Tag Archives: motherhood

Thoughts on a Big Day

My son turned two yesterday! I don’t have anything particularly insightful or clever to say about it. I am your standard parent – completely baffled that he managed to get through two years safe and sound and smart, before I managed to blink.

Today’s blog doesn’t have much to do with that, though. I just wanted to brag about my great big beast of a boy. Today’s post is very simple. All I really have to say is this: my son is not mine.

Almost everyone I know has this concept of very young children “belonging” to their parents. I don’t know if this is specific to America or our time in history, or if it’s worldwide and historical. But I certainly had it in my head, and even after really thinking about it, I still have that instinct.

{I suppose in a way it’s good; I think of that saying that having children is like having your heart move around outside your body, and now as a parent, that really resonates. If I didn’t think of Ean as something as close to me as my heart, I wouldn’t have such a strong instinct to protect him. Also this post has nothing to do with biology; apart from the thing about uteruses a couple paragraphs down, everything I’ve said or will say is just as true for an adopted or stepchild, and I know that from experience.}

We don’t think of ourselves as belonging to our parents, right? (Again, I don’t know the cultural or historical truth of that.) We are independent people. We make our own choices. We adhere to our own beliefs. We have quirks and flaws and glowing qualities which have nothing to do with our parents.

And yet, we apply that idea to young children. I don’t think I was any less myself when I was two than I am now. And I’m positive that I was no less unique before God. As a mom, though, it took me several months to consider my son an individual, rather than something my body had made for me and out of me. I thought of him as “a little piece of me and my husband.”

*eyebrow furrow* Which he’s not.

{I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t value the God-ordained parent/child relationship. There’s a difference between independence, as it’s treated in our culture, and individuality. By independence, I mean “not needing anyone” and “finding your happiness within yourself.” Whereas by individuality I mean equality, uniqueness, and value. It means the way God created us and sees us. A child’s (or parent’s) individuality does not detract from the beauty of family relationships – in fact, it enhances it.}

My child is only “mine” in the sense that his care has been entrusted to me. He is a completely distinct person, one God conceived of long before the world began, and for whom God has an equally unique plan. Where do I come into it? Well, Ean needed a uterus in which to develop enough maturity to breathe air. After that, he needed someone to nurse him and help him learn when to sleep and to keep him warm. As he grew, he needed help learning to eat and walk, someone to read him books, someone to drive him to the park. Someone to love him and show him how to love. He needs someone to tell him about God and will need someone to teach him math and how to be a strong, godly man.

I was handy for the job (as was my husband); I don’t know the specifics, but within His own design, God decided that we would be a good match for Ean. And so when he was created – by God’s choice, not ours – we were the ones entrusted with the task. The three of us were united as a family. We seem very different right now, but we won’t for long. Pretty soon our differences will fade. Before the throne of God, all of us will be as obviously equal as we have always been in truth.

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My Favorite Things About My Favorite Things

Huzzah! An idea!

My Favorite Things –> the things that get the most of my time. That I love most about my life. That make up who I am as a person. Writing down what I love about them is as much an exercise in appreciating my life as it is a blog worth reading. (Or maybe more.)

You’re getting this raw. If my posts are tomatoes, my  heart is the vine, and my brain is the chef. Normally you get diced and canned goods. But you can consider this post fresh little cherry tomatoes, meant to pop off the vine and eat whole. Enjoy. :)

In order of importance (starting at the bottom):

Reading and writing are, together, one of my favorite things about my life.
And my favorite thing about reading and writing is that I can escape – in a healthy way. I haven’t always used this escape healthily, of course (you can assume if I read a novel in two days, I’m having a rough time). But there’s nothing more relaxing to me – temporally speaking – than getting lost in a fantastic book. Unless, of course, it’s getting lost in my fantastic book. (Okay, that second fantastic may have been unnecessary.) When I write fiction, I don’t feel like I’m a part of it. I feel like I’m watching it. It’s as if there’s only one reality (a term used loosely) in my novel, and I’m trying to find it, not create it. I’m not crazy; I recognize that the whole process happens in my brain and without me it wouldn’t happen. But my favorite thing about writing is that it doesn’t feel like it comes from me.

Taking care of my household is one of my favorite things about my life.
And my favorite thing about taking care of my household is tangible results. I’ve always been a writer. A writer can sit at a computer until her butt is sore, working with passion and endurance, and at the end of the day, nothing around her is physically different. And I’ve never been good at much of anything else until this last year when I discovered joy in homemaking. It’s so satisfying to see dinner on plates, or a sparkling clean living room, or dehydrated tomato chips, and to know that I did the work that put it there. I have a new appreciation for simple, honest labor.

Being a mother is one my favorite things about my life.
Any my favorite thing about being a mother is all those simple little things like giggles and games of tag and hiding behind doors to startle him and when he walks into my room at 6:00 a.m. and we get to snuggle until we get out of bed and sharing a bowl of yogurt and walking to the park and reading books and learning new words and when he smiles with his whole face and especially that time that he smiled with his whole face in his sleep and especially especially that time when I slammed my nose into his forehead and he reached up and touched my nose and said, “Guhduh??” with that tone that said, “Mom, what happened to your face?” and splashing water in the bathtub and playing in snow and and and and …

Being a wife is one of my favorite things about my life.
And my favorite thing about being a wife is feeling secure because no human person has ever been so consistently solid and there in my life, with the notable exception of my mother (who is awesome), and her hugs are way different from my husband’s hugs. :)

Being a Christian is my favorite thing about my life.
And my favorite thing about being a Christian – which makes this my favorite favorite thing, ever – is contented, irrational peace. The way that I cope with frustration, on trivial and normal and enormous levels, is to say one of two things to myself. One is “This will end. It has to end. Nothing lasts forever.” The other is “This won’t matter, when all is said and done.” If I forgot to buy milk, well, that suffering will only last until I can get back to the store. If I am fighting with someone I love, I know that eventually the fight will be forgotten – if not here on earth, then in heaven. If someone I love dies, I know that it won’t matter, when all is said and done – it hurts now, but at Judgment Day the fact of that person’s death will be irrelevant.

I couldn’t live in a world where bad things remained permanently bad. Where we have to accept pain, rather than just endure it. Christianity promises that no matter what bad things happen, the ultimate bad is escapable. Things might suck now, but in eternity, I won’t care one jot about any of it.

And if that doesn’t bring peace, I don’t know what will.

 

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