing pretend play in the other room
  • Having helpers sit on my counter while I cook
  • Snuggling on the couch
  • Getting a kiss on each cheek from my 2-year-old to even out both sides
  • Watching Carmen perform acrobatics, Frozen, and any other talent under the sun
  • Listening to Nora say “Alma!”
  • Hearing the words you say to them, come out of their mouths
  • Getting 3-4 colored pages a day, all of them with my name on them and met with great excitement
  • Little voices asking “Mom, are you all done with your typing work?”
  • Picnics in the play house
  • Sitting and watching shows together
  • Playing with their hair
  • Watching what faces come about when you ask them to smile and say “cheese”
  • Rubbing lotion on tiny toes
  • Seeing the look of wonder as they hear an airplane or see a bird in the sky
  • The innocence of not knowing how to turn on a TV show…not sure how long this lasts
  • Always picking out the most sparkly, pink, flashy item… no matter how hard I try
  • Coming up with creative hair do’s
  • Hearing Carmen pray about Jesus on the cross and how she says, “Bless us to do a good job…” not sure where that one came from
  • Following me into the bathroom…
  • Singing Rock-a-bye-baby over and over, and if I stop, “Mom, Rock Baby!” request from Nora
  • Nora thinking she has a baby in her tummy, complete with a name
  • Bubble baths

Here’s a picture from the day it all began. The day I became a mom…


And for those who aren’t convinced about the every-day drudge, check out this great read…

“What if the Best Years of Your Life…Just Aren’t?” The author is so eloquent and I admire her article and perspective.

She says…(in part)

“Our children are the warmth that we leave in the world long after our own fires are extinguished.”

“Once kids start school, they enter a vortex from which they never return to be fully, totally ours again; time with them is negotiated around a timetable of school days, weekends, social lives, activities, term dates and holidays.

And they emerge young adults, with dreams, plans and all those forks in their own roads to navigate. Much of their journey will be done without us. We will never stand by their side as we do in those first five years.

…So for those of you fidgeting at home today with a restless baby at the breast, for those who have been interrupted by a toddler 20 times while you read this, I can promise you one thing. You will never regret the sacrifices you make for them now.”

So, check it out… “What if the Best Years of Your Life…Just Aren’t?”

and equally as great, read  “A letter to a new Mum: Give your child the best of you, but give yourself the same care.”

This author covers focusing on what you’re doing right, creating a new identity, navigating a new way of parenting, deflecting guilt, understanding complex emotions, maintaining a sense of humor, and everything else you need for a good mommy pep-talk!

“Give your baby the best of you, but also give yourself the same care. Be gentle to yourself. Find moments for solitude and reflection.

…There will be times when “good enough” parenting is all you can do to survive, and then there will be times when you thrive. Know that every stage will pass, and often all too quickly. The days can be long, but the years pass fast.”

So, there ya have it. This mom thing is no joke.

That’s why there are millions of mommy-bloggers, a hundred how-tos, countless baby pics on Instagram…

And somehow we manage to smile at the end of the day, and certainly at the end of our lives realize family is all that truly matters.



3 responses to “Looking Back

  1. Jill,
    I want you to know that I love reading this blog! It is so thought provoking and I swear I cry on every post! Thanks for being such an inspiration and for writing such beautiful words!!

  2. You have great perspective as a mother. Our children and I will forever be blessed to have you in our lives. Our girls have so much to look forward to every day because of you! Love you!

  3. LOVE this, LOVE you!!!!!!!
    I really need to remember to check in more often. Sitting down at the computer might help… sitting down in general even… hahaha. Glad we get to go through this together:)

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