What I Want to Be When I Grow Up
As children, we're always asked the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Like many girls, I really just wanted to be a wife and a mommy. God has blessed me abundantly and given me the desires of my heart, and I'm so thankful for this day which is set aside to focus on that gift. While I contemplate how thankful I am for my own mother (and I am SO thankful), I am also reminded of the blessing that being a mother myself truly is.
It's so easy for me to forget that motherhood is a blessing when I'm breaking up arguments, or cleaning up endless messes, or answering thousands of questions per day. I lose focus when I'm faced with another temper tantrum, or when someone is whining about the meal I cooked, or when I smell the stench of another dirty diaper. The fact that I have a great privilege as a mother escapes me when I stand in the laundry room door looking at a pile of clothes as tall as I am. (Okay, it doesn't get that tall too often, but that's only because I do laundry almost everyday.)
But today, as I rode home from church in our cool minivan, I glanced behind me to three beautiful, smart, funny, loving kids and was flooded with gratitude. This special day also happened to by my firstborn's birthday. She was the firstborn of the children that, at one point, I didn't know whether or not I'd ever have. Ten years ago, we were hoping and praying to be able to have a baby, but the results were slow in coming. I swore I'd cherish every moment and not take things for granted if I were given the blessing of a child. But three (and a half) kids and many years and tears later, it's easy to forget those desperate cries to God for a child of our own. He didn't just bless us with one child. He has given us immeasurably more than we could have asked or imagined! So, as I glanced at their sweet, smooth baby faces, I was thankful.
There is no other task on this earth harder or more rewarding than parenting. Today, I focused on the rewards, as I need to do more often. I cherished the sloppy kisses on the lips from a busy two-year-old, the funny, unending questions of a smart and curious five-year-old, the beautiful eyes and sweet gestures of a fast-growing EIGHT-year old, and the promise and hope of a little one who has yet to be formally introduced to us. I will never be the mother I truly want to be to them, for I will never be perfect, but they are more wonderful blessings than I could have ever hoped for. One Mother's Day twenty years from now, I hope they can think of their mother and remember a woman who had many faults but who undeniably loved them and loved Jesus more than they can grasp. I hope they remember hugs more than spankings and words of wisdom more than words of anger. I pray that the life I lived and the things I said and did drew them to a passionate relationship with Christ and that they would be thankful for that. I pray that, despite all my mistakes, my children will have a reason to celebrate Mother's Day. And, if that is the case, my life will not be wasted.