Nathan keeps reminding me that in a few short months our Jackson will be 5 (…the knife goes in) and next fall he will be going to Kindergarten (…and then the knife is twisted). I crazy love this man, but while I want our babies to stay in the nest forever…he cannot wait to adventurously soar with them from the moment they are born. Opposites attract, I suppose. I respond to this impending mama of preschooler doom the way many people who resist change do…denial. I prefer to burry my head in the sand and pretend like it is never going to happen. I’ve told him very matter-of-factly as though he gives me absolutely everything my heart desires…when that time comes, I either want a puppy or a baby. He then burst into laughter hysterically as if to say yeah, right...in your dreams because this mama can unfortunately bear no more Benham baby birds and Nathan is terribly allergic (and extremely resistant!) to puppies. So I go on pretending that day will either never come, we will miraculously be getting a puppy or a baby will be dropped off on our doorstep. Sounds reasonable to me-? Meanwhile I blissfully live in the present enjoying every second I currently have with my little guy at home with me. (He is SO fun!)
When that dreaded first day of Kindergarten does come for our baby it will end a 10-year run of having little ones at home with me full-time. I hate it when they have to go to school…at any age. I hate it! A mom of teenagers told me…You think Kindergarten is bad…wait until they go to college! Kindergarten is nothing. While I am sure she is right, and I refuse to even think about that right now, it was not encouraging. It added another level of realization that this is just the beginning. Sometimes I wish God would lead me to home school like he has other moms we know just so I can have more time with our children…but He hasn’t. In fact He has done the opposite blessing us with amazing schools and incredible teachers who love our kids so much…which is just like Him because God has also shown me that my motives are completely and utterly selfish. I presume that I will fill my time completely to the minute…but not a second more than our kids are at school. All those years of admittedly locking myself in the bathroom just for a minute of solitude….a mommy time out…and then, when what some see as freedom is merely months away, I realize…I won’t like it one bit. Figures! It’s just not right to be home without my children so it won’t feel like a break at all. I think the reason I love having my children home with me so much is because…well, I love them to pieces…but I have been able to find what I thought was impossible…rest amidst the chaos.
I once heard a very wise man who has lots of children say…mothers of preschoolers can never get enough rest. Can I get an amen!? It isn’t just a lack of sleep that causes exhaustion. I mean we all know that one can sleep all night long and wake up still being tired. Little ones syphon energy from the body, soul and mind…around the clock. This side of a decade raising little ones has taught me this. Pouring out love into children whom you never have to teach to be selfish, but in fact you are responsible to teach them to be selfless requires constant patience and gentleness…no easy feat. Then there is the physical aspect…most moms don’t sit down…ever! There is always something to do or someone to chase or catch or shield from some type of disaster or injury! Life with boys has taught me that! Then there is the mental part…have you ever tired to out-smart a preschooler…especially one who is entirely too smart for his or her own good as my mother would say? To which she reminds me is my penance for what I put her through in my toddler years. Staying one step ahead of them is a mental race that doesn’t end until…well…I haven’t crossed that finish line yet…and I’m not sure I ever will. After all, parents handing off the baton of wisdom to their children is a life-long, wonderfully exhausting and rewarding marathon.
Needless to say…mamas are tired! Many would gladly throw their non-dominant arm to the tick-tock croc just to be able to take a nap because they already know how to do pretty much everything with one hand anyway…and the thought of sleep is just so glorious! I spent way too many years of my babies’ precious lives trying to create my own rest. I would run around like a mad woman all morning long and coordinate nap times to sync perfectly just to be able to sit down for maybe 20 minutes without pumping or wiping or folding while 2 or 3 of them were sleeping. More often than not my rest would be inevitably interrupted and I would begin the rat race again until bedtime and collapse just to wake up still.tired to do it all over again. I didn’t understand that the rest I needed was not for my body, it was for my soul…and no matter how hard I tried…I could not manufacture it.
Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30…
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It wasn’t simply weariness from my role as a mother that I needed rest from. I needed rest from pain…physical and emotional. I needed rest from the weight of the world that for some reason I thought I needed to carry. I needed rest from worry and strife and trying to make my own plans…for me and my children. When I finally began to just give everything the the Lord…with chaos swarming around me…the weight was lifted. My soul was taken off the spiritual hamster wheel. God didn’t change my circumstances…there will always be chaos in this world…He changed me. He never grows weary or faint and He gives strength to the weary. Being a mother has brought me such joy from the moment I knew I was carrying our first blessed child…but how much more I have been given through rest in Jesus. He gives peace that passes all understanding. Oh how I wish I knew then what I know now.
Lying around these past few weeks it seems logical that I would be completely rested but sleep is often hard to come by, very reminiscent of having newborns. I find myself in those moments feeling so alone in a dark, quiet house…fear knocking at my door. The only thing that comforts is to pour my heart out to the Lord. My body may be weak and weary…but He responds with rest for my soul. Today I am thankful that even in the seemingly impossible circumstances…whether it’s giving my children roots and wings and being able to let them…and this precious part of my life go…or waiting for Him to move this mountain and heal…I am able to find rest in God alone, my Rock and my Salvation. For what is impossible for me is possible with God.