Three months ago my time, energy, and schedule were my own. Most mornings I had the luxury of waking up whenever I wanted and I had the joys of quietly listening to the birds chirp on the back patio while I enjoyed my hot cup of coffee, warm piece of toast, and Jesus Calling devotional. Morning time was my favorite as it was so peaceful and quiet. I often took long, hot showers while planning my agenda for the day. My day was my own. My only responsibility was myself. I was never behind on housework. The laundry hamper was rarely full, the floors were always clean, and bathrooms were spotless. Never was anything out of place.
My how things have changed drastically since 5:30pm on January 10th when Daniel and I decided to foster a ‘cute as a button’ three year old little girl. It’s has now been 82 days since the hamper has been empty, the end tables have been free of tiny finger prints and crumbs haven’t been scattered all over the kitchen floor. It’s been a challenge as I have traded in my schedule for hers and my wants for her needs. I no longer wake up to the sound of my alarm, but rather the sounds of pitter patter feet coming down the hallway or the soft whisper of “Wisha? Wisha? Wake up. Me thirsty.”
It’s been over two months since I have heard the birds chirp in the morning or enjoyed a hot cup of coffee while not rushing through my Jesus Calling devotional. My agenda no longer consists of watching Good Morning America, taking long showers, reading books in the afternoon, going on quiet walks, or visiting with friends over a nice lunch. Instead it is filled with her doctor’s appointments, playing with baby dolls, and trips to McDonald’s for a happy meal. My time from the second my feet hit the floor is spent taking the crust off her sandwiches, refilling her sippy cup, teaching her how to color, identify shapes, play hide n seek, and mold little people out of play-doh. Good Morning America has been replaced with Mickey Mouse and my afternoons have turned into ‘gulping’ down whatever ‘Chef Goldilocks’ has whipped up in her ‘kitchen’.
I’m going to be honest and you can judge me if you want, but there have been days when I missed my life before Goldilocks. The first few weeks were fun and exciting. Everything she did was humorous even though it might have warranted a ‘time-out’. I had the energy to play “kitchen” for extended periods of time and creativity of an art teacher to make crafts. I had the patience of a saint with each foot stomp and “NO! ME!” that she would scream.
But lately, after five minutes of ‘gulping’ down tomato sandwiches from her ‘kitchen’, or coloring just one page in her Hello Kitty coloring book, I am ready to go back to my ‘to-do’ list; and as much as I hate to admit this, sometimes (not always), when I am in the middle of a task and I see her bringing me a book to read, I cringe. I don’t want to stop what I am doing in order to read to her Mrs. Wishy Washy or Why the Old Lady Swallowed a Fly for the 13th time. I just don’t.
At night, when the prayers have been said and I collapse in the living room chair, I think back to the 16 times I listened to “Wisha? You done yet?” not long after getting into the shower, and the 36 times I heard “Whatcha doin?” before noon, or the 54 questions of “How come?” by dinner, and the 187,932 curious questions of “Why?” by bath time. I glance over at the dirty floor in the dining room, notice the sticky finger prints on the end table, and remember the laundry I put in the washer two days ago. I am tired and worn out and I can’t help but ask myself, with tears streaming down my face, “Is a child what I want or am I just in love with having a baby in my womb?”
Do I want a child because I am just going through life’s motions of first you go to college, next you marry a nice man, and lastly you start a family? Am I so determined to get pregnant because a doctor told me I can’t, and like a 10-year-old, I am screaming, “Yes I can! Watch me!”
Having a child is more than just having all of the fun and excitement that comes with baby showers, sharing ultrasound pictures and shopping for cute outfits. It’s more than just dreaming of beautiful maternity pictures taken at sunset or registering for baby strollers, high chairs, and car seats. It’s more than just pinning cute nursery ideas or coming up with creative ways to announce your miracle. Having a child is more than just all the fun and exciting aspects of pregnancy. I sometimes get so caught up in the “idea” of having a baby tossing and turning inside my body and the notion to prove the doctor’s wrong, that I forget what having a child is really about. It’s a life long commitment dedicated to meeting their every need while sacrificing my own. It involves wearing snot on your sleeves, having bags under your eyes, and eating bites of your lunch in between folding towels, reading stories, and paying bills.
So back to my question, do I really want a child? The answer is without a doubt yes. I do want a child and everything that comes with having a child. I want the laundry hampers to be overflowing with dirty clothes, temper tantrums when it’s nap time, and sticky fingerprints on windows, cabinets, and doors. I want to stop everything I am doing so that I can read Dr. Seuss and explain the answers to all of the why questions. I want to spend my mornings reheating my coffee ten times because I’m too busy helping with puzzles and building Lego towers. I know that having a child is so much more than just a baby in the womb, and I want it…I want it all.
However, wanting it all, is not the same as being ready for it all. So I have to ask myself another, much harder question, am I ready for it all? Am I ready to trade in my quiet day for chaos of their musical toys, loud banging of pots and pans, and never-ending chatter? Am I ready to wake up early and go to bed late in order to fold laundry? Sure I am ready with nursery ideas and cute pregnancy announcements, but am I really ready for it all? This question is not so easy to answer because as hard as it is to admit, I am not ready. I have spent too much time and energy planning for a baby in the womb, that I have neglected what’s most important, and that’s ensuring I am ready for a baby outside of the womb.
Starting today, instead of pinning nursery ideas on Pinterest, planning perfect pregnancy announcements to show on Facebook, and daydreaming of maternity pictures plastered all over my living room walls, I am going to spend my time preparing and praying to become the Momma bird my baby bird is going to want and need me to be. I am going to pray for patience to lovingly teach new skills, creativity to help their mind grow, endurance to keep playing when I want to stop, empathy for when they scrape their knee after I told them to quit running, humor to see past the small annoyances, and ultimately the willingness to read “one more” story even though I have 10 more items to check of my to-do list. Children are more than just the excitement of having a baby in the womb, and I want to make sure that I am more than ready to give my all, when I get it all….
Because they will go from this…