Saturday, April 13, 2013

One day, when my vocation as mother ends, I want to leave a quiet legacy behind me.  I want a dog-eared prayer book on my nightstand, a well-worn set of rosary beads lying next to the lamp.  I want my girls to look back and smile because of the love, patience, and faith exuded by their mother. 

Most days I question if that's the legacy I'll leave.  Just before Lent, I realized that, while I might excel in other areas as a mother (dancing around the living room singing children's songs while my girls giggle), I was definitely lacking in patience.  I often hear others say, "Don't pray for patience, or you'll wish you hadn't!"  So I didn't. 

There are times when mothers don't have to yell.  When a simple, kind word will do.  A loving request does so much more than a firm command blanketed with a frown.  Love and kindness are Patience's sister, I believe.  And so, I've started doing it.  That which I had been made to fear.

Lord, please give me patience right now.

And He's answered.  Though I have much more work to do, I feel Him working in me.  Infusing each word with so much love and comfort.  Trying to show them the right way, with gentleness.  Praying before each correction.

Mary of Jesus, be a mother to me now.

It's easy to get tired, worn down.  Mothers give constantly and hardly get anything in return.  It's a tiring, stressful, worrisome job that constantly asks us to empty ourselves completely even when we have nothing left to pour out.  But, I wanted to do this, I needed to do this.  I have always felt a calling to be a mother.  I must carry on, even when the carrying is a burden.  And I must do so, lovingly. 

I never want my girls to look back and wish for more love, more kindness.  I want them to have an example to inspire them.  To aid them should they be called to this vocation.  I want their hearts to be full and their souls to smile.  Always.  Someday, I want them to desire my prayer book, my rosary beads.  Because I used them to be a better mother.  I want them to pray with hope, love with kindness, and serve with patience.  Because that's how Mom always was. 

I want to deserve the statement, "I want to be just like you, Mommy." 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A child--your child--is like an extension of yourself.  Like your heart and soul exposed outside of you.  Everything they hear, you feel.  Everything they feel, you also feel.  It's so amazing and so painful at the same time.

The first time it happened, I thought it was because she was sick.  So congested.  Could hardly breathe.  That tiny body was up during the previous nights, coughing and hacking and crying.  During the day, she could barely eat because she could not breathe.  So, when her lips went black while we were eating breakfast, I was perplexed.  But, I wasted no time and took her to the Emergency Room.

And then the Battle started.

After a couple of preliminary tests, they sent us home.  Since then, we'd seen over five doctors and been to over ten appointments within the span of three weeks.  They were testing for the unlikely, instead of testing for the more common.  I grew more frustrated.  I argued, begged for other testing.  "It's not necessary" was all that I received.  Meanwhile, her episodes continued.

Finally, last Wednesday morning, she slept until 9:30 through her sister screaming outside her door.  I couldn't stand the worry any more.  I slipped inside her room and nudged her.  She finally woke.  Within fifteen minutes, she was deathly pale, her lips turned black, and she was trembling from head to foot. 

I was done.

I packed the girls up and we drove to the nearby Children's Hospital.  They immediately admitted Mary and the continuous rounds of testing commenced.  Two nights we were there.  I have never known that sort of gripping anxiety before.  At times, I didn't think I could get to my next breath, make to the next moment.  Fear, worry, anxiety, and anger cropped up in me.  My sweet Mary, too tiny to be wearing a hospital gown, was hooked up to all sorts of monitors, undergoing all sorts of tests.  Waiting hours and hours for the results. 

I threw myself into the only action that brought me peace.  Prayer.  And I prayed with all of my might.  For my sweet little girl, for strength for my older daughter as she witnessed it all.  For my husband, as he  stayed strong, too.  For peace, strength, and resilience for me. 

Two days later, we were discharged with some suggestions, but no answers.

And so it continues.  Both the search for answers and the episodes.  I have my hunches.  I maintain my strength.  I continue to pray.  And to fight.  I feel the chronic worry.  The what-if's if we don't get answers.  I pray through them.

Nothing worries a mother like their child's health.  No one has the strength or resilience like a mother.  And so, as with everything else, Charlie Mike.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Naptime's quiet veiled the house in that peace felt now only between one to three in the afternoon.  I sat on the couch, preparing to fold clothes.  I turned on the TV to ABC Family and the first statement heard in the quiet was,

"Remember how we decided to stop having sex?" 


Angered, I turned the channel. This second show, I realized in about two minutes, was about a family who's daughter was pregnant and engaged...and only 15. 

Lately, I've found fewer and fewer shows that I can watch with the girls in the room with me. It's now down to one.  And it's one that has caused surprising debate.

19 Kids and Counting. 

The entire family is devoutly religious.  The women all wear skirts and both the mother of the 19 children (Michelle) and the bride of the oldest son (Anna) have decided to be open to children as they come. I can relate to several aspects of their lives.

But, I have realized lately how counter-cultural I am.

As my husband, two girls, and I meandered through Sam's Club last night, I stopped dead in my tracks.  There stood a young girl, only about ten, with her father.  She wore a very tight, short  t-shirt with glitter and a flannel shirt over it, tied so that her midriff could still show.  On the bottom, she wore fishnet hose...and that's it.  Just fishnet hose. 

I wept. 

I wanted to take the young girl home with me, before it was too late.  But, I think that it already is. 

Innocence is dying.  Becoming extinct. 

I have read numerous articles and perused many websites blasting the Duggars and their lifestyle.  How they "subject" their women, are irresponsible in their family planning decisions. 

Had I walked up to the parents of that young girl last night and questioned their daughter's dress, they more than likely would have replied, "It's our choice.  Mind your own business." 

As I looked around Sam's Club, I realized how many girls were dressed so sexually.  Young girls.  Stomachs showing, shorts and jeans with holes, low-cut shirts.  Why was no one upset about this?  Why is it legitimate to allow young girls to walk around objectifying themselves?

Who is fighting for these young girls who are revealing their bodies to men of all ages?  Who is fighting for them?  No one.  Because those people are too busy arguing that people like the Duggars are objectifying their own women.  

I want to get rid of the television.  So my daughters don't hear the sexuality, the violence, the language that could rob them of their peace and innocence.  I want to teach my girls that they are beautiful children of God.

Yes.  God.

That they are a gift.  A beautiful gift.  And, as a gift from God, they should keep their beauty wrapped and shielded.  Because they are worthy of that.

I want to show all girls their beauty, their worth.  That this worth is their gift, and they should shield it, too, because they deserve that.

But there are too many influences in these girls' lives saying the opposite.  Nicki Manij shows them being beautiful means changing your hairstyle everyday to freakish colors and textures.  Maria Carey wears revealing tops.  Lady Gaga takes Nicki to a whole different level.  Am I the only one who wonders what they really look like underneath all that artificial stuff?

Sadly, I cannot help that sweet girl at the store.  I can't help any of the young girls out there.  But, I can affect my little sphere.  My sweet girls.  I can keep them sweet and innocent and peaceful.  I can set an example that is counter cultural. That beauty is not hair color or make up or bizarre or sexualized outfits.  It goes deeper.  Beauty is being themselves.  And, oh, how truly and naturally beautiful my girls are!