She snagged my phone from the bedside table while I was getting ready for the day. When I finally discovered her schemes, she was standing in my room, head bowed over my phone, adjusting the filter on a foot-selfie she had just snapped.
Y’all, she’s two.
A few days later I went through my phone to delete the nonsensical, unnecessary photos that somehow always end up there (ahem, toddlers), and I just couldn’t bring myself to delete all of her ridiculous pictures. There was something about those little feet I wanted to remember.
Because I know one day they won’t be able to fit in the palm of my hand. One day they will be too stinky for me to kiss. One day they will wear heels or cleats or ballet slippers. Maybe even one day they will travel distant lands and stand on exotic shores. I sure hope so.
But I mainly kept this picture because I want to remember the epic battles we have with her about shoes. No, not battles over which shoes she can wear. Our battles are over wearing shoes. Period. She really hates shoes, and I mean hates. Like throw-across-the-room-with-a-disdainful, offended-NOOOOOO kind of hate. And as much as I dread putting her in shoes every day, I also really love this about her. She just wants her little feet to live free.
I hope she never grows out of that spirit. Though, I must admit, I really do hope she grows to appreciate shoes. Otherwise I may go gray sooner rather than later.
But you know, maybe that’s why I love this picture so much. Because it’s a reminder of the beautiful paradox of parenthood: the frazzled seasons are the fullest.
The frazzled seasons are bursting full with love in all its mess and complexity and breathtaking beauty.
I know a 94-year-old woman who – upon seeing my exhausted face and hearing of my sleepless nights – once said to me: My mother used to say, “Your sacrificing years are the best ones, so don’t complain.” And her loving, knowing smile spoke volumes of the wisdom within her, and I knew she was right.
These are certainly the “sacrificing years”, and its the sacrifice that makes parenting so tough. We sacrifice our time. Our money. Our hobbies. Our patience. Our money. Our sleep. Our vacation dreams. Did I mention our money? Our dinner menus. Our fashion preferences (dry shampoo and skorts, amiright?). And if that wasn’t enough, we also sacrifice our comfort and our energy as we strive to be the kind of adult we hope they will become. Yes, these are sacrificing years. And more seasoned parents assure me that this is only the beginning.
And that’s why my 94-year-old friend’s mother spoke a wisdom that survives the ages: The sacrificing years are the best ones because it’s the sacrifice that makes them so meaningful, so life-giving, so exhaustingly exhilarating.
Even more, its the sacrifice of parenthood that prepares those little feet for the adventures that await. It’s my sacrifice born of unconditional love and unmerited patience and unwavering commitment that will give those little feet the courage to put on flippers and dive to the deepest sea, to put on running shoes and finish a marathon, to put on heels and run her own business.
As I look at those little feet in my daughter’s selfie, I remember this: those little feet are carrying my little girl on an adventure to bless the world. Because of my unglamorous sacrifice of love, every single day, I get to be a part of that journey.
So I won’t complain.
One thought on “Those Little Feet (sacrifice & joy: the paradox of parenting)”
I love you Laura!!! Love 💕 those little feet…. Wowo
On Wed, May 23, 2018 at 7:02 AM Still a Beautiful World wrote:
> Laura Johnson posted: “She snagged my phone from the bedside table while I > was getting ready for the day. When I finally discovered her schemes, she > was standing in my room, head bowed over my phone, adjusting the filter on > a foot-selfie she had just snapped. Y’all, she’s two” >