My mom has this picture that she likes to talk about- my sister and I standing in Boston on a family vacation…I was 12/13 maybe and there I am in a big city carrying my baby doll. Not just any baby doll, MY baby doll, she was the love of my childhood. She was so life like, her head was even a little floppy just like a new born. When I was probably 9 years old, my dad decided her head shouldn’t flop so much so he was going to ‘fix’ her for me. I never went to bed without my doll. I tried to sleep but just couldn’t. Those that don’t know my dad, well he’s a real life MacGyver. Army war Veteran, the man can make anything out of anything. So I was confident but couldn’t sleep. I ventured out to the kitchen where I found my dad…and my decapitated doll. Doll body in his hands, fluff on the counter and her head just sitting there – besides being horrified, I was devastated, my heart sank, my baby! In typical MacGyver fashion he had her all ‘fixed’ the next morning, and to this day her head remains permanently reattached with a wire tie.
Yeah so I’ve wanted to be a mom from the time I can remember. And when my MacGyver dad gave a toast at our rehearsal dinner before we got married he said something along the lines of “may you be blessed with many children’. Ummm, thanks?!?!? Seriously I’ve always wanted a big family, and yes we have been blessed with one. Doesn’t mean it was or is always easy. A marriage is one thing, two personalities mixing, making choices…then add four additional ones to the mix- no not always easy. Try choosing a movie that makes a teenage girl and three boys happy – best wishes to you!
I was cleaning my nightstand out today, honestly couldn’t believe I could fit so much stuff in two tiny drawers, but after I had trashed a stash of magazines that were from 2005-2009 (not sure 2010-1016 went) I looked over to see a pile of let over stuff on my bed. And had to smile. So besides being a pen hoarder, I discovered some key pieces of motherhood left behind (Hummm wonder how long that pregnancy test has been in there considering the youngest child is about to turn 10 soon) Lego’s, mommy bookmarks, cut out hands, little girl pony tail holders, photo disk and so much more. So many people always say it goes so fast…maybe it does…but I haven’t felt that way. I’ve been blessed, not without sacrifice and struggle, to be a stay at home mom for 16 years, so I’ve been there for everything every step of the way. Every first step, first coo, first temper tantrum, first bike ride, tree climb, loose tooth and school everything. I found myself in them, these little monkeys, I found the mom in me, the mom I want to be and the mom God has called me to be. One of my greatest mom gifts has been getting to grow along with them.
Let’s face it, we all parent differently, and everyone’s kids are different. I am thankful that from early on I found the way I wanted it to go for me. I belonged to multiples moms groups, book clubs and met with other moms in our neighborhood. I was 23 when I had our first baby. What did I really know about being a mom besides what my mom showed me (which was so much) and the fact that I wanted to be one. After these early encounters I knew exactly what I didn’t want to be and got a new understanding of what I did want to be. And as my life has grown along with these little blessings that on a daily basis can drive me into an absolute frenzy over who I am not parenting properly or who ate all the snacks or who did more chores then everyone else…my focus has always been the same and will always remain the same. To raise the next generation of humans to be God fearing, compassionate, kind, encouraging, passionate people who will do the same.
Yes, I’ve totally messed some days up – big time messed up. But hey, sometimes life is messy, and marriage is messy so why wouldn’t motherhood be messy? But when I really look at where I started, starring into the cradle from my rocking chair thinking, “ok, well there’s my baby I wanted, now what?” to laying awake in bed at night praying for their individual needs. From carting them to playdates to opening our house to photo shoots before dances, endless daily games of b-ball in the driveway, late night pick-ups at parties and talks with them and their friends reassuring them that they can call us whenever for whatever, and we will get them, no questions asked. (We were sure to tell them we would judge them then make fun of their mistake for years to come, but to still call us- because that’s how we roll here 😉 ). But even in the mess (when I say mess, I mean in more than one way, I have real dirt on my floors, you know the kind that God made that is supposed to be outside for flowers to grow in dirt) I am so thankful I was taught the art of looking for the good, for finding the reason I am in the place I am in. To ask the question- how is God using me in this place? Is He working something through me? Is He working something for me? To be still, be present and be focused on Him.
So on this Mother’s Day weekend, I am thankful for not only the amazing woman who first taught me how to mother, by mothering me so well, but also to the amazing mentor moms I’ve had in my life. I am thankful for the man who stands by my side as the mother of his children here on earth, I wouldn’t have wanted to walk this journey with anyone else. They say it takes a village to raise a child – I have sometimes felt like my village burned and I was left alone up in a tree with these four people- it’s part of the journey. Besides these four spectacular people who reside with me, light up my life, make me laugh and bring me to my knees daily, I am thankful that I have learned that these children, the ones I call mine, are His, and He has only entrusted them to me, for a little while to raise up in His name. No they do not belong to me, they are children of the One True God, and I will forever be humbled to be called their mother.