This post begins with a caveat. I write this blog for myself, and don't usually cater the content to other readers much, but I do observe certain boundaries, knowing that readers, whoever and wherever you are, are indeed there. This post blows past all boundaries and is, entirely, for myself and my kids to read someday. It will be full of seemingly boastful swagger that hedges on obnoxious. So, dear reader, beware. I'm writing this for us.
A couple of weeks ago, after reading this post, my friend Rachel* facebooked me and said,
"I was reading your blog about being in your house for five years and it made me think - wait a minute, I've 'known' Megan for about five years and I don't remember a move. Anyway, I've spent some time going through your archives this morning and it's crazy to see your kids so little! I know in my head how fast it goes, but having a baby is completely exhausting, it's easy to forget."
I messaged back,
"Funny you mentioned this. Just this morning I was searching through my old journals looking for something (I only pull them out once in a blue moon) and the thing I was looking for was in the 2005/2006 or so time period. I laughed to myself as I scanned three years of journal entries, 68% of them starting with, "God, I am so tired this morning!" etc. or consisting of me talking about how worn down/tired/overwhelmed I was feeling that day about one thing or another. Hmm...could it be all those babies and being pregnant all the time?? My goodness!"
Those early years are a bit blurry. At the time I certainly knew they were difficult, but in hindsight I am AMAZED at how we got through it in one piece. It was a one moment at a time exercise in relying on God to give me what I needed; be it strength, patience, or forgiveness, as all those journal entries testify.
Jim and I are entering in to a golden season of parenting. Our kids our independent (but still very near.) They are capable and bright and eager individuals, and we watch them grow more so every day. All six of us so entirely different, we even out one another's rough edges. It's real life, it can be gritty and ugly, it can be frustrating, but it is also chock-full of rewards. Honestly, I just like my kids and my husband so very much.
Parenting is not easy. We worked hard to lean on our strengths, and strengthen our weaknesses. For me as a mom, that meant my kids thrived under my pragmatic style of leadership and my sense of flexible order. I'm creative but organized and that has really added a lot to how this family "works."
I also love my kids fiercely. That love compelled me to press in to my faults and shortcomings and serve them anyway. I am introverted and easily overwhelmed by busyness, excess noise, and talking. I have very little patience or compassion. These are learned, transformed behaviors in me, should you ever see me display them. I have a low tolerance for being touched. I like my space. I can't stand messes, or when people touch my stuff. Most of all, I am deeply, deeply selfish. I very rarely think of anyone else first. Just me. I don't know if you have kids, or ever work with small children, but... nothing could involve more noise, mess, touching, diplomatic mediating over somewhat ridiculous arguments, or more need for patience and compassion. And it is entirely about serving outside yourself.
I am a work in progress, and there is nothing quite like parenthood to move you squarely outside the boundaries of what's "comfortable." In myriad ways, my salvation is being worked out in my role as a wife and a mother.
Thankfully, I married a man who complements all my strengths and faults; we make a real team. (But let's be clear, he's a much better person than me. Anyone who knows us will tell you so.)
Long story not made short, we set out on a quest some eleven years ago with a clear vision of what our marriage and family would be here for, and while the road has been long, and our methods are constantly evolving, that vision is here and clear and not going anywhere. And the kicker is that now that we're down the road a bit, we see fruit from all those long and weary early days, and it is beautiful.
I am very, very hopeful for the future. Not because we can sit back and relax; indeed this next decade of parenting will be intense as our children transition from childhood into teenagers and young adults.
But because ten years ago when Grace was born (and I didn't know the first thing about being a mother) God promised me that if we would do this thing day by day with Him, He would be there and He would work something incredible in and through us. And He delivered. Over and over and over again.
This year has marked a "halftime" for us; a pause between the craziness of a house full of small children and the iron man challenge it will be to mentor, love, and inspire them through these formative years, allowing them to discover who they are, who God is to them personally, and what they will live for; preparing them to leave us well. Nothing breaks my heart or fills it with joy more than that calling!
Being a part of this family is absolutely amazing. I really, really, really like every one of you. Thank you for putting up with me so nicely.