I love my children even on bad days. I always wanted to be a mom and I've always loved it.
My heart has never been the same since the nurses laid all 9 pounds, 13 ounces of my oldest son, Hunter, on my chest. And each of my children have brought additional joy. Each of my sweet babies have also brought their own unique set of challenges.
I like to think that I'm the do-it-all, amazingly fun mom. I also like to think, or rather believe, that every sacrifice I make is noticed and appropriately appreciated by my children. I realized today how ridiculously absurd that belief is . . . at least for now.
So there I was, attempting to pick up class rolls off of the church hallway floor with an 11-month old, chubby baby attached to my hip, when I realized I was breaking a sweat. My first thought was a sarcastic one: "Well, that's what you get for wearing a sweater." Okay, my second thought was sarcastic too: "Maybe if you did squats once in awhile you wouldn't nearly throw out a hip trying to pick these up." Let's be honest, my thought process only got worse.
I started thinking about Avery. I thought about how little sleep I'd gotten the night before. She's a terrible sleeper. I'm not a huge fan of letting kids cry it out (I don't wish to debate it . . . I'm just a cuddly mom). I began to illogically assume that if Avery was grateful for all that I sacrificed, she could sit quietly for 5 minutes so I could get something done without making church feel like 6 hours at the gym.
As I thought about it further (eliminating my exhaustion induced irrational thoughts) I realized it was just one more of those "things." It was just one more of those things we do and sacrifice in the name of motherhood.
I've spent a lot of time this evening thinking about my sacrifices over the past 8 years. As I've run through the play-by-play of my life as a mother, there were a lot of smiles, a few moments of soberness, and insane amounts of laughter.
Then a thought hit me with incredible force. These "things" that the rest of the world, and sometimes I, see as sacrifices need to be looked at differently. Sure, as moms we sacrifice a lot. I'm fully aware of it and would never even pretend to question it. And yes, it's likely that our children will never fully comprehend these sacrifices until they have children of their own. But the reward in exchange of said sacrifices should be more than sufficient to keep us going.
I mentioned that Hunter was almost 10 pounds. For those who don't know me . . . I'm a small person. So when I tell you that my bladder fell out during his delivery, please just take my word for it. This is one of those sacrifices that I'm reminded of every day of my life. I mean, sure, they put it back (at least that's what I was told), but if you knew the trouble I had running even ten feet, you'd question it too, okay!? Life is such that I'll never be able to forget what I gave up. But look what I got in return. I have a beautiful son . . . and he and I both survived, thanks to modern medicine. The blessing far outweighs all that I've lost.
That same boy now weighs 52 pounds. And for some reason he thinks that his 5'2" mother can still give him amazing piggyback rides. And why should he think any differently? The happy smiles are reward enough for the sore back. And this is my point.
Nothing that we ever suffer as a mother will fail to bring ample reward. Because one day our children will turn around and realize the love that motivated these sacrifices. And that feeling is all that will matter to them and to us.
Our kids aren't going to know how much sleep we lost or how many times we got sick because of it. They will, however, remember all the time we spent cuddling them and taking care of them when they were sick. They're not going to care how ugly our drawings were or how awesome our Birthday cake creations were. They're just going to remember that we cared enough to do it. They will remember the hugs and the kisses and the kind words and the magical fact that mom seemed to always have enough time for each one of them.
We're going to forget that we nearly wet our pants every time we stepped off of a curb. We'll only remember the beautiful sons we were blessed to raise. We'll forget all the times we fell asleep sitting up and hurt our backs giving piggyback rides. We'll only remember the awesome wrestlers we were and the sweetness of our sleeping babies. We're going to forget the hobbies we gave up as we stare lovingly at the children who replaced them.
Trust me on this one. Our sacrifices will be made up. And they'll bring forth more blessings than we can even comprehend.