Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I am here to meet your needs

Often, when my children wake up in the night, I rush to their side and murmur, "Mama's here, mama's here". Often with tenderness; other times with exhaustion; and sometimes, I'm sad to say, with frustration at yet another hour of sleep interrupted.

As I whispered it to Cole this afternoon, waking from his nap rather violently, I took delight in being there for him...gently nursing him back into slumber so that he could later wake with renewed energy for life again.

To me, the phrase "I am here to meet your needs" describes the essence of mothering young ones. God designed Mothers to be the lifegivers for their young. We see it throughout His creation; and most eloquently in His image-bearers, humankind.

Without a supplement (formula, a wet nurse...), infants would literally die without the sustenance their Mother's milk provides. Without touch, infants will not thrive. Without someone to listen to and respond to their needs, babies are helpless! By design, their cry demands an answer.

And God's answer was Mama. The person He created to constantly care for a baby. To nourish him; cradle him; smile at him; talk to him; care for love him by meeting his every need, no matter what.

It is a truly noble calling.

At the same time, it often seems to be this precise round-the-clock neediness that can feel totally overwhelming, can't it? I recall sitting on my bed in the wee hours of the morning a few days after Graeme's birth. His was a c-section, so I was dealing with surgery recovery, which I found to be much worse, hormonally, than my natural birth with Cole. Anyhow, I sat on my bed, nursing Graeme for what seemed like the fourth time already that night, and I just started weeping as it struck me: I would never be an independent human being again. Yes, marriage is a husband definitely needs me =) But nothing like a baby needs me, especially a nursing baby. I realized that, for the foreseeable future, I would be tied to a needy little one who would demand my attention, whether direct or indirect, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There would be no "recess", no "lunch break" - no "vacation" from parenting.

Having a baby makes you unselfish, whether you're willing to be or not!

It was a process, for me, though, to accept my design. Then it took awhile more for me to embrace it. I think that will be a story I share another day, as (speaking of meeting needs) it's time to finish dinner preparations and help my boys share the tape measure. Ha!

Some pictures from our last few weeks...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My "bumper sticker" for these baby-years

Or, I should say, one of the many I could share. Do you ever think of a phrase that would look really good as a bumper sticker?
I can't say I think of one very often, but yesterday I did.

It was just a long day, and I felt like I was cleaning up mess after mess after mess. My toddler had an accident; I did like countless sinks of dishes, as I was cooking all day; working with a laundry pile that seemed to multiply as the day went on, the blueberry that spilled on the seat that I had to feverishly try to get out before it stained....and so on - you get the idea.

On days like that, I can find myself weary with the seemingly endless demand on my energies for these messes we all make. That can disintegrate to complaining and "whining" (even if only in my head!) about these repetitive chores that come with a home with small children (and a momma who tends toward the messy, I mean, artistic side of things).

As I prayed for the Lord to change my viewpoint, I realized this: that Life is worth the Messes.

Living comes with demands, yes; but it comes with rewards as well. In fact, the living we do day-in and day-out is full of so much LIFE - learning, giving, trying, falling, getting back up; creating, exploring; resting, worshipping, eating; loving, hugging, laughing, crying.

So, yes, my young ones make extra laundry because they are learning: how to go potty in the big potty, how to hold a spoon or a cup.

I make lots of dishes cooking healthy, nourishing food.

We spill paint, milk, water, juice, markers, glue....but we spill them because we are using them to create, refresh and explore.

The glass is either half-full or half-empty. The choice - which way to view it - lies entirely with me.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

Proverbs 31:17