Yesterday was truly a blessing, and it was not because it was my 48th birthday (Yikes!). The day did not turn out to be at all like I had planned, but perhaps transformed into something even better. I was so looking forward to having the house all to myself for a couple of hours. (I know that all you moms and dads out there are salivating at the thought of it.) Instead, I had the opportunity to nurse my daughter who had a terrible migraine, and play Nerf guns with my youngest son.
One of the greatest desires in my life for as long as I can remember was to be a mom. All three of my children came into this world through much tumult and stress. I experienced pre-term labor with all three – beginning earlier in each succeeding pregnancy. For the first child, I was hospitalized for nearly a month, then gave birth a month early. On the last child, I began contracting at 17 weeks! I realized very early on that a child is truly a gift, not a right to be claimed. I also learned that our children are not our own. They belong to God, and He entrusts us with their care for a time while they are here on earth. That is a huge responsibility, never to be taken lightly.
Conceiving children was not a piece of cake for us either. There is a reason that our kids are spaced seven years apart. It was certainly not our will, but the Lord’s infinite wisdom and plan for which we learned (albeit rather slowly) to gratefully submit.
Raising kids is tough – the best, hardest thing that one can ever do, I think. It is especially difficult in the times that we are living in. The devil is working very hard to destroy the family, and in many cases, he has been quite successful. I’ve learned that my mom was so right when she said, “Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.” I think it has to do with the pull that the world has on children (and adults!) today.
Last night, I watched The Little Couple. In the episode, Jen and Bill renewed their vows for their 6th anniversary. Countless times they mentioned the tremendous blessing it has been to be able to adopt their two beautiful children in the past year. They longed for children and even tried in-vitro fertilization (something that our Church doesn’t approve of because some embryos wind up being frozen or destroyed). Though I understand and support the reason that the Church frowns upon such extra ordinary measures of trying to conceive, I also understand the couple’s undeniable yearning for that gift of life. When conception doesn’t happen month after month, there is a sadness – an emptiness – that can take hold. I am so delighted that they decided to adopt those two beautiful children from China and from India. They seem to truly cherish and delight in the blessing of parenthood.
When my few hours of freedom slipped through my hands yesterday, just for a second, I felt sorry for myself. Then, I remembered that yearning for the gift of life that I once felt. I realized that I have been so generously blessed that my yearning was fulfilled. How wonderful it is that I have had three great kids (an a little one in heaven)! How blessed I am to be home with them right now – to have the time to nurse, to nurture, and to play.