Monday, June 1, 2009

For Anne...

My oldest daughter, Anne, doesn't want to be a mother. This makes me sad. Oh, I know it's likely she will change her mind; she's twelve after all. But still, the fact that she sees nothing appealing in the path I have chosen feels like a failure on my part. Especially as her reason for this declaration is that my life would be much less stressful without so many children making demands of me. Apparently I have done a fine job of displaying the frustrations of motherhood but a dismal one at representing the benefits.

In some ways I can understand this. It's easy to see how the cons of having children, especially multiple children, can seem to outweigh the pros. I never have enough time or patience or money. I spend the nearly all of each day cleaning, refereeing, cooking, or chauffeuring. And really could there be a less glamorous life? I consider my self quite dolled-up if I put on makeup and blow dry my hair before leaving the house. Adult conversation is a commodity. And, sadly, it just simply is true that I am frequently overwhelmed and short tempered.

So, from the outside looking in, I can see why it would seem that I don't offer much to recommend this path I have chosen. But from Anne, who lives inside these walls, I find it heartbreaking. Heartbreaking that somehow I have failed to display the one, overwhelming, item on the other side of the scale. The thing that trumps the lack of sleep, and glamor, and privacy. The reason I signed up again and again to do this "mommy thing."

The joy.

Oh, Anne. I have failed you if you can't see it. That each and every day contains moments of joy that far outweigh anything that I ever experienced before becoming a mother. Joy that, for me, I thinkwould have been impossible to experience until I learned to love someone more greatly than myself. You and I have entered into a bit of a prickly phase in our relationship lately and I know that you know my days are not full of maternal rapture. But what I think you have missed is that in the spaces in between are moments, sometimes even just seconds, that take my breath away:

Boo and Pepper in their raincoats splashing, barefoot, in their rain. You, reading to Boo the same books I read to you. The light in The Little's eyes when you enter a room. Brando scoring a goal in a basketball game. Sitting next to you on the side of the tub while we have a lesson on how to shave your legs. The smell of Pepper's hair in the morning. The sound of you singing in the shower. The songs and adventures you create for your younger siblings. Brando wrestling with them at night. The passion you have for sharing Jesus with your friends. The voices of you and Brando talking together at night when you think we aren't listening. Sometimes just the sight of one of you, or all of you, will make my heart skip a beat. It's like falling in love. Over and over again.

So Anne, I know that it's not the path for everyone to have children. I do not presume that it's impossible to be happy without them. But if you do decide not to take that path I pray it will not be because you didn't think I found it worth it. Because, for me, the things I have had to give up have paled in comparison to what I have gained. For nothing I have ever done has made me feel less important, more scared, closer to God, and well, happier... than being your mom. And if I haven't told you, or shown you that lately...shame on me.


  1. Oh, this was really so sweet. My eyes filled up during that second to last paragraph.

    It is worth it. No doubt about it.

  2. My daughter says she isn't having kids, or maybe just one. I am actually encouraging this for a little while, cuz I know she will change her mind :) Very, very sweet. And I good reminder.

  3. You're so busy giving these days that you haven't found time for a show & tell on the joys of motherhood? I don't see shame in that! One day (when she's not 12...) Anne will realize that your "unglamorous" life was give-give-give-give-give-give...and that you were glad to do it because you got-got-got-got-got. When she gets it? You get to be a grandma! Here's hoping we'll have ten or twelve WTHSs between now and then. :)

  4. Ha! Karen, as usual you make me smile. Yes, I don't want Allie to be a mother for a LONG time. And for what it's worth, I never wanted to be a mother either. We all see how that turned out.

  5. oh. ok, I can't see the keys to type because my eyes are filled with tears.


  6. Wow, I haven't read your blog in a while, and what a great post to read early in the morning. You have such a way with words, all of your kids are so lucky to have you as their mother:)