These are some life lessons from "Mamahood"
(and yes...we say "mama" here in the south) ...
I think every mother would agree...that NO ONE could have prepared them for the job of "MAMA". From the moment you see those two pink lines or that little "peanut" on the ultrasound or get the phone call from the adoption agency......your whole world changes.
All the thoughtful advise...books...and classes in the world cannot prepare you for ...4am feedings (when you just fell asleep at 3)....the strange sticky goo that seems to cover everything 3ft and down....the never ending stream of snacks and sippy cups....dancing in your car even though you look crazy just to make your child laugh...the insane amount of trips to the emergency room and the doctors...two kids screaming in stereo at ear drum piercing decibels in the car...sitting alone in an office hearing "your child has autism"...holding down their sweet little legs when they have to get a shot...having to bring the whole closet of toys in the bathroom so that you can entertain the kids while grabbing a shower...how to fit two kids in the buggy AND a weeks worth of grocerys...walking on red lines and watching out for cracks to avoid meltdowns...knowing where every "quiet" public restroom is (even if you have to befriend the manager at Stride Rite)...advocating and standing up for what your child needs...swallowing your pride and asking for help...realizing half way to work that you are still listening to "twinkle twinkle little star" for no reason...I could go on for hours...
Being a mama is the most selfless duty on earth. But even though there are many days I feel like all I do is GIVE and GIVE. When I stop to reflect ...there is so much that I am GETTING from this journey....so many lessons I've learned from being a Mama....
Being a Mama... I have learned why my own Mama did the things that she did. I know why she "had eyes in the back of her head"...and I am thankful that she did. I know why she said that "punishment hurt her more than it did me"....but I'm glad she stuck to what she said. I know how hard it was to say "no" when she really always wanted to say "yes"...and I wouldn't be where I am today if she hadn't. I know why she didn't mind sacrificing her career and dreams to be home with my sister and I...and I can never thank her enough for that. Becoming a mom has shown me what an amazing person that she is. She is truly my hero...she is not perfect and she will tell you so...but she loves the Lord with all her heart ...and I can honestly say that anyone that has met her would tell you so. She breaths light in a dark world. I am so blessed to have such a woman of God in my life and so thankful that she is my Mama.
Being a Mama....I have found a love so strong that I never knew I could have. From the first steps...to the caterpillar "presents"....to the doctors telling you your life will never be what you thought...to sneaking in their room to give them a goodnight kiss...to the millions of therapy hours...to enormous melt-down in the middle of the grocery....to the precious prayers at bedtime. You realize a love so deep that you can't imagine anyone being able to love someone more. You love your child when they are throwing up...or screaming mad...or laughing hysterically...or after they have made a complete "masterpiece" out of your antique rug. These lessons in unconditional love have made the unconditional love of Christ so much more real to me. He loves me even when I make the hugest mistakes...sometimes so big that I cannot even forgive myself...He keeps His promises....forgiving me and loving me. And He does this because I am His precious child.
Being a Mama...I have learned that I cannot do this alone. I once thought that I was pretty much in control of my life. "Life is what you make it"..."Pull yourself up by your boot straps"...you know the drill. But the Lord has shown me over and over again (He tends to do that when you don't get the point the first time) that I am most certainly not. Sitting in office after office hearing that your child has a neurological disorder that cannot be "fixed" or "cured"...sitting through hours of therapy...filling out pounds of paperwork...staying up until all hours of the night trying to figure out how to pay for it all and still put food on the table. I have learned the hard way...that I cannot do this alone. The old saying that "God will never give you anything you can't handle"...WELL, that isn't exactly true. He ALWAYS gives you things that you can't handle. You can't handle them without Him. Mamahood has drawn me closer to God and my faith in Christ Jesus. There is absolutely no way I could do this alone.
Being a Mama...I have learned that the sacrifices you freely and thoughtlessly give are immeasurable. Mama's truly give until there's nothing left to give. You begin to fully understand the amazing love that God has for us that He would send His only son to die for us...so that we might live. I can't imagine sacrificing one of my children. But I think in some ways...that's what He asks of us. They are not ours...they are His. He made them perfectly in His image...no matter what type of special need they may have or how different they might be...they are perfect images of Christ. It's a process of laying your children at the foot of the cross. It's a process of letting go. God is constantly reminding me of this when I am overwhelmed...tired... and just grieving over this rocky journey. He is there to bear the load and take away my every fear... He has already made the ultimate sacrifice.
Being a Mama...I have learned what "faith like a child" really means. Addie, in particular, takes everything very literally. Her faith in Christ is no different. I feel like that is one of the "gifts" of her autism. After talking to her about how Jesus is always with us even when we are afraid, she was screaming in the bathroom about the flushing toilets. All the sudden she stopped...and started screaming "Jesus is with me ....Jesus is with me....Jesus is with me". Everyone in the bathroom was staring...some laughing....but I had tears in my eyes. Her faith amazed me. You know...she really "gets it" better than we do sometimes. Her faith is so honest and pure. After telling her about asking Jesus into her heart...she immediately opened her mouth as wide as she could. At first I wasn't sure what she was doing...I thought maybe she didn't understand. So I asked..."what are you doing?"....I got chills as she said "come inside Jesus". Now she tells people that Jesus is "inside her belly". Every story we read about the Lord she takes literally word for word...she doesn't read into any theology...she doesn't question it...she just believes. She has taught me so much about my own faith in so many ways. It is truly a childlike faith.
Being a Mama...I never thought I could do all that I do...I never thought I could pray as much as I've prayed....I never thought I could endure all that we've gone through...I never thought I could cry as much as I've cryed....I never thought I could love as much as I've loved...and I never thought I could be as FULL and RICH and BLESSED as I am by these precious gifts that God has given me.
Mamahood is a process of letting go and letting God. It's not a journey for the faint of heart. Some may have it a little easier...some a little harder...but either way....it's a journey that will leave you forever changed.