overcoming mommy guilt: a little moment with a lot of love.

As we were lying in bed last night, I confessed to Jonny that sometimes I don’t feel like a good enough mom. I love our little guy beyond words, and sometimes I feel like he deserves more.

That I should do more.

Create more learning activities. Make healthier food. Be more organized. The list goes on.

Like the awesome husband (and dad) that he is, Jonny reminded me that the best thing I can do for Joseph is ensure that he knows he is loved.

That by just doing our best to love, we are doing OK.

Serving more vegetables and creating a learning environment is great, but so are cuddles and hugs and high-fives and reminding your child that you love him, no matter what.

I fell asleep praying that above all else, I would radiate love. That Joseph would feel and know unconditional love.

This morning, our little two-year-old was watching Thomas the Train in the living room as I got ready in our room. I was putting on my shirt when Joseph threw open the door and tromped into the room. (Still working on boundaries.)

He saw my bare tummy, and playfully smacked it. I looked at him and said, “Oh, Joseph! Remember the baby! Where’s the baby?

Baby?” he asked, looking around the room.

Remember,” I said, placing his chubby hand on my tummy, “there’s a baby growing in Mommy’s tummy.

His big brown eyes looked up at me, and I could see his gears moving.

He took a moment, and leaned over, grasping his hands around my waist.

And then he planted the sweetest, softest, and longest kiss on my little bump.

At that moment, I could feel nothing but his love.

And at that moment, I knew that he knew he was loved.

Because when you know you’re loved, love flows through you.

He’s going to be a great big brother.

matters of the heart.

I woke up this morning to big brown eyes staring at me. A round little body in dinosaur footie pajamas sprawled on my pillow. Soft, chubby fingers gently touching my face. I spent this cold February morning under warm blankets, cuddling with an astonishingly cute and incredibly curious 18-month-old.

I changed a couple of dreadfully dirty diapers. Used thousands of tissues to wipe his runny nose. Exhausted every trick convincing him to drink his apple juice.

I started this Valentine’s Day the same way I start every day. By being Joseph’s mom.

To say my heart is full is an understatement.

It’s mind-bending to remember how much my heart ached for my little boy just one year ago. 

This Valentine’s Day, as I cuddle with my son, I’m reminded that this life — and all the dull, thrilling, trying and encouraging moments that come along with it — is a profound blessing.

I’m reminded that there’s nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.

I’m reminded that the fullness that’s in my heart + of the Spirit is an unfathomable gift consistently and quietly waiting to be received.

May I never forget this simple mystery of love.

This gentle brilliance of joy.

This loud whisper of peace.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

[print featured above can be purchased here.]

There is a Joseph-size hole in my heart. An emptiness that will only be filled when my baby is home. But while I am broken, I am also full.

My heart is filled with a joy that comes from a compassionate husband, selfless friends and generous family. But most importantly, my heart brims with an overwhelming, overflowing joy from the love of a Heavenly Father who orchestrates things far greater than I can imagine. A Heavenly Father who knows what it’s like to ache with love for a child. A Heavenly Father who created love. Who is love.

So on this Valentine’s Day, my heart is simultaneously experiencing an infinite sadness and joy.

Sadness that I won’t be there to wipe my son’s tears when he is scared. To rock him and hold him on my chest until he falls asleep when he’s tired. To cuddle his chubby little body and listen to his babble when he wakes up. To hold a warm bottle and hear the sounds of him gobbling it down when he’s hungry. To sprinkle snowy baby powder over his soft mocha skin. To kiss his chubby cheeks and sing off key to him. To be his mommy.

And at the same time, I have a joy that transcends all understanding. A joy because I have an awesome God who already let me experience all of the above — a gift a lot of adoptive parents don’t receive. A joy because Joseph is an unfathomable gift. A joy because, some day, I will get to be Joseph’s mommy. Forever.