It's been a whirlwind the last four weeks. My husband has been home most of the time, which has been an amazing gift. He went back today, and I am praying for a smooth transition. In my times alone with the kids, it's been a bit of a stretch, but I know it's good for me. There are moments where multiple kids are crying, arguing, whining, needing.
But mostly, there are moments of awe as I look around at our little brood and take it all in.
There have been times where I've been pretty sure I am in way over my head - like when one kid ran away from me in the school parking lot and hid in a gravel ditch while I was in the midst of loading three of his siblings into the car. Or Ivah needing to be held or in the baby carrier almost all day every day (she's in my arms as I type this). Or two babies needing to be fed at the same time.
Or those nights when the baby is most alert from 3-6am and sleeps every other hour of the day.
The thing is, when I found out I was pregnant with Ivah, I was pretty convinced that if I had anything to say about it, this was probably our last go at babies. We both want to be open to life, and what God has for us in the way of planning our family out, but I also felt tired and spent and like five kids sounds about right. So I told Nick (about 100 times), that I'd be prayerful about what happens in the future, but I'm also good with this being it.
And then she was born. And if it's possible to have baby fever 30 seconds after giving birth, I had it. I was instantly and madly in love with this little sugar plum, my heart was nearly bursting. I think there has been a hardness in my heart over the last long while... a weariness in parenting, a lack of joy, a loss of patience and gentleness.
But I really think God has used Ivah to heal that. To heal my heart and remind me of how great and vast and undeserving His love is. To soften me to my other kids, to force me to slow down and take in this life that is a gift. Most of it is work... hard work. But seeing this precious newborn life has reminded me how fleeting all of it is. How this life here on earth is but a breath in all eternity. And that in the moments that are hard and seem like too much,
He is there and He can use it to transform me into His likeness if I let Him.
I think this excerpt from Jim Gaffigan's book pretty much sums it up
There is nothing compared to what I get from these five monsters who rule my life. I believe each of my five children has made me a better man. So I figure I only need another thirty-four kids to be a pretty decent guy. Each one of them has been a pump of light into my shriveled black heart. I would trade money, sleep, or hair for a smile from one of my children in a heartbeat. Well, it depends on how much hair.
I am so grateful - beyond words - for the abundant blessings in each of these five little lives.
They have given me so much love, they have expanded my ability to love in return,
and have given me a greater understanding into the goodness of our God.