“Mama, you look happy!”
Hearing my first-born say this was so sweet to my ears, until I realized the surprise in her voice.
After all, I enjoy homeschooling my children, planning their meals, coming up with creative ideas for family time, etc. How on earth is it possible that one of my most perceptive children questioned my happiness?
A few years ago, my cousin, Catie, passed away. She was only in her late 20’s and pregnant with her third child when she was diagnosed with a very rare cancer. And just last week, another young Mama passed away, after a sudden illness that, from what I understand, came out of nowhere.
Since becoming a wife and mama, there have been times when I’ve been concerned about what would happen to my children and me, if we lost Andrew. And then I wonder how they would fare if something happened to me. Would my husband know just how hydrophobic our second son is? Would he know how to handle one of our daughters’ night terrors? Can he tell when our oldest son has hit a wall because the letters are jumbled in his head? How sensitive and vulnerable our oldest is, even though she can show a strong exterior? And how would he respond to the baby’s needs?
All this time, it never occurred to ask how my children would remember me, if I were gone. Would they remember me as a joyful mother, or a cranky woman who only endured the tasks of Motherhood out of duty?
During my fifth pregnancy, I was extremely sick, and while things improved a little after the birth, the troubles continued. Without going into details, it was a scary time for our family, and we wondered if I was going to be okay.
And things fell into perspective.
I realized that while my children needed me to be on top of their school work, to manage the home, to plan nutritious meals and snacks, I was lacking in the little things their hearts desired. I was so caught up in home management and dare I say, living up to others’ expectations, that I missed out on what my children really needed.
I’ve heard grownups who recall the cleanest of houses, spectacular dinners, and a well-managed home when they were children, but who don’t remember a lot of love—few to no hugs and kisses, no playful interaction, no real family time. And they say they wish they could’ve traded the immaculate house for more loving interaction and time with their parents.
|Our second daughter, at age 4|
So, yes, while the house needs to be vacuumed three times a week thanks to our long-haired Border Collie mix, our second daughter needs to be tucked in with story time every night.
While the nutritious snacks are important, our oldest son still needs to be comforted and reminded of how intelligent he is.
While the dust needs to be dealt with, our oldest daughter needs extra one-on-one time, just the two of us.
Even though he is three and becoming more independent, our second son needs me to rock him to sleep every now and then and interact in the latest car adventure he’s set up in his bedroom (notice I wrote interact--the simple glance won’t cut it).
And of course, the baby needs me to remain close, which may mean he rides piggy back in the Ergo while I’m folding laundry.
|My oldest and second sons, around ages 1 and 6|
And even though my children’s hearts must be cultivated, my husband still needs me to be a wife.
I’ve always wanted my children to know that I have a relationship with Christ—to know that their Mama is a Believer. And I think somewhere along the way, I got caught up in thinking that this, along with taking care of the mandatory physical needs, was enough.
But what of this image of a Christian wife and mama, if they don’t know that I adore and relish my calling? Or that it is an absolute delight to minister to them and that I feel so honored to be their Mama? That their simply being here brings me joy?
|My darling daughters, around ages 4 and 7.|
So, I’m eager to learn from the other Mamas out there. How do you work to meet these unique needs for each of your little ones?
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