I was a young mother with two small children. Three and one. I went to a mother's morning out at a local church and met a host
of new women. It was the first time I had ever been to a gathering designed just for moms, with a Bible study and child care completely geared toward US.
As the ladies in the group got to know each other and as we talked ad nauseam about our children, I came to the decision, in my own mind, that as children got older, their parents loved them less.
I know that's silly. NOW. But back then, when the moms in our group discussed the achievements of their eleven year olds or the going-off-to-colleges of their older teens, it was NOT with the unrestrained, choking-back-tears love that I had for my two babies when I even thought about them back in the child care area. I surmised, that a mother's love for her children MUST fade
as her children grow.
|The Mother Who Knew It All, and her patient, although inferior, sidekick|
And then I got to know a few "mothers of many" and I became SURE that these women did not love their children as strongly as I loved mine. I could tell by the way the children came to Mother's Morning Out . . . WITHOUT matching gymboree outfits and
individual lunch boxes with their names artistically written on them. These women brought ONE bag with 14 pb&j sandwiches inside, ONE bag with a bunch of cut up oranges and ONE bag of popcorn for all their children to descend upon at lunch. And much to my horror and dismay, their children often SHARED DRINKS!!!!!
Yes, I felt quite sure that I was correct in my assumption that with many children, love had to be divided and therefore, less was dumped on each child.
In my narrow, 20-something year old way of thinking, love for my children was something that others could SEE. In their clothing, in their lunches, in their toy boxes.
I had SO MUCH TO LEARN . . .
And God, in His sovereignty that I often find tinged with a sense of humor, would teach me over the next decade, just how wrong I was to judge these families by my ridiculous standards.
It began to happen slowly, almost imperceptibly at first. I became close to some Godly Mothers of Many.
I stopped laying out my kids' clothes the night before, even when we were just staying home. And we adopted a third child.
We began sneaking into Goodwill to shop, under cloak of darkness. And along came child number four.
I let them go to church once in awhile WITHOUT gelling their hair. And a fifth child found his way into our home.
I ceased carrying "extra clothing" for children long potty trained and did not stop to make them switch their shoes to the right feet before walking into the store. If they were comfortable, who was I...? And God blessed us with child number SIX.
I forgot to put snacks in my purse (do "Halls" count as a snack?), rarely made sure they were "entertained" when we
traveled (look out the WINDOW!) and sometimes shorts and sweaters DO go together. So God blessed us, yet again, with a seventh child.
So, to my babies, big and small, then and now,
I can type with the utmost assurance that I was wildly crazy about you when you were little.
I would have gladly given my life and/or vital organs to you without hesitation if the need arose.
You were my sun and moon and stars.
You were the "idols" I always had to confess and pray about when sermons about putting ANYTHING before God were preached.
You and You and You . . . TIMES SEVEN.
I felt that way all those years ago. AND I STILL DO!