This month I will celebrate my 7 year anniversary of being a mother. Our son was born in October 2009. After eight years of marriage we decided it was time to produce offspring and God immediately saw fit to give us Eli. Since Eli was such a breeze we decided to produce another offspring and again, immediately God saw fit to give us Harper in April 2011. Yes, they are 18 months apart. Yes, it was planned…kind of. Yes, it was crazy when we had two under two and both in diapers.
Perhaps, because we spent the first decade of our marriage involved in college ministry my mothering goal has been to “Raise productive adults that love God and love people.” Seems simple and very worthy of an item I would purchase off Etsy. Am I good at this? No. Most days I do a lot for my kids simply out of laziness. I simply don’t want to take the time and wait for them to do something when I know I can do it faster and maybe even better than them.
Mothering comes so natural to some women. I don’t know if it came easy to me or not. I mean, it took me eight years to even decide that I wanted kids. When I was pregnant I was happy to be pregnant. With my first pregnancy I was on bed rest for 21 days because of some blood pressure issues. Those issues led to me being induced four weeks before my scheduled due date of November 15th. This was when I should have learned my first mothering lesson.
Embrace the unplanned. I still vividly remember the flurry of activity and hospital staff around me hours before our son was born. Two nurses stood at my head telling me everything that was about to happen in the next 12 hours. My response was not one of composure and bravery. I cried. And cried. And cried. After a suitable amount of crying the younger of the nurses said, “Honey, what’s wrong? Are you in pain?” I couldn’t respond. I was still crying. The older of the nurses said, “Sweetie, you just lay there and relax. We’ll handle everything else. I’m going to get you some ice.”
My husband was gone during this time because he had to go home and get my bag because we didn’t plan on being induced that day. When he came back into the room I remember the nurses whispering to him that he could watch football but he had to face the television away from my bed because I could not get excited about anything. I had to remain calm until it was time. I laugh at that notion now because I could have cared less about any football game. My vivid imagination made by blood pressure go up more than any athletic event would have.
A short 15 hours later we had a son. Because he was born four weeks early he was considered a premie so he went off to the NICU while I stayed on some medicine to keep me from having a seizure (again, all related to blood pressure). Later in the day, after a medicine induced nap I woke up with my husband by my bedside showing me pictures on his phone of Eli. I cried some more. Eventually, I was able to hold him and yes, I cried again.
I did not embrace the unplanned when Eli was born or the next seven days he was in the NICU, for that matter. I cried a lot. I barely slept. When people would tell me to sleep in between feedings I would cry myself to sleep. I was quite the scene. Fast forward 18 months and I was there all over again.
At least, when our daughter was unexpectedly born two weeks early I was better prepared and didn’t cry as much the day of her arrival. I remember, we had just moved to a new city and my husband’s new boss came to see us after Harper was born and the nurse was checking my blood pressure while they were all talking at the foot of my bed. The nurse leaned over and said, “You need to lay on your side. Your pressure is high again.” Yep, you guessed it. I cried. As I was crying the nurse said to all my guests, “Okay. Everyone out. Mom needs to sleep.” Awesome. Weepy mess in front of my husband’s new boss. Special.
The coming weeks and months were one big blurry haze of me wondering, “What did I get myself into?” I still have problems embracing the unplanned. I am a planner by nature and when my plan gets altered it really bothers me. I try to play it cool but it really bothers me underneath. It really is dumb because, trust me, my plans are not life and death. My plans are like, “I wrote in my planner we’re having tacos tonight but my husband just told me he doesn’t want tacos. He had tacos for lunch. Now I have to change tonight to chicken night.” See, I told you, not life or death.
If you’ve never read this blog before and this is the first post you’ve read you might be thinking I am quite the emotional teeter totter. I’m really not. Hormones and sleep deprivation can really mess a girl up. I love both of my kids. They are complete opposites in every way. They love each other and fight for each other on a daily basis.
I did not embrace the unplanned when my children were born. Most days I can be flexible but some days I’m tired of being flexible. I want my little people to obey the first time, and say “yes ma’am,” without being reminded, and I want them to love their chores. Well, guess what? They don’t and neither do we. God loves us despite our constant need to be in control. He has a plan for us and most of the time, we have no idea what His plan is.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.