Next week we’ll tackle Genesis 36 but if it’s ok with you, this week – my thoughts on motherhood. Because it has changed me in ways I never saw coming. And it’s just the funniest thing to step back and take a look. So I hope you enjoy. I hope you laugh. I hope you read this and think: Yay I’m not the only one who has a phobia of highchairs!
Quite honestly I don’t think I could do this journey without humor (or Jesus). Who has held me together from the moment we brought our first bundle of joy home and I suddenly turned into a Schizophrenic vacillating every five minutes between “I just can’t believe how much I love this little peanut” and “Oh good grief what have we done. My life is so over.”
There may have also been a few dinners I wept at the table while repeatedly assuring my husband I was infact truly happy. #seeyouaretotallynormal #becauseididittoo #andweallknowiamnormal Anyway, one particular development I totally did not see coming is my undeniable germaphobia. I’m not exactly sure when it happened. But I’m pretty sure it had something to do with ordering deli meat and turning around to find my baby sucking on the side of the cart.
Scared he might grow an eleventh toe or contract some rare disease that would further my sleep deprivation, I called my mother, and formed a battle plan that included clorox wipes (in her bag and mine and one for the car), a clip-on hand sanitizer, a cart cover – that could double as a highchair cover, and a package of those plastic disposable table toppers that are just plain awesome.
I’m not gonna lie though. I about had a nervous breakdown the first time we forgot the cover and my one year old had to sit in a naked highchair a previous child had probably just wiped his snot all over. (Which meant sleepless nights were obviously in my future.) But I am happy to report I’ve relaxed some with kid number four. I no longer twitch when said child eats popcorn off the floor at elementary basketball games. (I honestly don’t know how fourth children survive.) But Aldi is still a stretch for me. I fight the urge to beg and plead to keep my cloroxed cart every time they make me switch at checkout. (I know I have a problem.)
But as it turns out my phobia has real merit. Kids get sick, A LOT, with illnesses I did not know existed. Like the hand, foot and mouth virus. (Um excuse me, what did you say doctor? I promise we haven’t been to Europe.) But the one that gets me everytime. The one that makes me want to lock my children in the closet until spring is absolutely the stomach flu. If you or anyone in your family (or your third cousin whom you saw a week ago) has had it anytime in the last month, then please don’t be offended if I keep my distance. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
But for real my kids will probably grow up to be like Monk.On the bright side they may get their own TV show. On the downside they may accidentally pee their pants because they are so scared to use a public restroom.
But the crazy thing is – when duty calls – I will catch snot rockets in my hands, hold feverish little ones close to my chest, eat pretzels after my 2 year old ralphs for the 6th time on a drive home from North Carolina, and stand outside in my nightgown because of a crazy thing called croup. Because I have this insanely strong love for these people God has given me. A love some days I don’t even understand.
Apparently since adding the “mother” title to my repertoire I not only have a strong desire to love but a temper to boot. I did not know it was possible to swing from “Just look at my precious little love bugs, what a gift from God” to “If you want to live to see another day you had better get out of my sight” in 4.5 seconds but it is. It really is.
I actually use to consider myself quite level headed, even tempered, calm feathered, however you want to say it. But I’m not so sure anymore. Not too long ago I admit to you, for the purpose of encouraging another sweet soul who has also found herself on the edge of insanity, that I did in fact yell at my children with all the ferocious intensity of a seething hyena “IS THAT HOW JESUS WANTS YOU TO ACT?” Well now. If there was ever a moment the kettle called the pot black – it was that one.
I also use to be quite reserved. Prior to motherhood there were just some things I preferred not to talk about. As in womanly things or bathroom things or things you just don’t discuss when you grow up with a house full of boys. But now – well – something about breastfeeding and breast pumps and postpartum and explosive baby diarrhea or a constipated toddler that just makes you throw caution to the wind. I can now talk about poop like it’s a paint color. Or any other manner of bodily reactions or fluids without even blushing. Apparently this is a perk to motherhood.
I have also said things I never thought I would say. Like the “p” word otherwise known as “potty.” I once promised my mother that word would never be spoken in my house (don’t ask me why). I now say it 35 times a day at octaves I did not know achievable. Along with things such as “Stop hitting your brother with that hammer.” “If you put your finger in your nose one more time I’m cutting it off.” “No you can’t just eat banana peppers for dinner.” And my personal favorite “Is that poop on your hands?”
I just never in a million years thought I would ever string the English language in such a way. Nor did I anticipate the prayers I would utter. Please LORD, if you would just put this baby to sleep, I will offer whatever organs I can and still live. Please LORD, if you keep them healthy and allow me to go on my getaway weekend, I will memorize the entire New Testament.
Albeit motherhood is surprising. So very surprising. Like in how much my heart hurts when they hurt. How overcome with pride I feel when they succeed. How quickly worry can take me to imaginary places I don’t ever want to go in real life. Or how often I have to fight the urge to pee because I am laughing my head off.
But most of all I have gained a new understanding of what it means to unconditionally love. I don’t care how many messes I have to clean up I cannot, will not, ever stop loving them. It’s opened my eyes to God’s unconditional love toward me. Something I know I can only slightly grasp even now – because who in their right mind would sacrifice one of their own children? God, that’s who. For me. For you. And for all our little peanuts. “For God so loved the world he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Dear LORD, Thank you. From the bottom of my heart thank you for the privilege of being a mother. And for teaching me just a little more about the depth of your love. I am filled to the brim with gratitude. Thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for the little love bugs running around my home in their underwear. Overflow my cup that I may overflow theirs. And help me not beat my head against the wall. At least not too many times. In Jesus name, Amen.
P.S. My third grader just brought this home to me.