Wednesday, September 19, 2012

My Very Real (Unpolitical) Moment

Yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon playing outside with the boys.  One reason was because the weather was unbelievably beautiful and another reason was that there was no good chemistry between any of the ruffians. Let me tell you, they had ruthlessly peeled back every last layer of my patience, right down to the last crazy nerve.  By 2:37 p.m. the nerve was exposed and it was hot.  Going outside was the possible salvation of what little sanity I had left.
To top it all off I was in a bit of a carb-deprivation state.  I had to get away from the pantry.  "Come back, my beloved, come back!" I swear I heard those words, loud and clear calling out from the granola and cracker shelf.  It's this new diet thing I'm trying - no grains, no gluten (no fun, no comfort, no 2:00 p.m snack party with the chillins.) for 14 days. More like 14 eternities.
On a brighter note, I praise the Lord for my in-law's totally sweet conveniently close mega-yard. It really is a mini-park of sorts.  Playground equipment, huge swing set, plush green grass, scenic fountain, shaded sandbox....it's totally lovely.  And, it makes our homeschool recess time more legit.
During our afternoon recess, I had a moment (it may have been a carb-withdrawal moment, but still...).  All of the boys were playing together, the sun was shining playfully through their blonde locks, their wild energy channeled into reaching high on the swings until their toes touched the tree-tops, only to bail out and onto another stunt somewhere else on the playground.  That's when it happened. I know you have experienced this too, it comes randomly, unexpectedly.  I felt overcome with a complete and total sense of peace and joy followed by a flooding of fear and panic all baptized in tears and worry.
I saw my oldest son Benedict, pushing his little brother Charlie playfully in the same swing that I pushed him in when he was a babe.  And in that glimpsing I absorbed, with great recollection, the sum of Ben's life, a life that has passed so quickly before me.  Slow down, son, slow down.  Don't grow.  Don't go.
I gazed into the souls of each of my boys, so precious, so beautiful, so special, so perfect - imperfections and all, and begged the hands of time to take a rest, to let me enjoy and remember each and every moment I get to share with these gifts.
Within this brief experience there was also a fragment of time when the past 11 years of motherhood very quickly came into focus. I could see it all - the good, the bad, the ugly. Just like that, every exhausting day tainted with sour moods and selfish behaviors faded into the fuzzy recesses of my memory. Only the goodness was left to be contemplated. The inexpressible beauty of the miracle of my children was now seated firmly inside of me, anchoring me to the truth that their lives are indeed precious.
This rose tinted moment that I share with you is not meant to paint an illusion of scripted perfection of my life. I speak with honesty when I say that there are days when I don't want to be a mom.  That caring for five boys every day is not only mind-boggling, but its waring and worrisome. There are days when I bear quietly the lonely feeling that can come from being the only girl out here on this farm.  I don't want to change another exploded diaper, break up another fight, figure out how to feed the crowd, scrub floors caked with their messes, say "no" for the hundredth time or pray for the thousandth time that one son will be healed of his heart condition and the other of his temper.
Despite these few (there are many more) light confessions, being a mother has never, ever felt like a punishment.  A punishment? Isn't that a little harsh? Weren't those the words of our president just before he began his term in office?? According to the one who is "for all of us" the inconvenience of an unplanned, unexpected pregnancy is a punishment. Aren't you blessed, Mr. President, to know that whomever gave birth to you never considered you to be a punishment? Now, maybe an inconvenience, but not a punishment. The way Mrs. Obama slights you right and left, the whole world knows you're an inconvenience, at least to her, you and your bad habits, Mr. Snorer.  What about all of the orphans out there who are unwanted, are they little punishments too?? You might be interested to know sir (you and everyone else who has ever made a snide remark about the size of my family) that most moms - yes, even those who once considered aborting their babies - do not, and have not ever considered their babies to be a punishment. Perhaps their only regret (if they have one) was that they even considered having an abortion in the first place.

Now, hold your horses, calm down.  This post isn't meant to be a political rant on abortion issues, nor the statement made by our president nearly four years ago (to people who hate children, sorry, you don't get a pass on this one). It's meant to be a personal rant on how in so many ways we have reduced human life to something that we can label and manipulate to suit our own needs, wants an desires, and how children most often bear the brunt of our selfishness.
Do you think I enjoy the fact that five pregnancies has left me with saggy ta-tas, thin hair and worn tooth enamel not to mention an unchecked bucket list that will most likely remain only a bucket and a host of Facebook friends who just happen work at liquor stores?? NO (except maybe the FB friends part).  But, despite all of those minor challenges, the reality is that I CHOSE it all from the possibility of conception to present.  My children didn't choose.  Therefore, I cannot, and will not ever perceive them to be my punishment.  On the contrary, they're my privilege.
Of course raising a child comes with it's inconveniences. That's to be expected.  I even consider those to be a MERCY.  How is that possible? Because every single one of those inconveniences has made me a better person than before I had children.  But, who needs the hassle, right? Why not just take the inconvenience and ask, or expect, someone else to fix it or remove it from your life, because you don't deserve such discomfort.  You don't deserve to have to work that hard, to die to yourself in order to feed the hunger or nurse the wounds, teach the mind, console the heart or God-forbid GIVE SOMETHING UP. What a deprivation of the human spirit, the human grit, the human purpose - to be made to believe that we cannot or should not be satisfied with a life devoted to self-sacrificial love of another, especially a child.
The real mercy of the inconveniences, then, is when you can take them all in, and wrestle with them until you come out of that fury of discomfort and find that you have more grit, more goodness, more generosity, more courage more love than you ever knew possible... and dare I even say it - more joy, more happiness than before?? Yes, it's possible.  I know it first-hand, and I hope that you do too.

The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow.

The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care.
The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend.
The beauty of life is to give. The joy of life is to love. ~William Arthur Ward




















16 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful reflection. Thank you so much for having the courage to write it!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to read it, Dwija!

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  2. Oh dear... I certainly didn't intend to cry today. :) Beautiful post. Just beautiful.

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  3. You are such an eloquent writer. Thanks for not only what you said but how you said it! God Bless..;)

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    1. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to come and visit me, Tammi!

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  4. I love your comment about how the children didn't choose it and so the children should never be the punishment or be punished for something they had no control over. I wish more people could see it this way. You're a smart woman! Just found your blog and have loved getting to know you better... I'm excited to follow along!

    new follower :)
    bonnie
    bonnielouisa.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie for stopping by! I will definitely be visiting your blog!

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  5. Recently I find myself struggling to teach my 8 year old child about making the right choices. I realize punishment is not the answer ... it is creating situations where he is taught and learns about making the right choice. My son is very loving and helpful and punishments really upsets him... so I am not focusing on trying to keep a positive energy while teaching him lesson of life.
    I am following you now and would love you to follow back.
    Jillian

    http://puzzlemecomplete.blogspot.com/2012/09/listening-to-your-inner-voice-again.html

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  6. what a beautiful touching post, wiping away my tears.

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  7. Oh, I love, love, love this post!! The saying, "The days are long, but the years are short." is so true. They go by soooo quickly, but the days are soooo long sometimes! And to know that some don't cherish life and the love and joy that it brings, astounds me. Thanks for sharing your heart!

    Christie
    http://satisfactionthroughchrist.blogspot.com

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  8. What a wonderful post and oh so so true.
    Thank You!!!

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