When people ask my mom if she planned to have nine kids, she tells them no. Then she explains that her plan was always to have ten.
My plan was seven. Oh how I had that number planted firmly in my motherhood brain. I had them all perfectly pictured, lined up in a row, smiling faces, all would be right in the world. (They would also all have names that began with the letter “M,” just for the record.)
I had a little bit of a mourning period that I never got those seven. Who am I kidding, I’m still in that mourning sometimes!
But other times I wonder what in Heaven’s name I was thinking. Times when everyone needs something at once and I can’t, no matter how hard I try, be there for all that they need me for. And times like last night when I tossed and turned all night thinking through each challenge each child of mine is facing.
I have to laugh that I was naive enough to think that there could be a small silver lining of life being simpler after sending my first two off into the wild blue yonder. The things I worry about just get bigger and more complicated. And the things I worry about with the ones here at home are so incredibly different from the things I worried about with my older kids, gosh dang it. It would be nice to just go into auto-pilot sometimes, don’t you think?
Now, more than ever, I have a hard time trying to figure out how much to push and how much to praise (ponderings on that over HERE
). Because I want the world for these kids, I tell you! But they
have to figure out which part of the world they want. And sometimes it’s hard to let them. One of my children is struggling with grades right now. One is struggling with anxiety. A couple are struggling with friends. One is on the other side of the planet with only snippets of life being sent my way. Two are on the bridge to independence and are doing so great at it until those moments when I realize they’re still so young!
But I need to remind myself life would be hollow if I were just on autopilot. And all that worrying is really part of what motherhood is all about. It helps me connect with them and with God in a way I wouldn’t otherwise to figure it all out. And that’s what makes me feel alive. And that’s what helps connect us all together. So I’ll take it, and let it mold and teach and steal my sleep away, because all those pieces, the good, the bad, and the ugly, sure add up to an amazing journey.
The journey of motherhood.
My sister sent me this quote a while ago that I love:
God bless you, mothers! When all the victories and defeats of men’s efforts are tallied, when the dust of life’s battles begins to settle, when all for which we labor so hard in this world of conquest fades before our eyes, you will be there, you must be there, as the strength for a new generation, the ever-improving onward movement of the race. Its quality will depend on you.
Maybe I’d still take those seven after all…
But since I can’t, I’ll soak up these five with all my might.