Monthly Archives: May 2013
Motherhood is a hard job.
How many globs of peanut butter and jelly have we spread onto crust-less slices of bread? How many socks have we washed and dried and lost? How many miles have we driven to and from school, games, concerts, camps, doctors’ appointments?
We do our jobs with sleep-deprived smiles. We cheer from aluminum bleachers during rain and/or sleet and 95-degree heat waves. We cry along with skinned knees and broken hearts.
We also want to please our children, want to make them feel proud of us, want to make another memory with them.
That’s where I found myself for the past month, trying to withstand Quinn’s big brown eyes as he suggested, then requested, then pleaded with me to run another 5k .
The parents of seniors at our high school traditionally throw a party for the teens immediately after graduation. It’s one last time for them to be together. It’s a safe place for them to have fun. We raise money all spring for gifts, food, music, and cash prizes. The Senior Stampede, our last fundraiser, kicked off our town’s community day this past Saturday.
Although I’ve run three 5ks before because of my children (I have pictures and t-shirts to prove it), and although three booths at the community day needed me to volunteer (with all my mental and physical ability at top capacity, not depleted after thirty-six minutes of pounding my feet), and although I tried to use all three as an excuse not to participate, I capitulated and signed the $25 check that would garner another t-shirt for me.
My nephew, Quinn, and Lane came in first, second, and third for the boys. Hattie won for the girls. I came in at a respectable 50th out of 130-ish runners. FYI, I beat some teenagers, including several football players.
Despite my initial dread, Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside, to be with family. I enjoyed the excitement surrounding the race and the camaraderie of the runners. It’s fun to be part of something like that. Hearing my sons cheer, “Way to go, Mommy! You can do it, Mommy,” as I neared the finish line spurred me on to the end. (Yes, they said, “Mommy’” in front of their principal and buddies.)
As I sat drinking my water and recovering, grateful that I’d accomplished my goal of running the entire 3.1 miles again without intermittent walking, Quinn found me in the crowd and gave me a hug. I said, “I ran that race for you, you know.”
“Yes, and don’t you want to run the Fire Department’s 5k in October?”
I closed my eyes and sighed.
God loves all His children. True. Sometimes, though, I think He might have a special place in His heart for mothers. Think of all the mothers in the Bible: Sarah, Leah and Rachel, Hannah, and, of course, Mary.
I thought of God and mothers this week when I sat in my Bible study and watched a mother hold her beautiful little daughter. The bright-eyed baby gazed over her mother’s shoulder taking in all her surroundings. Of course, then my mind journeyed to my four babies, the last two of whom are graduating from high school in less than four weeks.
I didn’t expect the emotions that swelled in my chest, but they prevented me from singing the first hymn. The leader announced the next one, Rock of Ages, a song I sometimes hummed while I rocked my babies. Fresh tears pooled in my eyes.
I learned that we were expecting twins during my five-month sonogram. What a wonderful surprise. Outside the exam room, my husband waited for the invitation to enter after the preliminary checks. I had several minutes to contemplate the spectacular news by myself. I vacillated between giggles and tears. I wondered how two more babies would fit in with our two little girls at home. My brother and sister-in-law already expected twins. Two sets of twins in the family?
Fast forward eighteen years. I’ve mentioned in this blog my sons’ pursuing acceptance to the service academies. In December, I received a call from one of our senators that Quinn was receiving a nomination for West Point. The administrator called because of the “twin thing” he said and to find a time to contact Quinn directly. I had the news for several hours before Quinn heard, a sweet time of savoring words like “stellar interview” and “fine, young man.”
Five months later, I received a call from our congresswoman’s office. This liaison also wanted a time to call Quinn. Before she actually said the words, she made me promise not to tell him. Congresswoman Ellmers wanted to deliver the news herself.
My heart was already full because I knew what the call meant, but the tears didn’t come until she said, “Quinn is going to West Point next fall.”
I kept the secret—even from my husband—from 10:15 until 6:15. Eight hours to ponder the ramifications of attending West Point and becoming a soldier. Realizing his dream had come true. Contemplating his brother who was medically disqualified for asthma. Thinking of the craziness in North Korea.
What gifts God gives to mothers—crushing hugs and sticky kisses, crumpled, construction paper cards and bouquets of dandelions, “Mom, these burger bundles are fantastic!” and sweet, powerful secrets. Another mother comes to mind who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:20).
Thank You, God, for the gift of motherhood.