Yesterday was a glorious day. It was my first Mother’s Day. We have wanted children for so long, I had often wondered if I would ever receive a “Happy Mother’s Day” greeting, or say, “Happy Father’s Day” to my husband. Well, God is good and gracious, even though He works in VERY mysterious ways.
My husband and I are foster-parents, and we currently have our first placement. To say that we are ‘in love’ would be an understatement. While I can’t say much about our little foster child on the internet, I can most certainly say that Thomas and I love him with all our hearts. We have loved every day so far, and we pray that God will give us just as much joy in the days that remain to us.
You see, we have no idea if we will be foster-parents to this little person past this summer. That is the whole point of fostering: to love children until they leave you, and to never know when that goodbye will come.
Whenever we started desiring a family, all those years ago, people warned us (good naturedly, of course) of all the things we would lose once a child joined our family.
“You’ll never get the same sleep again!”
“You two might not get a date night for years!”
“You will spend your days feeding, changing, rocking, walking, soothing, and laundering that little person.”
All those things are true. The other night, Thomas and I got about 9 hours of sleep (not unbroken, but still), and we felt like NEW people! Our newest version of a date is to put our little person to bed around 8:00, and then to spend the next hour in the kitchen, with Thomas sitting on a chair reading aloud to me as I wash that day’s dishes and make a quick evening snack. My day is punctuated, timed, bounded, and centered on changing diapers, filling bottles, snuggling, and singing soft songs as our little person settles down for his naps. When my husband comes home, we have our daily discussions of who is taking which feedings, changings, etc., so the other can get some of their to-do lists a little closer to complete.
And I wouldn’t change it for anything.
So, for all of you new moms, or moms-to-be, or hopefuls, or moms who love other people’s children…
A New List of All Those Things You Will LOVE!
- The immediate hungry noises in their little bellies as you feed them after a few minutes of hysterical crying as you hurriedly prepare their bottle, or get settled for breast-feeding.
- Their burps. I’m sorry, but these make me smile EVERY SINGLE TIME! I thought I had heard the most epic of belches from the grown-up men in my life. NOPE.
- Immediately after a belch of epic proportions from so tiny a body, you will get one of two reactions: FEED ME MORE! or sleep.
- Their toes. Oh. My. Goodness. So tiny, so perfect, and ticklish!
- Their fingers, especially when they are fast asleep in your arms and those teeny little finger-tips rest so softly on your chest. You will NEVER tire of looking at those little fingers.
- Their smiles. Yes, I know, with tiny babies, those smiles are probably a result of gas, or some other bodily function perfectly achieved. But they will STILL MELT YOUR HEART! (And, from what I understand, social smiling begins somewhere in month two or three. Hang in there!)
- After only a few weeks, the little person KNOWS YOUR VOICE!!! He or she will LOOK for YOU! Even if being held by a perfectly snuggly individual, that child will LOOK for YOU and LISTEN for YOU!
- They get so CHUBBY as they grow! So kissable and lovable!
- Seeing your dearest friends and family love on your little one will give you such peace and joy. It reminds me of the scene in Prince Caspian when Lucy finally sees Aslan. It says her heart felt like it would burst if she didn’t get close enough. You will feel the same thing. (And then the instinct to snuggle your child yourself will fall on you harder than a load of dirty diapers. Resist the urge to snatch your adorable child back. Give your arms a break. Share the joy.)
- Praying for your child. Singing hymns with your child. Holding your child in church. Hearing others pray regularly for this child that has stolen your heart. And then hearing those same people pray for you, for rest, peace, strength, grace. There are few things more encouraging than hearing others lift you, your family, and your child up regularly.
Yes, mothering changes everything. Just like marriage changes everything. Just like college changes everything. Just like moving to a new state on your own changes everything. Don’t be afraid of the change. Find the little things that bring you joy, and let those little things become the BIG changes in your life. And then share them with everyone and anyone who will listen.
After all, that’s what Mother’s Day is all about, right? Sharing the joy and blessings of Motherhood with others, especially other mothers.