one and a half and just turned three

The last few weeks I’ve had the inestimable pleasure of caring for these sweet girls


since, their mother just had a baby. Have I mentioned Kit had a baby? Would you like to see a photo? 😉

Ryn and Elle have visited us here and there, an afternoon or a morning, never quite long enough– they always leave just when we’re about to make cookies. Wrapping her tiny arms around my neck Elle sighs, “Love you, Mi-sell.” and more than once Ryn has been so excited to see me that she trips over her own feet and into my arms. They are, quite simply, delicious.

But, I’ve been staggered by the sheer amount of attention that little people require. Wasn’t I in this stage just a few years ago? And now I do bold things like shower or go to the grocery store by myself without recognizing the sheer luxury of my situation. Toddlers need something every minute– a drink, a snack, a kiss, a game, a snuggle– and if they’re quiet you can be sure that kitty food is being spread around the mudroom or your books are being methodically removed from the shelves. At the mall, they have an innate need to hide under clothing racks and lovingly handle the wares at every mall kiosk.

Please, don’t misunderstand me. I consider time with little ones a privilege– their laughter, spontaneous twirling and trusting eyes are more than enough compensation for a few diapers and unfinished projects. Yet, I can’t help but think we need to offer mothers of young children more credit, more help, more compassion. And I wonder why I was so hard on myself with my house full of babies? Why did I think I needed to volunteer at school and church and take dinner to a neighbor when I was already providing so much service at home?

Utah is a baby culture. Like parents everywhere we cherish our children and work for their future. But, since there are so many babies here and since we all know someone who has more children and writes books and manages a business and occasionally appears on the Today Show, almost every mother I know feels like she should be doing more.

And yet, the beauty, the good life, comes in an afternoon on the floor with books and puzzles scattered all about and a baby sleeping on your shoulder. Yes, the laundry and the grocery shopping must be done and yes, every mother should take time to pursue a personal passion, but so so many other things can wait. Sleep in a bit, kiss those little toes, let everyone else run the world– you’ve got better things to do.




  1. meleana

    March 2, 2009

    I’m a new mom of a 3 1/2-month-old. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on how much time these precious ones take. Sometimes I feel a bit lost in simply the amount of time I spend caring for my daughter and wonder where the other parts of my life have gone. I look to mothers like you who find the joy in the little things and in all of the time it takes to nurture and mold these children. I need to relish the little things because even though there are some seriously long night and days, I know they’ll go far too quickly. Thanks for the support and insight.

  2. dalene

    March 2, 2009

    As a mother whose babies seem all grown up now, I concur. Lovely post Michelle.

  3. Lindy

    March 2, 2009

    Beautifully said!!! I love the way you write. You express life’s journey so perfect.

  4. martha corinna

    March 2, 2009

    So true. I try to tell myself this every day, and I am getting a bit better. But,you know.

  5. Linkous

    March 2, 2009

    I’m laughing out loud right now because it’s 10:30pm and I just saw that you already have these pictures posted. I was thinking, in awe, “how did she get this posted so quickly?!” And then I remembered what you wrote about 🙂 Oh yeah, I’m the one with those 3 little busy bodies!

  6. jess

    March 2, 2009

    so funny – my husband was just telling me about how sometimes he feels really selfish and wants to look for ways to serve others more often. i of course listened and then tried to explain to him that even though i am not out building houses for the poor and needy and making cookies for my widowed neighbors all the time, i don’t feel selfish. i feel like i live all day everyday for someone else as a mom, and that is the most important thing i can be doing. granted there are times when i can look outside of the walls of my home, but more often than not i don’t have the time or the energy to do so. he kind of understood, and our conversation moved on. when i read this post tonight i told him you said it better than i could and read it aloud to him – i think he gets it now. thanks for once again expressing what is in my heart today.

  7. Jessica

    March 2, 2009


    (…and I need to call you to arrange some pics of little Sofia)

  8. Annie

    March 2, 2009

    Lovely, lovely post and SO true. Sometimes I wonder why I can look back at the past me with such compassion but can’t do it in real time. It reminds me of that J. Holland talk when he looks back at the young father he once was & wants to put an arm around himself and say “don’t give up, keep your chin up.”

    Although of course, in your post, the good times are RIGHT THERE if we can just see them.
    Love you, Michelle!

    p.s. here the link to the talk:,5232,23-1-14-15,00.html

  9. Jess

    March 2, 2009

    Why oh why aren’t we neighbors? Thank you for that gentle reminder of life on this end of things. It is so easy to get swept up and miss the really important ones in my life.
    You are a treasure, Michelle!

  10. Jan Russell

    March 2, 2009

    How do you not keep them? Such CUTE girls! And a beautiful post – thank you!

  11. m_and_m

    March 3, 2009

    Lovely, lovely post.

    It’s so much easier to see the beauty of the chaos when it’s not your own, though, dontcha think?

    It’s like I figured out how to be a missionary when I was done with my mission. I think we figure out so much about stages of motherhood after we are done with them.

    Maybe those of us who have past this little ones stage can be the ones, like you did, Michelle, to help those in the middle of it all.

    I will always, always be grateful for those women I called my stay-at-home sisters, women who had kids in school but still stayed home, and spent some of there time serving moms like me.

    Makes me want to cry thinking about them.

  12. Emily Anne

    March 3, 2009

    i’m a lurker, but i had to come out and say that i loved this. loved it right up.
    thank you. your words are as beautiful as your pictures.

  13. Tricia

    March 3, 2009

    Exactly what I needed to hear today Michelle! Love you girl!

  14. J

    March 3, 2009

    Ditto what Tricia said. I’m definitely in the midst of chaos right now and need to remember how quickly the time goes by…There’s always so much beauty and wisdom in your posts. Thank you!

  15. Kira

    March 4, 2009

    Thank you for the encouragement……AGAIN. 🙂

  16. Brooke

    March 4, 2009

    michelle, i love you. i needed this today. really, truly needed it.

    thank you.

  17. jendoop

    March 5, 2009

    Thank you 🙂 This felt so good to hear today as I’m struggling to know when to get a haircut or find time to buy new jeans.

    I tried shopping for jeans today with 21 month old Baby girl. In the dressing room I ended up just looking at her in the mirror and smiling. We left all those jeans on the dressing room counter (un-tried), and didn’t look back. What a fool I was to think I could accomplish that task with her in tow!

  18. R and K

    March 5, 2009

    Luckily I had this post to think about last night when we had to put Nora in bed at 7 because we couldn’t take one more minute of her two and a halfness! Thanks for more of your beautiful and refreshing writing.

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