His cry wakes me again. I roll over and look at the clock and moan. I lay there in the darkness and hope the cry will fade and he’ll fall asleep, but no, it gets louder and louder until there is no denying that I’ll have to get up again. He’s 10 months old we shouldn’t still be doing this, but we are and we have been for the past 4 months.
My body aches from months of sleepless nights, days filled with the energy of two other little boys and a husband that needs me too. My hair is gone, I cut it all just so I could start washing it on a regular basis again.
My clothes are covered in spit up. The thought of picking up my knitting needles and knitting a simple scarf is overwhelming to me right now. I go from load of laundry, to load of dishes, to picking up toys and start it all over again.
My single or kidless friends ask me “Why?” Why do this to yourself? Why deny yourself all those dreams you had of becoming a famous pattern designer? Why spend your evenings at home wiping bottoms when you could be out ‘living the life’, going to movies or parties or whatever is on the agenda for that night?
Because of love, is my answer. I pull myself out of bed again to go nurse, cuddle and comfort a crying babe because of love. I push myself through another day of monotonous chores because of love. I go to the park, teach another math lesson, play Chutes and Ladders because of love. I stay up till 1 in the morning meeting my husbands needs because of love.
Because I love them I am willing to give up myself, my desires, to meet their needs above my own. Oh, it’s not always easy; sometimes I do it kicking and screaming, much to my shame (okay, maybe it’s more like pouting and sobbing). But every time I have put the needs of my family above my own I have been blessed and I receive so much back.
When the sweet little curly top in my arms wraps his tiny little arms around my neck my heart is full. When I get a picture handed to me with the words, “This is you, mom, and this is me”, my heart is full. When I, in those rare moments, sit down on the couch and I instantly have two little boys crawl up in my lap, my heart is full.
When I play ‘ask weird questions in the middle of the night’ with my husband (yes, he humors me very well) and I ask him “What do you like best about me?” and his response is, “You’re a good taker-carer-of”, my heart is full and I know that I’ve done what matters.
Things will change, I won’t always have a babe who won’t sleep through the night and I won’t always have very young children who need constant care. But through this difficult and trying time I have learned how to truly deny myself and serve my family and the things I thought I needed to be happy and fulfilled I have found to be dispensable.
Someday I’ll grow my hair back out, I’ll be able to wear nice, pretty clothes that don’t smell like sour milk, and I’ll finally do something with all those business ideas I’ve had but now I’ll know that those things didn’t define me, the way I loved my family did.