This morning I was awakened by several lights that Joshua had turned on. I had no idea what he was doing so early, but I knew that he had already made Joseph wake up and probably the rest of the kids would soon follow.
The pre-mommy me wanted to just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. Instead, I got up to see what he was doing. Joshua thought he had wet the bed, so he was getting a new pair of underwear. He often does this when in reality all he needs to do is use the bathroom.
I turned off some of the lights and helped him to the bathroom. When I went back to my bedroom I found that Janna was awake. She smiled at her older brothers who had followed me. She was ready for a great day no matter how early it started.
While I got ready for the day, Joshua and Joseph decided to look at a photo album from 2005. Back then I only had three children and Joshua was still a baby.
Watching the two of them discuss things that happened before Joseph was even born and that Joshua can’t remember, I was reminded of just how swiftly time marches on. Babies become toddlers who exert their independence, sometimes in the form of a tantrum. Toddlers become school-age children who question everything. School-age children become teenagers which is just a stone’s throw from adulthood.
I was pondering all of this as I walked to the kitchen to fix everyone breakfast. One look at the sink reminded me that I had fallen asleep before dealing with all of the dirty dishes from last night.
I then stepped into the laundry room to find that no one seems to know the difference between darks and lights, or the fact that I have asked them to try to separate the clothes instead of just throwing them on the floor.
As a mom I am responsible for managing my home. I can set the tone by being grouchy and complain about all of the things that my family is doing wrong, isn’t helping me with, or isn’t doing at all. However, I try to choose to be joyful.
I am joyful because we have enough food to eat and there are people I get to cook for who help me create the dirty dishes I found in my sink this morning.
I am joyful because my family has plenty of clothes to wear and there is enough water to wash them with.
I am joyful even when my children argue over toys, or when the toys are strewn all over the house because we have so many things that others in this world will never have.
I am joyful.
Watching my children grow has been such a blessing. Several years ago, when James was little, there were moments when I began to wonder if God had chosen the right person for the task of mothering him. However, when I look at James now, I know that God knew exactly what He was doing.
When my children are sleeping so soundly and the house is so quiet, it is easy to feel love and be joyful about motherhood. But, I want to be joyful even when everything is loud and crazy, too.
Because, when my children are grown and the house is empty and quiet, I am not going to miss the times when my children were sleeping, I am going to miss the chaos.
I have been at this motherhood business for nearly 13 years. I still have a long way to go. Yet, I know just how quickly Janna will go from this smiling 1 year old…
…to being a 12 1/2 year old on the cusp of womanhood.
I remember sitting in church on Mother’s Day 13 years ago rubbing my belly wondering what motherhood would be like. If I could go back and tell that young mom-to-be anything about what the 13 years ahead would be like I would only tell her one thing, embrace the joys of motherhood.
When I hear someone say that they can’t wait until their kids are out of the house or that they have given up on their 16 year old, the human side of me wants to shake them. I want to tell them that there are so many women who are either unable to have children or have lost a child that would give anything to have a child to exasperate them. Instead, I pray for them.
No one ever said motherhood was going to be easy or without challenges. Each mother signs up for the job either willingly or “by accident”. When the task gets hard we mothers need to remember just how much God has blessed us. Flawed creatures that we are, God has chosen us to mold and guide the next generation. How can we not give thanks to Him? Why must we complain and gripe about our families?
This Mother’s Day I want to issue a challenge to all of the moms out there. Each and every day of your life, embrace the joys of motherhood.
John 16:21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.