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? Yea...you 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...