Today at lunch, my friend, Rosemary asked, "So how do you like being a mom?"
I paused. My other friend, Sharan, chimed in, "Some days better than others, right?"
So true. I love being a mom and staying home with the kids - most of the time. I'm just not always very good at it.
"This is just not my 'season of grace,'" I finally said. I stole that phrase from my friend, Serina. She was consoling me when I called to tell her about my abnormally calm sister-in-law who just had a baby. I had visited Natalie and the baby for a few days and left there utterly confounded. Where were her tears (my sister's, not the baby's)? Where were the hormonal rages, the sleep-deprived zombie-like stares, and emotional breakdowns? I certainly wasn't wishing them on her, I just assumed they were all part of the birthing process. I left wondering what the heck was wrong with me? Why did I run around like a chicken with its head cut off and cry at the drop of a hat when I had babies?
Like me, Serina has had her ups and downs making the transition into parenthood. "This is just not our season of grace," she explained. She offered hope that one day we, too, would be in our element with our kids, knowing just what to say and do at just the right times. Maybe when they were in middle school, she pondered aloud. (Or maybe in about 30 years, I thought to myself.)
Okay, so it's not my season. But isn't there some middle ground? If I'm not graceful, does that mean I have to be graceless? Constantly floundering for all the world to see?
We recently visited Mammoth Cave (the longest cave system in the world located right here in the great state of KY). About 5 minutes into the 1 hour 15 minute tour, Parker said, "Mommy, let's get out of here! I want to go [the 1 hour 30 minute hellish van ride] home!" Meanwhile, Maddie's arms encircled my neck in a tenacious death grip as I bent low to avoid the ceiling and slipped down the wet passages. She utilized a very clever system to ensure I would carry her the entire tour. Every time her feet touched the ground she emitted deafening shrieks which echoed off the cavern walls, endearing us to our fellow spelunkers and drowning out the tour guide.
A kind, old man approached us and addressed Parker. "Do you want to come with Grandpa Greg? This here is my grandson, Connor." Parker happily held their hands and prattled on and on about his friend named Connor in Seattle. I sighed. Simultaneously relieved and embarrassed, I realized the reason random strangers so often offer to help me with the kids...I just have an air of desperation about me.
But you know, that's okay. This season of gracelessness is enabling me to recognize a greater power in my life. My desperation is not synonymous with hopelessness. It is simply me (and everyone around me) recognizing I am at the end of my rope. Then my God, whom I can't see, sends someone I can see to help me along this journey. Thank you, Father.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 "But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."