I cannot believe that God has blessed me with four beautiful children! I can so vividly recall my own childhood, with minute detail, that I can’t believe I haven’t been a child for *cough cough* years!
I was genuinely shocked to learn this past November that we were expecting our fifth child. I was surprised by all of them, but especially this one. I suppose it is because I always thought that a woman who had five -or more- children was truly a mother of a large family. Five was my “magic number”. I couldn’t believe that the God of Heaven, who sees me and all of my shortcomings, would allow me to have a large family.
You see, I fail a lot. I see other women who always use a soft voice and never seem to grow angry. My own mother was this way. She could be firm, but never seemed to lose control of her words. I often fight losing control! I have to almost bite my tongue…literally. Okay, not literally, I mean , I may look crazy, but I’m really not. I see you shaking your heads in disbelief! But really, I’m not crazy.
I often grow tired of the million-and-one questions that my children ask me, and I want to say “NO MORE!” Truthfully? I don’t know what those towers are with the flashing lights on them at night. I don’t know if the KFC bucket on their sign should be rotating. I don’t know how to draw a person. I don’t know, and I often feel stupid for not knowing. My own mother would have had some kind of answer for these queries. Even if she didn’t know the answer, she would have tried. She would never have said “I don’t know” and left it at that. I will say, however, that I have tried to vary my response from the usual “I don’t know”. I now have a new one:
“Ask your Dad.”
I don’t like being called on to work when I’m sick, yet I often must muddle through in exactly such times. I never saw my own mother “muddle”. She seemed to attack each new day with vim and vigor, even when she was ill.
I get tired of the spills, mud on the floor, bickering, whining…and the list goes on and on. I often feel like I’m the perpetual “bad guy”. I’m always the one saying “No” or “Finish that work up” or “Have you done your chores?” or “You must remember to say_____” (whatever). By the end of the day, when I should be ready to have fun with my kiddos, I just want a nap! So, yep, you guessed it, Dad goes out and has fun with them. I don’t get the nap, but I do get another load of laundry done, or dinner started. And as I stand at the kitchen window and glance out, I see that I’m missing the best part of being a mother: the laughter and smiles that will soon be all grown up.
See? If you were the Lord, would you make me a mother again? After all of these failures?
Yet, in His great mercy and yes, to my amazement, His wisdom, He is blessing our home a fifth time. I am humbled and truly grateful, because even with all of my mistakes and faults, I love being a Mother.
I love getting the flowers (weeds) that they bring to me in their pudgy fists. I love smelling their clean smell after their baths. I love being the recipient, and often the subject, of their artwork. I love hearing them laugh. I love getting their hugs and cuddles. I love hearing them say, “I love you, Mommy.” And I love saying back, “Oh sweetheart, I love you, too.”
With each pregnancy, I get a little more nervous than the previous one. I think it’s because I get more knowledge with each one of what could go wrong, so I’m more aware of the possibilities. In talking with my husband about this, he replied “Valerie, just because our children were born healthy doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed they’ll stay that way. We have to trust the Lord to take care of the health of the born and the unborn in our family. We also have to trust that He will give us the grace to walk the valley if they are not healthy.” Truer words were never spoken. All I have now is because of Him: health, finances, friends, family, possessions – it’s all because of Him. I have earned none of it, nor do I deserve it. I must trust Him with this unborn child, just as I must trust Him with my four other children.
This was illustrated to me so clearly just a few weeks ago. I had just finished up lunch when I found my baby girl (age 3) lying on the floor, eyes open, slightly jerking and unable to speak. At first I thought she was just playing a game, but soon realized something, though I didn’t know what, was very wrong. I called 911 and frantically spoke to the operator. They dispatched an ambulance. My husband was gone and my children and I were hysterical. (I was supposed to be calm, I’m the Mom. Well, I blew it again.) I didn’t know if I should do CPR? The Heimlich? Or, was I simply watching my baby girl die? I didn’t know. All I could do was call 911, wait, and pray.
Laci was okay. It turns out she was having a seizure. I have a nephew who has them occasionally, but I had never seen him have one, so I had no idea what it looked like. She had caught a virus, which caused her temperature to go up from 99 degrees, to over 102 degrees in a matter of minutes. After she came to in the hospital, I helped her change her clothes. She was burning up, very pale and very weak. Yet, in her weakness, she leaned over to me, wrapped her arms around my neck and said “Mommy, I just love you so much.” I didn’t deserve her love! I fail everyday. When she got sick, I panicked; I should have handled it better, but she loved me anyway. It was a moment I will never forget.
As I was on my knees beside her shaking body -not knowing what to do, and literally rubbing the tops of my feet so hard on the carpet that I got rug burns – I realized that my children are in His hands. God could have taken Laci home that day. She is His, not mine. He is just letting me borrow her. I love her more than my own life, as I do all of my children, but I do not own her. She is His. I can only trust Him that, should the health or even the life be taken from my family, I will have His grace to uphold me. In fact, I can’t even really trust Him without His help.
As I reflect on motherhood, I come to a few conclusions.
- I couldn’t be a mother without God allowing it.
- I cannot do this job of mothering without His help.
- I must trust Him for everything in my life and, especially as I try to be the right kind of mother.
- This time of having children at home will end, no matter how many children He gives me, so I want to enjoy them while I can.
I’m going to try to forgive myself for being such a rotten Mom. I know the Lord has, so I want to as well. I want to stress about mud less and enjoy laughing more. I want to say the right thing the first time. I want to show gratitude for all He has given me each and every day, because it all belongs to Him.