Thursday, October 19, 2006Reflections on my "garden of three"
One month after Dominic's birth, I feel equipped enough to breathe and reflect:
Three kids now... I know to the older more experienced moms, I'm still a young pup in learning about "real motherhood." But for me, it seems overwhelming! We're in it for real now... (as if before we were just playing house?) No longer are we the tidy "family of four" that is included in all the sweepstakes winnings... no longer can each of our children have his own bedroom (which was never a goal to begin with, mind you). No longer can we count ourselves among the politically correct parents who aren't outnumbered by children. We are the "My, you have your hands full" crew you see in the grocery store. Though, at this point, I feel like I can never go out in public again... the must-do errands as a family (like church) give me a fear akin to what the soldiers must've felt as they stormed Normandy. There's no turning back.
God blessed us this time around with a particularly content baby however. My two and four year olds are in stages of very high maintenance on the discipline level and so they are consuming all our attentive energy. Praise God for the simplicity of breastfeeding a newborn and throwing him in a sling so I can battle daily life with older kids!
I won't lie, it's been murdersome at times... I know it's the ages we are in right now. I've felt overwhelmed and sad many times... and not particularly inclined to offer up my pain as much as I'm inclined to complain about it and throw myself a pity party. So pray for me... and all mothers.
But it is true... the very real joy that a new life gives back to you. When I carry him around in his front pouch, he'll often push his arms against my chest and so prop his neck back to stare at me... to figure out this crazy mother of his. And it is to him that I feel accountable! He is the one to whom I want to provide a beautiful introduction into life! And so I try to yell a little LESS loudly at the the older boys, and I try to smile more, and speak softly, and bite my tongue when I'm about to complain about the person who left an empty carton of milk in the fridge. I want to show him love and forgiveness and joy. I know, I know, this'll probably wear off soon and he'll get tossed into the bustle of life with the other boys eventually... but for now, it's a nice, purgatory-like, wakeup call to the beauty of being a co-creator with God.
And it makes me realize how people are missing out who wilfully want to limit their family size to just one or two! With two kids, we were just parents with two kids who played together. Now, we feel like a community. These two boys have a new dynamic to experience in their relationship with each other. Together they are interested in this new little brother and together they are exploring the way our family is changing. I'm eager, from a sociological point of view, to watch how these dynamics grow and change with our family size.
My how love multiplies! My little flowers return to me a kind of joy that is a million times more potent than the daily frustrations that often bog me down. It's a matter of taking the time to reflect on that in order to keep myself sane. Just a 5 minutes of silence before the wakeup rush begins in order to consecrate my day. Or one long held back sigh of relief at the end of the night when all are asleep (sleeping children are the ones who inspire the most holy thoughts in parents I've decided).
We have to constantly, constantly remind ourselves of the Eternal as mothers. Our days can get so frantic and busy, it's easy to get lost in the mentality that children are economic and mental burdens. Our poor depraved society... if they only found a moment of silence and took time to think! Our children are the only things that keep us straight on our paths to heaven!
God help us all find those moments of reflection more often.... Xavier just made Leo cry, I have to go investigate now.