Expectations vs. Reality
Thanks to Jamie @ Lord, Make Me a Saint for the first glimpse into this little 365-day "project" - The Happy Wife Project (from Go Forth and Mother). It seems a simple thing to do, and something I certainly could use a boost in!
For July... expectations of motherhood versus the reality of motherhood...
You know, as a child, and even as a teen, my friends chirped very strongly for (or against) marriage and having babies. (It was always babies, never kids or teenagers or children, just babies). Some dreamed of big white weddings and twin babies by the car load. Others adamantly refused to have children, instead dreaming of their big escape into an unknown world.
As for me, well, I was never for or against babies. I certainly had no experience with them, having only one brother, eighteen months my junior. I most definitely wanted more siblings, but that never happened. When I looked to the future, I had no idea what to expect. I expected very little actually. I looked into the future and saw absolutely nothing. It was a blank canvas. When I was very young, but still within memory's reach, I always thought that meant I would die before I reached adulthood. Isn't it crazy how a child thinks? Obviously, here I am -- and with children to boot.
Becoming a mother never occurred to me until I met my future husband and our lives began to unfold into a relationship and eventually into marriage. I saw in this man (really, still a boy at that time, looking back!) a good father, a lover of children. I saw him in action with all the young ones we knew and met. Once we were married it seemed only natural to begin our family right away, God-willing. And He was willing.
Some ten years later, and four children ages nine on down later, my version of motherhood has changed over the years and with each child.
The reality is... full of opposites: exhausting and exhilarating, love and anger, frustration and peacefulness, tense and carefree, knowing everything and knowing nothing at all, tears and laughter, pride and humility, fear and bravery.
It is a total emptying of oneself.
You give, and give, and give some more. You worry. You wonder. You rush around in a crazy whirlwind of activity and then pause to savor the warmth and smell of a toddler's rosy cheek.
You check each child as they sleep before you close your own eyes. You bless them as you tuck them in. You give into "just one more story." Your "no" stays firm when your child needs structure.
You are a guide, a nurturer, a constant cook, a captain, a judge, a kisser of boo-boos, when only a mom can comfort.
You learn that you need so much less than you thought you did. You learn that you know nothing at all. You see time flying so fast that you already ache for the children that will leave you one day. You ache for the pains you know your children will feel as they grow up and out. You learn that you need strength beyond human capacity.
You learn that you need Him.
What do I expect now?
I expect to beaten down, to give until I feel as if I can give no more, to love without being loved always, to continually pray, to feel pain for my children and because of my children.
I also expect to love as much as I have ever loved, to fight for the good in my children, to continually pray, to learn and learn more to raise them as God wills it, and to do that each and every day that dawns from now until eternity.