I feel like I am finding my way back.
Back to my real self. My real life. My real dreams. My real passions. My real....ME.
During this past year of pregnancy, sickness, waiting, birth, transition, more waiting, packing, cleaning, sorting, and travelling, I got lost. I didn't feel like myself. I wasn't myself. My normal loves-to-read, loves-to-cook, loves-to-have people over, loves-to-take-pictures, loves-to-write self disappeared. Probably somewhere between the toilet bowl and the suitcases. I missed her. But most of all, I missed the part of me that I call mom.
Sure, I took care of the kids. I did the laundry, I cleaned, I shopped, I made them meals, we did school. But I wasn't being a mom. Any babysitter could do what I was doing. It was survival mode. It was get-them-in-bed-just-as-soon-as-possible-and-no-you-can't-stay-up-late-tonight parenting. It was no-we-can't-have-people-over-today-because-mom-needs-a-nap parenting. It was daddy-is-cooking-dinner-and-I-am-sorry-but-it-will-probably-be-nachos-and-popcorn-AGAIN parenting. Let me say, it wasn't my finest year.
Parenting is so much more than caring for physical needs. I can cook and clothe and house and bathe and medicate and educate my children without actually parenting them. I can do it without loving them. But parenting, that's some serious work. Just read the first few chapters of Proverbs."Listen to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching" implies that the parents are intentionally teaching and training. It's more than babysitting. It's molding and shaping hearts through love and intentional acts of service. It is living in daily sacrifice in order to love the little ones well. Matthew 18 shows how passionately Jesus cares for the children. And so should we.
Much improvement came after Zachary was born, but other than one amazing week at Myrtle Beach, my life since the beginning of May has consisted of packing, sorting, cleaning, nursing, pumping, feeding, and changing. There wasn't time for anything else. Far too many bags of potato chips were eaten (by me) and far too many bowls of
cereal sugar were consumed by the kids. I knew it was just for a season and I knew that the endless days of visitors, packing, and saying goodbye would come to an end. And while it broke my heart to leave America, I was so glad to be leaving that me behind and finding the one I left in Asia.
It's slow going, but I am finding my way back.
I am remembering what it feels like to be a mom. I am remembering what it means to intentionally love them. I am remembering how to love them in ways that speak to their hearts. I am remembering how to care for them with food. I am remembering the smile that quality time brings to Levi's face, what reading books does for Bethany, and what late night giggles do for the older kids. I am remembering what it feels like to rest quietly and nurse my son on his schedule instead of frantically pumping so I can have a bottle ready when he needs to eat and I am too busy to stop and feed him. I am remembering the beauty of talking with my husband after the kids have gone to sleep and looking towards the future of our family.
I am finding my way back to me.
I'm reading books (on my own and to the kids!), I am playing dress up. I am dancing with a two-year old. I am playing long games of cards with the bigs. I am letting my camera capture the little joys that make up our real life. I am eating better. I am caring for my body. I am soaking up the still-dark morning hours with my coffee in one hand and Bible in the other. I am finding my way back. And oh, it feels so good.