Kara turned five a couple of weeks ago. Five years- that’s a big one. It seems like it was yesterday when I had my surprise delivery a month early and was wheeled down the hall a few days later with nurses congratulating me with a cheery, “Happy Mother’s Day!” Yes, I took my first baby home on Mother’s Day. How cool is that?! I was exhausted, misty-eyed, and had the whole out-of-body experience thing going on. She was all jaundiced, chubby, and was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid my eyes on. It was on May 6, 2010 that I was initiated into motherhood. My head is still spinning. If you know me well, you know that I like to be prepared, or at least feel like I am prepared. I over-plan and over-prepare just so that I feel like I am…ahem…in control. And God laughs! The Thursday I went into labor was the day before my husband and I planned to go to the hospital for the car seat safety check, because Friday was his day off. Four weeks gives us PLENTY of time to do that and set up the crib, wash and put away her layette, pack the emergency bag, and sit in the glider dreaming about our sweet daughter’s arrival. Ha! Well, none of that ever happened. This is a nightmare to expecting moms. In fact, one friend of mine who was expecting her first baby said point blank, “Your story scares me, so I want to make sure that I have everything ready.” Um. ok. Glad I could help.
And, by the way, new moms- you’re never ready. I am still way behind where I want to be. The thing is that I am finally okay with that. It has taken about five years, but honestly I can say that I am okay with not being ahead of the game, prepared, together, a model mom, and whatever else fill-in-the-blank. I am having fun. There I said it. Fun. “Okay, Jenna’s riding the crazy train everybody…whoa now. Help this woman out!” No seriously, I enjoy being a mom. Not a mom to any kids, but to my kids. Sure they wear me out and I need time away from them, and sometimes I want to wring their necks, but all in all I love being their mom. Mostly, I love their daddy and I see this little family culture developing that is beautiful and messy with these little people that God allowed us to create. It’s wonderful, really.
For the past year or so, Kara has been asking for an UpChuck, I mean Chuck-E-Cheese birthday party. Now, I have nothing against the mouse, but all of the noise, germs, and crazy that ole Chuck-E brings just was not really a part of my vision for Kara’s five-year-old birthday party. This is kind of a big birthday. Two more of these rounds, and she will be getting her driver’s permit. I mean, really! But, we caved, and you know, the party was just as sweet as could be. By God’s grace, we were the only party there on that Saturday morning. So, that was HUGE. Kara was thrilled and felt special to have her party at Chuck-E-Cheese. Her friends had a blast too, and there was pizza and cake, so what else was needed really? Friends, food, fun, check!
I gave myself a break. We have done the whole DIY birthday party thing for both of our girls, but this year I gave myself a time-out. Moms can do that, right? (the answer is “yes” in case you were wondering) 😉 With a new baby, crazy hormones and I mean CRAZE- EE, and still being behind since May 6, 2010, I needed to let myself off the hook. Oh how nice it was. And is. Don’t expect much from me and my crew- we are setting the bar LOWWW. Funny thing is my kids don’t even notice. Oh, it’s the little things. I want to be present with these munchkins. They are not itty-bittys forever, and every season (so I hear) brings new joy and wonder. Yes, I have heard from moms of teens that there is joy in that season too- I’m believing that way! 🙂 So, if it means underachieving in the things that don’t really matter (like birthday parties, or catalog-worthy nurseries) so that I can be present in the things and with the people that really do matter, then I’ll take it! Because I can always work myself to death to create a mirage of perfection, but I cannot win these years back or turn back the clock to win the hearts of my kids. If I am always behind in the things that don’t matter, then let me be behind and never catch up. I want to be preoccupied with the people God has placed in my life, not with what Pinterest posts, or what my calendar states, or what society says.
and sidebar….(this should probably be for another post, but I feel it fits here in some weird way)…
There are some horrific things going on around the world today. Things that I cannot change, no matter what the inspirational bloggers say. I can pray. That is the most I can do, and the best. If I think about these horrors long enough, I become sick, weary, and even falsely guilty for not providing relief and rescue for the least of these around the globe. If I could save these poor souls, I would. I would take them all in. Let them come–as many as our little bungalow can hold—let them come. The problem of evil is too much to bear…Lord, Jesus, only you could bear it, couldn’t you? So, I love my own- I love them well. And I must extend my hands as far as they can reach here in my own city. And prayerfully, my kids will do so as well in time. I guess, in a way, what I am saying is that we as parents can proclaim the gospel through our marriages and families by showing a better way- by loving our spouses well, by caring for our children with Christ’s tenderness, by serving the lost and needy in our neighborhoods. In this way we can change the world. One family at a time. One church at a time. One soul at a time.
Ok, whew. I guess I had to get that off of my chest. 😉