My name is Jami and I am addicted to motherhood.
I can’t get enough. And frankly, I am really tired.
But, I figure if this is my vocation, by American standards, I have 22 years before I retire. My husband might object.
And in spite of the fact I am without a uterus, I am currently typing this with a 4-month-old asleep in a bassinet next to my bed. Granted, she may not stay long, but I am honored to host her. I feel privileged to pray with her at 4 a.m. and change her stinky pants.
And today, there were tears.
They are happy/sad tears. As my husband and I hiked hand and hand through the mesquite forest of our ranch we talked about the future and plans for this upcoming year and it occurred to me… they include the end of a season.
Our oldest son John is graduating from high school in May and he is preparing to join the military.
“Did you tell them about your dyslexia?”
“Okay, I will call them tomorrow.”
“Dad! Make her stop!”
But I don’t want to stop. I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to not know where he is… somewhere on the high seas. I don’t want to miss him. I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to grieve. I don’t want him to get hurt. I don’t want…
Dear, sweet John-John. The smallest of my babies, now 6’4″ with a full beard. Fearless and odd, for New Years this year he rejected a few offers to go out and instead went and slept in an open field under the stars all by his lonesome, just because. Wise, quiet, unable to spell, with a strange quick wit, that we hope he’s in command of. Just the other day his little sister asked to borrow his goggles and he said, “They are hanging in my shower.” My husband inquired, “Why are they in your shower, son ?” And he flatly replied, “Cause I am out of baby shampoo…”
As I folded the laundry tonight I promised myself I would not cry. The socks in my basket range in size from newborn pink booties to men’s size 13 Nikes. I trip over Tonka trucks, I have spit-up on my shirt, there are coupons for formula and student loan applications on my desk and a man-child just asked if he could go have coffee with some friends.
200 years ago he’d have been a land owner with 7 kids of his own. This time next year he could be defending your freedom. But sure baby, go have coffee with your friends.
In the meantime, another son is sleeping off a fierce weekend of long shifts at his new job. And a four-year-old son just came down the stairs to tell me he “likes me,” one more time before he goes to sleep. A 21-month-old is singing in his crib. His cherub tune carries over the baby monitor. The girls have a cousin over and the smell of popcorn is wafting through the halls and giggles are the norm. And an angel baby snores in the sling next to me, she will be awake again in two hours… and what is the goal?
Am I just an addict?
What was the reason? What is the drive? Why the pursuit of raising these human beings? Was it for the laughter? It wasn’t intentionally for the tears… and at one time it may have been for the glory, that our quiver was full. Now, as it both fills, and empties I am afraid and elated.
I worry, I won’t be there to spell for him. I pray he uses spell check. I hope he knows to cry out to Jesus if he is alone, scared or in need. I pray he always has goggles or baby shampoo.
But I did my job. I birthed a 7-pound boy and in a few short months will send out a 245 pound, tall, handsome, kind, God fearing, moral, and brave — man. What is the goal of motherhood?
What was my goal? What is my goal?
Use John Lord. Use them all Lord. Pick up the pieces of the many ways I failed them, fill in the gaps, help them forget my nonsense, cherish the good, reject the bad… and please never, ever leave them.
The goal is to send them out as salt and light. And with a lump in my throat and a long night ahead – I both dread and look forward to seeing what John will do out from under our wing. His story has only just begun.
Oh, and if a navy recruiter happens to read this… he is dyslexic, he doesn’t like lasagna and he gets migraines if he gets dehydrated. Call me, there’s some other stuff we need to talk about. Stuff only someone who has been addicted for 17 years, 9 months, 4 days – and has no hope of recovering from her addiction, can explain.
Romans 8:5-6 (NASB) “For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami