The baby keeps splashing in the dogs' water bowl, and his pajamas are soaked up his right arm. I take him from the kitchen and place him in the living room, where he makes a beeline (seriously, who crawls that fast?) for the computer power strip where he innately knows the precise location of the on/off switch. Before I can move, he shuts down the computer on which I had just been working on an unsaved spreadsheet calculating our impossible bills. My stepson unknowingly tracks in dog poo on the bottom of his dad's much-too-large shoes that he had to wear - instead of his own, which fit perfectly, by the way - as he comes back inside from fetching a log from the woodpile for the fireplace. The dogs are at the front window barking at intruders that don't exist, and my husband comes into the kitchen looking for one of his innumerable magically disappearing tape measures, tracking in an obscene amount of sawdust that he has brought through all the hallways from the workshop. The pot on the Only-Two-Out-Of-Four-Burners-Work stove can now commence bubbling over.
This is where I have to stop and remind myself: this is what I've always wanted. No, seriously. You know, the thing about white picket fences is that you never see the splinters in the hands of those who built them. A baby whose greatest joy is making a mess of the dogs' water means I am finally a mother. I have the blessing and responsibility of raising and molding this amazing person that Heavenly Father has seen fit to send to me, even if we did have to wait on hold with the Heavenly Babies hotline longer than most people before we could place our order. A stepson who tracks in a mess for me to clean up is that same stepson who willingly, even eagerly, accepts chores because he honestly just wants to help. Barking dogs mean warm, soft, wagging bodies that still love you even at four in the afternoon and you still haven't gotten dressed or brushed your teeth. A husband who has almost single-handedly supported the tape measure industry means I have an eternal companion. That's right, a true best friend forever.
You see, when it comes down to it, what we perceive as our greatest burdens may in actuality be our greatest blessings. It all depends on the point of view to which you choose to subscribe. Over the past few years, I have challenged myself to a great personal exercise to try and maintain an eternal perspective. What does it matter if I have to put the fifth outfit in twenty-four hours on my little boy because he decided to dump all the water out of the dog bowl, again? It doesn't, because I got some really cute pictures; pictures to freeze a moment in time where his hands are still smaller than mine and his entertainment is free. For, as sore as slivers are, and as much as paint sticks to my skin, I am working on the prettiest fence I never could have imagined.
Adrienne is the stepmom of 10 year old Austin, the regular mom of 1 year old Porter, and the BFF of Lucas since 2005. She is from Virginia but is currently enjoying life in Provo, Utah. She loves writing, singing, playing video games and making others laugh.