Friday, October 30, 2009

This IS my Life

A dear, thoughtful friend of mine recently asked gently, "Do you have a life?" I answered quickly, too quickly, "No, not really," I said, "I am with one or all of my girls 24/7."

First of all, that's not true. On Saturdays for several hours I leave them with my husband and relish in my alone time. On Sundays, my groom and I enjoy an afternoon date, sans children. So, I am not with them ALL the time.

But what I should have said, which is more accurate, is that my family IS my life. All I do whirls around them...if I am shopping, it is for them; if I am praying, it is concerning their needs and my need for help; if I am driving, I am bringing them somewhere; if I am on the phone, I am speaking about them, or listening to a caller and feeling distracted by thoughts of them.

Jesus promises us that if we lose our life, we will find it. I have "lost," what I felt was "mine." My time to do whatever the heck I wanted, when I wanted to, has been replaced with countless obligations. My six-figure salary is long gone, along with the fun perks such as being on Larry and Klara Silverstein's yacht during a lunar eclipse; having tea at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach; lunching in Naples and hearing, "Yes," to my request for $1.5 million; co-piloting the Fuji blimp; meeting Her Royal Highness of Jordan, etc. Time for my interests: running, reading, writing, spending time with extended family and cherished friends, has pretty much evaporated. I guess this is what Jesus meant: our lives can be lost--submitted perhaps is a better word, and His promise is true. He will give us back so much more; in fact, He already has. What would I possibly buy that would bring me more happiness than hearing, "I love you Mom!" What is more fun than riding around with my three girls singing at the top of our lungs? What tastes better than a teary, salty kiss given as an apology for misbehavior? What book is better to read than listening to my children READ outloud for the first time?? I used to think moms sounded so defensive when they said, "I wouldn't trade this time with my kids for anything in the world." I thought their view of the world must be sorely limited. Now I get it. Now I am a mom. I understand that laying down my interests is necessary, and it's also okay. My interests are still there, like crocuses, pushing from underneath the heavy snow...yet, I don't need to indulge them right now. It really is okay. My interests are now in the larger, brighter snow-covered landscape. As my college roommate wisely shared, "What makes us women think we can have it all, all at once? We have to make choices."

Does this make sense to you? It still surprises me...

The other side of this coin is that I have both interests and needs, and it my interests that I have and need to put on hold. My "needs" on the other hand, must be tended to, as I will not be able to be a good wife or mother if I don't take care of the foundational requirements. But that's a different post!

With love,

The First-born

Princess Sparky joined our family almost 3 years ago when she was one year old. Her sisters are older than she, but to pay homage to Sparky's earlier arrival, we refer to her as our first-born. Sparky's beloved grandmother, Nina, pointed out that I haven't been writing about her so much, so here are some little-known facts about our almost four-year-old:

Princess Sparky dropped out of preschool in late September and is living at home, still with no job or educational plans;
She seems to play all day and eats only when she's hungry.
She is obsessed with baby bottles and pacifiers;
She can count to 110 (yes, by ones, not just 10's)
She ties her own shoe laces (and her sisters, and mine, when I am not in a hurry.)
Sparky looks sweet but is actually quite spicy.
She recently watched her first full-length animated video; it was Charlotte's Web, and she now is a big fan of pigs but is still wary of spiders.
Sparky loves to climb a dogwood tree in the backyard, jump repeatedly on the low branches and sing, "Merry Go Round, Merry Go Round.." at the top of her lungs.

She is a confident, outspoken, funny, and clever kid who is wrestling with sibling rivalry and imaginary-as well as real-fears. She is also in the throes of mimicking the best and worst of her sisters' behaviors.

What more can I say? She loves to play school, doctor (will take turns being the patient and doc), dentist, eye doctor, and "neighbor." Playing neighbor entails going outside and ringing our doorbell, saying, "Helloooo, neighbor!" very dramatically, and then having a cup of decaf tea. She's into board games like Maisy's dominoes, the Very Hungry Caterpillar Game, and loves, loves play-dough. She still enjoys hanging out on a step stool over the kitchen sink and just playing with water, and exploring what things float, sink, or smell especially gross. She is also still enamored with baby dolls, wrapping them up in blankets, tablecloths, or whatever else is handy, and rocking them when they cry. She likes dogs and cats from a safe distance and once is warmed up them she will be very content to cuddle and pet them. She's musical and consistently says her favorite toy is her guitar. She strums the one good string and pings at the others and makes up songs about God, Jesus and herself. (That's not a joke, she thinks she's part of the Trinity.) She can sing every song on 10 cds from Music Together classes. Not on key but loudly with feeling.

Natalie's warmth and affection is often kept hidden until bedtime, and then she is all kisses and breathy, "I love you soooo much, Mommy." I am so glad she's no longer going to preschool so we can just hang out and play all day. I've missed our 1:1 time over the past 8 months and I want to make up for it by squeezing every minute I can with her. She is pure joy and a treasure from God :)