Last week was a happy kind of crazy busy with the presence of a few wonderful guests in our home, so I decided to step away from the blog and just enjoy all the sweet peopleness around me. Now, it's time to get to writing again, and there's just so much to tell, to express, to explain that I'm not sure where to begin!
Do I write about the awesome St. Patrick & St. Joseph feast days party we hosted? Or, how our long-time friend, Elena, brought Nutella into our home, completely changing the way I look at toast and bananas (like, forever!)? Or, how marathon training is a little bit harder at nearly 40 than at 20 (ice packs on the quads post 18 miles)? Or, how my 10 year old son missed going to the Kansas State Wrestling tournament by one match, a match that he forfeited because of our beliefs that boys and girls should not wrestle each-other? Really?? Don't dare me to write about that one, because I will, I will talk openly about why a pre-teen might be a little confused when off the mat it's, "Don't ever be rough with, touch or hurt a girl," but on the mat it's, "sure, buddy, go ahead and grab her across the chest region and don't forget to hold tight between the legs on the take-down." Huhhhh??? Just don't even get me started, because I will rant, and it will go viral, and the Nazi feminist police will be at my doorstep faster than you can say equal rights.
Well, now that that's out there, I think I'll just kick it back with something light, say birthday parties and reproduction?? Sound good?? M-kay....
The "bookend" babies. Spaghetti faced Charlie cuddles with his favorite big brother, Ben.My oldest son, Benedict and my youngest son, Charles, are almost exactly 10 years apart. They missed sharing a birthday by just a few hours. We celebrated their 12th and 2nd birthdays this weekend, and the honoring of their lives stirred up some unexpected emotions for me.
Benedict getting ready to blow out the candles on his basketball cake, made with K-State purple layers.Isn't it true that the the mom (usually) does all of the work to plan and prepare for the kids' birthdays?? There's so much to consider, from the cake to the gifts, to the party. I'm often so focused on making the day special that little time is left to contemplate the person who is special.
Have you ever found yourself in a moment where the events of life are taking place all around you, but you are not even close to being tuned in to what is happening, because your own thoughts are completely commanding your attention? This was exactly what happened to me over the weekend.
Charlie had just stuffed his tummy to the full with chocolate cake, and now, properly bathed, was delighting in the beautiful spectrum of gifts so lovingly purchased and wrapped by the family.
Who knew tissue paper could be so much fun??As he shook the loosely tucked tissue paper from the glossy gift bags, I found myself completely immersed in the softness of the light shimmering in his eyes, his curls, his grin. With his brothers surrounding him, my pride and joy gaze moved from boy to boy, one by one,....and that's when it all began to fade, the voices, the surprise of once hidden delights newly discovered, the laughter, everything, everyone....
I love how each boy takes special care to pick out, wrap and deliver their chosen gift to the birthday brother.In that very brief, very small space and time, I had an experience that I think I shall never forget. While watching the children bask in the gifts, it was as if I could somehow see directly into the souls of each one of my children. I was overwhelmed with sheer joy. It was a special kind of joy, the joy that comes from a supernatural vision of their preciousness, their purity, their sanctity. I was overwhelmed by a very distinct and rich feeling of love and adoration for them, for who they are as persons, not for what they are or what they can do. A reminder to me, once again, that our children are not a burden, but a privilege. It is my privilege to be their mother, to be able to witness and experience the movement and purpose of their lives in this time and place in the world and in history.
In the embrace of the moment, my heart took a swift turn to sadness as I was haunted by the notion that Charlie might just be our last baby (unless we adopt, which is deep in my prayers right now). More babies, you say? Doesn't she already have 5? I know, I know. People, it's so hard to put in to words the feelings that being crazy about children can bring, feelings that can only come from entrusting your family and your fertility to the Lord....
So, where I'm going with this is, ladies if you have written baby-making and baby-raising into a precisely preferred time in your scheduled life, you may want to re-think the plan. Plans don't always turn out, no matter how particular and perfected we are in following them. I never planned on having a big family, and now that our family is big (by today's standards) I am truly earnest when I say that I want our family to grow! Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting to have so many health issues at this time in my life, and now that my body is struggling to maintain good health, I'm saddened by the reality that it might not be possible to continue having children (at least one more!).
If you have any desire whatsoever to have a family, don't wait. And, if you are nervous or afraid, that's okay, that's normal, but don't let hold you back from doing what you were born to do. Bringing a precious life into the world is no small thing, it's an absolutely extraordinary event! You may not believe or even understand that you have what it takes within you to embrace the sacrifice, to love unconditionally, to endure, even to suffer, but the very moment that precious little miracle enters your womb, that life-giving love will awake within you, and you will know what to do, you will feel it, you will marvel in it, and never look back. Maybe you can imagine how difficult it can be, but what you can't imagine is just how deep and profound the joy will be. Only the experience of bringing new life into the world can offer you that. Words cannot express how you will feel. Don't exchange the joy of motherhood for something you think might be more worthwhile, more satisfying. It won't be.
Job changes, body changes, life changes, yes it will be hard, it will at times feel like too, too much. But, the sacrifices are never in vain, never without merit, because in essence they really aren't even about you anyway. They are about the precious little soul you bring into the world, and when you have moments like I had during the birthday, when you can see right into the life of a sweet and precious little soul, you will never remember the cost, you will only remember the love, the blessing, the gift.....a remembrance that may leave you longing for yet another little love.