Kids demand so much. My son Oskar who is almost 4 is so interested in learning everything- he asks lots of questions and he won't settle on a simple answer most of the time either... he wants a detailed explanation! Mischa is 2 and her favorite words these days are, "Mama, watch me", then she'll twirl, jump, spit... whatever it is and laugh at herself and start again, "Mama..." Henry is almost a year old and likes everything he shouldn't- the garbage, my Pyrex glass bowls, the dirt in my plants, the stairs, the toilet, the toilet paper... anything and everything that is not defined as a child's toy.
It seems every ten minutes or less he is getting into something- and it's always while I'm doing something. (Are these two related?) I'll be explaining something to Oskar (lately it's how the sewer works), while my eyes are on Mischa jumping, "Mama, watch me!" while pulling toilet paper out of Henry's mouth. Ten minutes later I'm doing almost the same thing except I'm picking up the coffee grinds and left over food off the floor because Henry pushed over the garbage. (Next house, I'm getting a pull-out garbage!)
Life can be so crazy. Let me rephrase that- life is always crazy. If I'm not after one kid I'm picking up after the other. All the while trying my hardest to clean the house and TRYING to spend some quality time with my children- and by quality time I mean sitting with them, laughing and playing something. But it never seems to go that way.
Have you seen the movie "Mom's Night Out?" I just went to see it last week with a bunch of ladies. First of all I feel like Allyson in the movie with three kids, her head spinning, kids all over the place, the house upside down, hiding in a closet... (I've only ever done that in my mind) and when she finally gets a chance to have alone time she feels overwhelmed- like she isn't a good mom and she can't do it anymore. I have days like that. Whether I yelled at the kids too much, wasn't patient enough, didn't play with them, whatever- I often feel overwhelmed and look forward to my alone time- that is 1pm when they all go for a nap.
Today was an alright day. I still rock Henry to sleep ( I know, my bad...) and today was like every other day: he pulls my hair, sometimes out; bites my arm; throws himself back and forth; grabs onto my skin to pull himself up; rubs his drool all over my face... to finally settle down and fall asleep.
I looked at him took a deep breath, looked up at the wall and wept. On the wall in his room, right where I can see it is a painting my mom bought me from an old friend, Krista (see her Facebook page here). She painted a nest with 3 eggs in it- each egg signifying each of my children. The nest is multi-stranded and represents all of a mother's day-to-day work that can seem so annoying at times- but yet, all of those things woven together creates a safe place- a home for the children.
When I saw this painting today, I wept and automatically felt joy in my heart. These precious little children have been given to me by the Creator to cherish, train, love, raise up on this earth and what a blessing it really is. The painting is so simple and yet so profound and so is motherhood.
We were created to nurture and care for our young but how complex and significant that job is! All the to-do's of the day, all the stress, frustration, late nights, early mornings... all of this is part of the nest- it comes with the territory. As a bird would care for her eggs until they are ready to be on their own, so I am a mother who needs to care for her young until they are ready to be on their own. What a beautiful thing it is.
Going back to the scene in the movie Mom's Night Out (see the trailer here) where Allyson is hiding in a closet, she is watching a video of an eagle caring for her young. She couldn't take her eyes off of it. Just watching the mother eagle care for her babies. It brought tears to Allyson's eyes and while watching it, reminded me so much of this nest painting by Krista. Whether still in the egg- peaceful and quiet or as young, obnoxious birds, a mother still has to do the same thing.
And so it is with me. In the crazy times and the quiet times, I need to care for my children. It's what God has made me to do, for this part of my life. It's hard and it requires selflessness, patience, courage, self-control and a hundred other things. NONE of which I naturally have.
Part of what God is trying to teach me over and over again is that my children come before me, before my house, before the cares of this world. I really have a hard time with that because I am selfish and want me time when I could be spending time with them, I work and work and work (and work) to get the house (somewhat) clean but neglect quality time with my children.
I want this I want that and I yearn for it more than I yearn for an hour in the park watching my children laugh and giggle on the playground. It's funny though because once I get to the playground and watch my children laugh and giggle and run around, I forget about everything else and just stay in that lovely moment.
Then today I see this painting and God puts me back in my place- the nurturing place, the selfless place, the patient place, the joyful place.
As I write this, tears fill my eyes and skip down my cheeks because I really do love my children and hate that I can be so selfish sometimes. I'm not perfect, I'm don't always make good choices, but I'm a imperfect work in progress by a Perfect Maker.
So I rest in His grace, His kindness and the times He whispers encouragement to me and embrace all that He shows me and teaches me. Thank God for children.