Friday night tends to be “‘movie night” for our family. It’s the only night of the week my husband is home at a regular and consistent time and because we don’t watch a lot of television, the kids look forward to it all week. Tonight all of us sat together, curled under a blanket on the couch, eating popcorn just like so many Fridays before. But this time while all of them were watching the movie, I found myself watching all of them instead. Their facial reactions, their whole belly laughs, how they looked nervous during scary parts, smiled when something great happened to the characters, and angry about negative scenes. I made a memory I will not soon forget. This night; this moment with my kids and my husband; my heart felt more full than it has in a long time. Being a wife and a mom has made me happier than I could have ever imagined.
Sure, there are days when I easily think I am failing at being a parent. When my toddler has put more bite marks on my arm than I care to admit and my other child is talking back as if he is a lawyer at age 4. Some days I look in the mirror and find an unrecognizable tired zombie looking back at me. I remember before kids how we could sleep in, go away on a whim, eat at fancy restaurants and look equally as good as we felt. But with all of that reminiscing, it’s easy to oversee the beautiful gift right in front of you.
The truth is, I wouldn’t trade anything in the world to be back there in comparison to my life with my husband and my children today. I look at them and I know it’s all worth it without a hesitation. Being in love with my husband is the best love I could have ever imagined and then the love you feel once becoming a parent is indescribable. Our kids are incredible, unique and fun beyond my wildest imagination. They are small reflections of us so long ago. They are my reasons to smile first thing in the morning and to give hugs and kisses before bed.
Every day that goes by, they are growing; they are getting older, smarter and more independent. My son used to not be tall enough to see over the window ledge. Now he can hand me the paper towels on the counter effortlessly. He doesn’t hold my hand very much anymore but when he does, my heart melts. My daughters still do and I find myself volunteering my hand more than I ever did before knowing it’s time being held by theirs is limited.
These phases of biting and talking back are just that; phases - small fractions of time that will soon be over. Before I know it, this house will be empty and quiet all day long while they are at school. Soon, they won’t want my attention so badly they yell at me; they will have friends they want to spend time with instead. Even our Friday movie nights will be limited with their own busy social schedules and moments like tonight will be scarce and numbered.
Raising a family with my husband is the greater adventure and the hardest job I have ever had. But for all those moments when I feel like a failure, there are the moments like tonight when my son gave me a big hug and said “I love you, Mommy. You are the best Mommy in the whole world”. Yup, that’s the best compliment I have ever received my whole life.
This Valentines Day, its not flowers and chocolate that I want. Spending quality time with my husband and my kids; time when I am truly present and can recognize all the joy they bring me is what I am looking forward to. I am a wife and a mom and I couldn’t think of better gifts than that this Valentines Day.
Sarah Navin is a cofounder at Lilladu Exchange, focusing her efforts in marketing and communications. After a decade of experience in the marketing industry and completing her Masters in Business Administration, she and her husband celebrated the birth of their first child and she decided to take a new career path of a stay at home mom. Today they have three children, Zachary age 4, Alexandria age 2 and Victoria age 4 months. In addition to her efforts for Lilladu and being a full time mom, Sarah is also on two boards for nonprofits and volunteers her marketing services for several nonprofits in her community as well.