I posted this picture on Instagram last weekend…

jack-and-mamaIt was an iPhone pic. Nothing fancy. We were in our yard, about to go to dinner.

The caption read: “This kid melts me. He picked out his own clothes (like Daddy’s) for our date. Carefully selected McAlister’s as his eatery of choice. Held open the door. Winked at me from across the table. We played I Spy, chose dinosaur names for each other, and polished off dinner by splitting a sugar cookie. Parenting is no walk in the park, but there sure are moments that shine.”

And it really was buckets of preciousness. He’s so clever; so thoughtful. I die at his hearty laugh, still somewhat babyish cheeks, and milk-chocolatey eyes.

But—I kid you not—five minutes after getting home and posting about such adorableness…


Thankfully outside, but alllllllll over himself and the steps to our house nonetheless.

After getting him cleaned up, into jammies, and onto some fresh sheets that stretched out and tucked over the couch (with a small trashcan—just in case), I went out to deal with the damage.

As I was scraping chunks of half-digested food into a plastic Walmart sack and rinsing the “excess” onto the grass with a garden hose, it started ferociously pouring cats and dogs all over my completely dry self. Would you believe it? I was drenched from head to toe.

Thanks, God, for picking that exact time to bring the rain.

But isn’t it entertaining how a mere 30 minutes earlier I had posted that cute little moment for all the world to see? And though I didn’t know what was coming (he’d been acting fine all day), I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony.

Because parenthood is awesome and beautiful, but also a nonstop rollercoaster—just like ALL OF LIFE. Things can be peachy and wonderful, then flipped sideways and upside-down in the very next breath. It can be the best of times and the worst of times, all within half an hour. You might be dancing gracefully one minute, and stomping on each other’s toes the next.

There’s always a behind-the-scenes. Always a backstory. Always more joy than the highlight reel can capture, and sometimes more ache than what can be documented. There are moments that catch you by happy-surprise, and moments that are far from “the plan.”

And you know what? IT’S OKAY. That’s part of real life.

And while this isn’t some huge revelation or epiphany, it’s something we all need to hear and remember. Because we’re quick to get discouraged when life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, aren’t we? But who ever told us it would be? Hollywood, social media, and our own preconceived ideas can twist reality into something it never was in the first place.

Sometimes there are tears and laughter, mourning and dancing, bitter and sweet, chaos and beauty. More often than not—it’s both.

Which is why I think a toast is in order, in the middle of the everyday mundane, as we head into the weekend.

So. Here’s to you, Mama, covered in some concoction of spit-up/snot/mushed bananas. Here’s to you, Mama, pumping in a (hopefully) locked conference room at work. Here’s to you, Mama, searching for that lost lovey/pacifier/sippy cup. Here’s to you, Mama, making lunches in stilettos while taking a business call. Here’s to you, Mama, tossing nuggets into the back seat in route to soccer/gymnastics/piano/karate/basketball practice. Here’s to you, Mama, just trying to survive your fiery toddler (you can start with this letter—written just for you). Here’s to you, Mama, wishing the carpool line would HURRY UP ALREADY. Here’s to you, Mama, working your tail off and making ends meet and still creating space for the silly voices at bedtime. Here’s to you, Mama, fired up and ready to love your people all weekend. Here’s to you, Mama, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever it is you’re going through.

To you I raise my coffee mug. May your day be filled with a million bear hugs, zero amounts of throw-up, and an extra shot of espresso.