Thursday, September 23, 2010

800th Post - The Value of My Real Job

Wow.  800 posts.  Whodathunk it??  When I began this blog 4 years ago it was for Kenny's adoption journey.  Little did I realize it would document the adoption of Angela and Olesya as well, and so much else in our life which has been a surprise.  I never imagined pursuing lay ministry at that time, I never imagined homeschooling at that time, I never imagined laundry for 7 or surgeries or being a stay-at-home Mom.

Today though I realized what it was all about, and as usual God used the kids to minister to me in a moment of doubt.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am doing with my life, at moments feeling like I am "less than" because I tend to spend too much time comparing myself to others.  I saw an old friend in the store the other day and on the outside she appears to have it all...a great job, domestic skills that are worthy of Martha Stewart comparisons, she knows how to dress well and carries it off beautifully, she is well educated and has done things like design her own house and run large groups very well.  I have another friend pursuing her degree who is getting straight A's.

And I sit here with the dishes not yet done, scads of schoolbooks stacked around me in semi-organized chaos, got up late because I am feeling lousy as a cold has launched itself into my head, and spent part of last night sleepless wondering about what I am not covering properly in terms of teaching literation styles with Matthew.  Unpolished? could say that.  Unprofessional?  Oh yea Baby, totally.  Uneducated?  Not a lick of formal education beyond a couple of classes in junior college.  What am I thinking here?

The fact is, I am not really "good" at anything...I have no great talent or gifts, I would never get straight A's in college, I would never pull in a stylin' job.  I am passable at a lot of things, but not truly talented at anything.

Except for one thing, and I had my kids show me that this morning on a morning when it was needed most.

I am good at love.

I awoke with gummy eyes and a stuffy nose, sneezing like crazy.

I also awoke to two young men asking through my closed bedroom door if it would be OK if they did something in the kitchen for me (they have to ask permission before turning on stoves and such).  I was then told to just go take a long shower and come out when ready.

I appeared in the kitchen a half an hour later to find Kenny and Matthew had set the table with place mats, and had made the family breakfast of french toast, yogurt and fruit.  But to make it even more special, they each turned to me and Matthew with a hug  first said "Hi Mommy!  We wanted to make you breakfast to show you that we think you are special and we love you a lot!" and Kenny added "We know homeschooling all 5 of us is a LOT of work, and we are so happy to be home.  Thanks for doing all of this for us, now we wanted to do something for you."

Yes, I shed a tear or two.

Josh, Angela and Olesya joined us soon afterward and we sat there in the morning sunshine as it cast it's warmth across the table, and I realized that even if this is ALL I am ever good at, it is good enough.  The girls then proceeded to clean up and do the dishes, and we sat down to have a calm, easy start to our hectic day which included an IEP meeting in Delta for Kenny about speech issues, a trip to the library and art class.  But we curled up on the couch reading books, we all laughed together as we talked about common and proper nouns, and we looked at one another with hearts filled with appreciation for simply being together, for being a family who is actually in love with one another and will always be there for each other.

That is my real job, creating this feeling.  Why do I need to be reminded of that so often?  Why do I let the world's idea of "success" color my own self-worth dark and black?  I know this is valuable and precious...this time we have together right now, and I know that frankly, I was never created by God to be one of those women who at times I so wish I was like.  I don't have it in me to be that professional or polished.  But I have it in my soul to offer unconditional love and commitment to those I care about, including my polished and professional friends.

Hearing "Thanks for all you do, Mommy" is paycheck enough, and sadly I know there are plenty of moms out there who will never be fortunate enough to hear such words themselves...whose children are not aware of the sacrifices their mothers make for them and how deeply their moms love them.  What a gift it is to have our children recognize my love for them and be unashamed to return it tenfold.

What a gift it is from God to throw that load of clothes in the washer today, to clean up yet another mess from the puppy today, and to play taxi driver again today.

My job IS valuable, even if only to the inhabitants of this home.

Thanks boys for loving so well.  You are the best sons a mother could ever, ever ask for...daily I am proud of your character and your special gifts.  And your hugs which grow stronger with each passing year are dear to me.

800 posts...representative of thousands of hugs and kisses...and gallons of tears shed over the last 4 years yearning for children who were not yet home.  I wonder what the next 800 posts will represent...


Anonymous said...

800 more--they will be filled with love, compassion, consideration, teamwork, discouragement, joy, hope, growing, learning (and that includes you, Cindy), and a deep commitment to God and each other.

800 more--we'll read of adventure, travel, scholarly growth, athletic prowess, family deepening and broadening (that was not personal, Cindy), faith, fellowship, open arms, open hearts.

You welcome us into your home, draw us close, share even if there is risk. 800 more--I'll try not to miss a one.


P.S. Good to hear that Kenny is recovering sufficiently to be a chef.

Dee said...

Great post, Cindy. I had been anxious to learn how Kenny was doing. You are doing much more with your life than anyone else I know! You are raising and educating young men and ladies who are creative, loving, and have unlimited potential. You are responsible for five lives. That's 1,000% more impressive than a fancy house and snazzy career. YOUR accomplishments will live on for decades, and then onto other generations. You amaze me.

Carol said...

Congratulations on your 800th post. You are one of the most interesting and engaging bloggers... I am a LaJoy Blog Addict!

Was just thinking about you today, trying to figure out HOW you do all that you do. I feel like a broken record, but I have to say it again... you are nothing short of amazing. Mark and I discussed this, and decided that you never sleep.

Cindy, you do what you do very, VERY well. The way you and Dominick are raising your children is truly an inspiration. You are my "Mom Idol"!

Anonymous said...

I think you suffer from what many stay-at-home moms do, Cindy. But YOU do so much more while you stay at home! I sometimes have to remind I look around at others doing so much more than I do in terms of "ministry", volunteering in the community or church, etc...and as I feel guilty knowing that I wouldn't be able to handle more in a very successful manner...that this IS my ministry. It's what God asked us to do to raise these kids. My first "job" is to do that well, which I know I often don't.

My kids are all in school now, and I recently applied for my dream job, working at the preschool connected to our school. I love that age and worked there part time, about eight years ago. I didn't know the job was open, but was called by the head teacher (a friend) and told to apply. Turns out I needed an early childhood endoresment, besides my degree and long ago expired teacher's certificate (art education, 19??). But in the end, I realized I wasn't ready to go from stay-at-home to full time, even with all our kids in school. I know if I'd come home from working all day with high energy 2-4yr olds, I wouldn't have had much energy left to help with all the homework of our ELL daughter and others who need oversight in homework department, not to mention all that needs done around here with four teens living and eating in this house. I would also have missed some of their after school activities. I gave our older four girls time and energy to attending and driving pre-licensed teens to and from their activities. I am blessed to be able to afford the same privelege with these last four. Rather than seeming like the perfect time to get a fulltime job, this seems like the least ideal time. Our oldest son is a sophomore, and I remind him and myself often that we only have three more years of him at home, if he follows the lead of his older sisters. And our youngest daughters have only been home six and three years. They deserve as much of me as I can offer, and at my age, I know myself and my limits and energy. I love being here when they come home from school or practice, spending as much time as a family as possible since they're gone to public school much of their days.

So for now, I remind myself that I committed my life to my husband and children, a very noble and worthwhile life purpose. The world just doesn't see it that way. And if I never return to the work force, I pray that my kids will feel as thankful as I that I was priveleged to be home, making a home and family for all of us. To others who can manage both, I say you are amazing!

I'm right with you on not feeling that there is a classy bone in my body. I could never pull off what other wives and mothers do. But I have a hubby who thinks I am beautiful, and that's all that counts!

Nancy in the Midwest.

Hilary Marquis said...

I KNOW that feeling very well, my friend. Reading in my children's worksheets this morning that they are thankful that "Mom homeschools me" made all of it worth it. That's what I wanted & needed to hear more than kids are glad that I'm doing this.

Adrienne said...

Wow... Cindy..This is going to be short but just want to say ...'it doesn't get better than this...'

You excel at being a Mom... Your children are so blessed to have you... and I mean that most sincerely.. and admire you lots..

Anonymous said...

Before we brought our two home, a friend of ours, father to three, commented that raising children would be the hardest joy we ever did -- and the most rewarding. Ten years later I can say he was absolutely right! I am so grateful to have children. I agree with you, sometimes it seems like an endless round of cooking and dishes and all the other tasks -- our house is pretty messy, but hopefully, full of love and kid friendly. At the end of our days, I don't think we'll be asked "Did you clean your house?" but "did you love those I gave into your care?"

I admit I admire neat, clean, organized homes -- but we just struggle along and do the best we can.

I remember when you started your Blog. Happy 800th post and wishing you many more!

Peggy in Virginia

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- typo in comment above -- meant to say "hardest job we ever did" And yet -- maybe "hardest joy" is somehow right, also.


Kelly and Sne said...

Just remember that you have the most important job in the world - Mom to these children. And you excel at it!

Anonymous said...

Cindy - You are one of the smartest women I have ever known. I am "educated." I am a "professional." It is nice to get kudos from those I may have helped in my profession. Yet, the kudos that touch my heart the deepest are those from my own children. Funny how we look at the lives of others and wish we were more like them. Oh, how I wish I had been as superb a mother as you are! Oh, how I wish I had you as a friend and your blog to read when I was raising my children! I am so proud of my children and love them more than life itself. There are so many things I wish I had done differently, better as a mother. PLEASE do not sell yourself short on what you do! Not gifted? No talents? Not educated? All I can say is....ha! Your talent and gifts with love are pulitzer prize material! With love and great respect, Miss Joan

Anonymous said...

I'm a university professor, and I read your blog for guidance and advice. Definitely stop doubting yourself--it sounds like nobody who knows you doubts you, and none of us who've accidentally discovered you and read your work doubt you. Perhaps the word you should be looking for isn't education (which, don't get me wrong, is a great and wonderful thing), but WISDOM--and that is clearly achievable through many different routes, but very few people actually travel those routes. You have, for whatever reason, through whatever means. And we all appreciate that and what you have to offer us as we try to be good people and good mothers.