“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child…” 1 Corinthians 13:11
Why is it that kids come up with the most wonderfully innocent questions that can be brilliant and silly at the same time? Sometimes their questions give us glimpses into their amazing brains, working overtime to take in the great expanse of their growing world. Sometimes they’re just plain ridiculous, but you’ve gotta love ‘em.
My mom told me that when I was little I asked, “Who holds your head while God screws in your arms?” Now THAT was a great question. I’m not sure how she answered but I’m sure she got a heart-warming chuckle out of it.
Our boys asked awesome questions like, “Do worms have tonsils?” and “Does baloney have seeds?” Quite honestly, mothers today have an incredible advantage because they can run to their computers, plug a vital question into Google Search and come back sounding pretty impressive and knowledgeable. I am not sure how intelligent I sounded when I responded to either of those two questions, but my sons seemed quite satisfied at the time with whatever I told them. (I could tell they were maturing when they started asking questions that really had answers!)
Some answers are “no-brainers”, others take hours of research and then there are the questions that make us ponder, and the answers that get us into trouble!
I love the joke about the little girl whose mother was in labor and about to deliver. Between contractions, the laboring mom asked her daughter to call 911 and soon there was an EMT at the door asking where Mom was, and giving little Abbey instructions on how to help him deliver the baby. Abbey did as she was told and was a great help. Soon she had a new baby brother and Mom was just fine.
After spanking the baby and getting him to cry, the EMT handed baby Aaron over to Mom. Then he turned and asked Abbey what she thought of the whole experience. Abbey put her hands on her hips, pursed her lips and exclaimed, “Smack him again! He shouldn’t have crawled up there in the first place!”
The earliest picture we have of bringing our second baby Mark home is a photo of me, holding Mark with a very tearful big brother pointing at the front door. I had had my second C-section, so I couldn’t pick up Scotty for quite some time and it broke his heart. He didn’t understand and saw Mark as the reason why I couldn’t “love” him. His response to seeing the new addition to the family was a definitive “Put him back!”
It is truly a miracle that sibling rivalry doesn’t take more of a toll in the grand scheme of things! I’ve also heard said, “I asked for a puppy!” Yeah, older siblings never like being “dethroned” by the latest arrival to the castle.
I’ve always loved talking to younger women about child-bearing. It just cracks me up. Truth be known…I was none the wiser in the ways of obstetrics and all that meant before I was “in the family way”. You don’t get it, unless you’ve been through it. Talk to any mom who braved the recommended nine+/- months of pregnancy and inevitably she has her own tale to tell about her experience. Some are humorous, some are horrifying( love the deliveries in taxis and elevators!) and some are relatively boring and hum-drum. (Lucky you- whoever you are?!) It never ceases to amaze me when I hear of women in days gone by, giving birth in some field, wrapping up the new arrival and continuing with their labors (no pun intended!)
As I said before, each tale is different, yet similar. We’re all meant to have a gestation period of about nine months…give or take. Many of us “train” to deliver naturally. Some of us “strain” to deliver naturally yet never get the chance to do so.
Some go through hours and hours of labor, which to us feel like days, only to end up in a C-section (your truly)! Others waltz in as if it’s another stop in their busy day and push that little sucker out like nobody’s business in less time than it takes to bake a cake! I hate those women!
“Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as though you were working for your real master and not merely for humans. It is Christ, your real master, whom you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24
How many of us started on this parenting adventure with the unrealistic, unattainable dream, declaring (if only to ourselves) that we wanted to be the perfect mom? I know I did. Guess what? I wasn’t.
If you’re waiting to have children until you have your “act together”, you might as well forget it. If you’re waiting to have kids until you can afford them, then you may well be past the child-bearing years before you are financially stable. If you’re waiting to have them until you’ve read all the right books and you know you’ll get it all right- here’s a news flash! Having children is a labor of love with no instruction manual and the key is saving enough financially to have some money left for your kid’s therapy when they are grown.
Yes, I wanted to be the perfect mom. Doesn’t every mother? Our intentions are always wonderful! But life has a way of challenging all of us, even on our best days. You know they say experience is what you get when you don’t get what you came for! As is written in one of the chapters in my book, “It wouldn’t have started with something called ‘labor’ if it was going to be easy” and every mom’s sentence is 18+ years of hard labor. More-over, if we do our jobs right, they’ll break our hearts and fly from our nests. If we don’t do our jobs right, they’ll break our hearts, come back to the nest and live at home with us indefinitely!
Seriously, if we play our cards right, we’ll reap years of incredible relationships right on down through the generations. What a gift!
Okay…life as it really is:
Let’s try this on for size- it has been pouring all day which means the kids have been underfoot ALL DAY! A frazzled mom puts water on to boil for macaroni and cheese and opens a can of green beans as she tries desperately to prevent her two year old from sticking his fingers up the dog’s nose. The pet howls and wakes the baby as the older two siblings scream, running through the kitchen chasing each other with light sabers.
The doorbell rings and it’s the FedEx man needing a signature for a final notice bill from the electric company. She glances toward her neighbor’s house, sees the old man mow-ing the lawn yet again and he gives her the finger!
Back inside, the pasta is boiling over and the phone is ringing. It’s her mother, repri-manding her for not calling that morning and the toddler has found the dog dish and is eating ALPO. Her husband calls to say he has been delayed at work with another un-expected sales meeting and just as she’s about to set the table, her toddler throws up the dog food he ingested onto her old sneakers. She sighs on the verge of tears, then cuts her finger on the green bean can lid and starts to cry in earnest!
Well– a little extreme, but definitely more realistic than the first scenario. Sorry! Alas, such is life as a mom. It’s hectic, it can be depressing at times, and it’s exhilarating! It is one adventure after another. None of us can escape the ups and downs, the bumps and bruises…you can count on them. There are the memories that make your heart sing and the moments that shatter your heart into a million aching pieces. It’s a journey with many turns and twists. Just remember to be nice to your children along the way; they will be the ones who will someday choose your nursing home!
As in gardening, there will be days of sun and days of rain. Hopefully, there will only be a little manure, if you catch my drift! But the harvest will be abundant if we tend it daily. Our job is to give our children roots that go deep into the soil of a rich heritage. It won’t be easy!
“I guess everyone has her own idealistic view of how life will be with children: There’s Mom in her apron, humming happily as she cooks yet another delicious, lovely, gourmet meal for her model family in a spotless, shiny kitchen! Her older children are playing cheerily in the next room like the best of friends and the baby has been sleeping peacefully upstairs for three hours. Her toddler gurgles contentedly as she hands him a wholesome cracker and her husband comes to the door of their meticulously neat home, with a bouquet of roses in his arms. His darling wife looks pretty as a pin in her wrinkle-free cotton dress, stockings, pumps and makeup that was just touched up. She smells of perfume and rosemary. She winks as she giggles and accepts the roses with a peck on her husband’s cheek – a promise of passionate romance after the kids are in bed smelling of baby shampoo and powder.
Their dog wags his tail, protects the family valiantly and never once whimpers to be let out to poop! Birds are singing in the flower garden that was planted by the industrious, energetic woman of the house. She bakes pies for friends when they have babies, visits and shops for the elderly woman next door on a weekly basis and is president of the PTA in all of her spare time!
Aahh! Life as it should be? Could be?” Maybe we should take off the rose-colored glasses and sign up for a reality check! More from my book “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Commencement- the Heartbreak, Hope and Hilarity of Being a Mom” next time!