Saturday, July 25, 2009


In college one word we heard a lot in the context of serving others was reciprocity. The idea was that as you are pouring your life out for another that you reciprocally will be blessed and re-filled just by the process of being in relationship and loving them. Honestly, that's a great idea, but it isn't always true. At least not for me. Maybe that's my fault, I don't know. Either way, I got a glimpse of it today in a little different way that I expected.

I volunteered a few hours of my time to talk with new Mama's or soon-to-be Mama's at a baby expo today about how to avoid or heal from a cesarean section. As always it was sobering and emotional to hear their stories, their disappointments, their sadness and pain from the emotional/mental and of course physical implications of this surgery. But I also got to encourage them, cheer them on, educate them and celebrate with them for a few moments on their journey. Full.

When I got home, I had an hour in which I had to pull the house together before we had company for dinner, make dessert and a salad. Knowing that there was much to do in a small amount of time, Addison decided she would pitch in too, but instead of sleeping as usual during this time slot, she screamed. THE WHOLE TIME. Then Caiden came home and she proceeded to whine, cry, disobey and generally add to the distressed ambiance of our home. What is this- a conspiracy? The thing is, I should have known. Any time you absolutely HAVE to get something done with time constraints, that's when everything hits the fan. Are babies born with a sixth sense? Are they genetically predisposed to cause disruptions at the most inopportune times? It was one of those times when everything so falls apart that all you can do is laugh because the only other solution includes a box of tissue and a generous helping of self-pity. Unfortunately for me, when I laughed at the sheer lunacy of the moment, Caiden took it personally and collapsed in tears. Oops. It seems that I traded my sanity for hers. Not a good trade.

I put the dessert on hold. The floors didn't get swept. The salad was a distant memory. I focused on being present. I was consistent.

Rabbit trail: let me just say, being consistent is hard. For a moment I actually wished I was one of those parents who just made a bunch of threats and then let my kid walk all over me. Who needs discipline anyway? Or maybe just one of those parents who chose to ignore their child's emotional needs in favor of a clean home. I like clean homes....

But I love my children. So that means that I make every effort for meet their emotional needs, while also drawing boundaries for their safety, character development and in the long run, comfort.

At the end of their night, I took a few minutes (and fought the urge to watch the clock!) to snuggle with Caiden in her glider before bed. As I placed her in her crib, she cupped my face in her hands and said with a smile that warmed my heart to the core, " Mama, thank you for loving me."

Full. I'm so glad I took the time to be present. I could have traded that moment for any number of tasks and all of them would have fallen so very short on the fulfillment meter. My daughter feeling loved was more important than the salad that never got made.

After the girls were down, I went out to be with our company who happened to be former students of ours- now sophomores in college. These are kids with whom we have shared our life, and it was so good to have them around again. They asked a simple question, and I was honest and vulnerable. It's been a long time since I've shared on that level. They listened, asked questions, they shared.

I am so thankful for this day, for God's grace through it all, for the filling, for reciprocity. And now, I am thankful for my bed- good night!


Phyllis said...

This is exactly where I am today, too. Well, the specific circumstances, stresses, rewards are a little different, but it's still the same. Thank you for expressing it so beautifully!

Jessica Leigh said...

That was beautiful. I love reading "mom advice" - don't think I'm not taking notes! :)

It was nice to see you and your precious girls at the shower yesterday.