As I sit here typing, I can look down and see my ever-growing belly, a good sign that the little life within continues to thrive. I can hear a four year old playing in his bunk bed when he should be napping. I hear the heavy breathing of my one year old daughter as she refuels her energy tank for a romping afternoon. And I know that that little boy I used to spend hours/days/weeks snuggling with on the couch is reading to himself while I spend a few minutes recharging my own batteries. Life is full. And while some moments fly by, others are so decadently rich with precious moments that my mind and soul can't take it all in.
I'm a multi-mom. I have more children than I have hands. I can compare and contrast each of their birth stories in mind-numbing detail. At times, I glory in seeing the unique personalities each of them has been given, and at other times I wish they would cooperate better as a team. We've reached a new season. It's no longer about him or him or her or me. It's about us, living life, loving God, and enjoying the ride... because it is a ride. If you try to get off, you will be run over. I know. I've tried. Ouch. But I've also had to intentionally hit the brakes to at least slow things down because I realized that I was missing all the gourmet moments while being so frantically busy trying to make the daily happen.
More of them. Less of me. Something had to give. So here's what a did: I prayed. And I talked to Teacher Man, who LAUGHED out loud. He had the gall to laugh to my face when I asked him if he thought I was involved in too many things. Apparently, I'm just super slow at recognizing what the people around me can see after 30 seconds in my presence. And God did a work in my heart and my mind, cutting things away and even adding a few in.
God was faithful. A week after I begged the Lord to show me how I was supposed to get to the grocery store in our schedule, a college student asked if she could serve our family with childcare. A few days after I told Teacher Man I was going to scream if I had to keep cooking allergy-friendly meals every night, a woman from church offered to make me an egg-free, dairy-free meal on occasion. And at one point when I thought I was going crazy, God ordained a coffee date with a woman I've only met a few times, and I discovered a kindred spirit.
It wasn't easy. I miss a lot of the things I cut out. So. much. But I think I would feel worse about scurrying my way through Laura's second year of life and Ben's first year of preschool at home. About the feelings of anger as I watched more problems arise than I had the free time to work on. About missing all of Caleb's crazy stories from kindergarten because I am still processing my frantic schedule. About not slowing enough to talk to the little life growing inside me.
I was struck this morning as I watched all three of my children jumping and laughing in the family room that, while I will not miss diapers and shoe-tying, I will indeed miss having preschoolers in the house. Their unrestrained hugs. The thump of little feet running through the house. Their inability to hold words back... every honest, sweet, stinking, hilarious thing they feel like saying comes out. Even at their most excited, I highly doubt all three of my oldest children will jump and laugh and tumble around the family room like clumsy gymnasts once they've reached the teen years. Bummer. Although that's probably best for the safety of the furniture.
There's also more scary to come. With new little person's arrival in April, I'm realizing that even the things that God is allowing me to keep right now, He could very well ask me to give up in the spring. Ouch. Pain, but in a good way. I'd rather have a few deep commitments than a bunch of momentary appearances. Though it's nice to keep up with everyone, my soul revels in a small circle who can be honest, extend forgiveness, and love richly. And even though I may refer to my kids as our "crew," my deepest desire is to know their hearts individually and to mother each of them uniquely. Because even though I'm a multi-mom, my deepest desire to to be Caleb's mom, Ben's mom, Laura's mom, and ???'s mom. To teach them to live and love together as a family but to pursue the individual callings that the Lord has placed on each of their lives.
To those of you who are enjoying life with one child, bless you. It's hard. And scary. And so very overwhelming. And to those of you with your hands full of little hands, bless you. It's hard. And scary. And so very overwhelming. My hats off to each of you for embracing the life God has called you to live today. May you do it well by the strength and grace that God has given you for this moment!