Lately, I have been thinking about the importance of family and what a privilege it is being the wife and mother to this crew. I recently read an article in a magazine, where a woman was attending a conference with her husband at Harvard University, and everyone in the room was asked to stand up and introduce themselves. As person after person stood up and listed off their professional accomplishments, this woman began to shrink in her seat. She thought of ways she could escape the room in order to avoid standing amidst all these highly accomplished strangers,when she was only just now working on her first bachelor degree. Rather than run away, though, she said a quick prayer to boost her confidence, and when the microphone was handed to her husband, she quickly took it from him, stood up and introduced herself:
I am the mother of 8 children and the grandmother of 18.
Much to her shock, everyone in the room applauded, and then her husband stood up and simply said:
And I am her husband.
This story makes me smile every time I hear it. Our world today does not value motherhood and it values marriage even less, but like all of these highly educated professionals recognised, raising a family and creating a healthy, loving marriage that endures, are major accomplishments. In fact, I would have to argue that they are two of the hardest and most rewarding pursuits an individual could undertake. Sure they are difficult. Sure there are far more heart wrenching moments than I would like to admit. Sure I spend most mornings kneeling in prayer, with tears in my eyes, begging God to help me be the woman my family needs that day, to be a source of praise rather than scorn and a source of comfort and love rather than neglect and pain. It is hard. I am one woman and it seems right now that my family has many needs: from supporting my husband who works round the clock with work and school, to encouraging Elliot to face everyday challenges with confidence and optimism, to creating opportunities daily for Avery to release his boundless athletic and artistic energy, to loving and comforting Baby Girl through her battle with Ulcerative Colitis, and finally to growing and protecting Thing 4. When I think about it this way, my head begins to spin and I ask myself:
How can one woman do all this?
How do I face each day with a smile on my face?
Why haven't I run away, yet?
Well, to be honest, it is pretty easy. From the outside my life looks overwhelming to many, but from the inside, it is pretty spectacular. I have a loving husband, who is quick to notice when I need a break and surprises me with gifts of books and date nights out to the movies,who is always quick to clean up or make a meal, and who always ends the night by telling me I am beautiful and giving me a kiss. I have four adorable children, who albeit are very demanding, are also a constant source of laughter and love. There is no better feeling than having your teenager hand you a Coke and a chocolate bar and say: Thanks for being my mom, or when I bend over to kiss Avery good night and he wraps his arms enthusiastically around my neck and squeals: you're the best mom ever, or when Elliot randomly comes up to me throughout the day and leans his body into mine, almost as if he is fusing his spirit to mine for the briefest of moments and I can feel him say: thank you, mom, for being here. I love being a wife and mother. I love each of the people God has blessed me to care for, and I believe with all of my heart that there is nothing more important than the work I do within this home for my family.