Sunday, May 10, 2015

On being a mom

Me as a brand new mom

On a hot summer evening over a quarter of a century ago, after hours and hours of grueling labor, a nurse placed a bundle in my arms, a son, and I became a mom.  Just like that.

I didn't really understand it at the time, but I had found my vocation.  Lots of people have careers that they find unbelievably rich and fulfilling and also manage to be wonderful parents.  That was never me.  Once they put Kenneth in my arms, nothing ever drew me in the way mothering did.  I gladly left my industrial engineering job behind and became a stay at home mom while my husband entered graduate school.  I had passing thoughts of entering this field or that when my children were in school, but Tom's very busy career and other circumstances came up, and the thoughts stayed passing.

Lots of times, it was hard.  I was alone a lot during some of the years... hats off to you single parents. That's tough.  It was hard when my kids were babies.  It was hard when they were school age.  Boy, was it hard when they were teenagers.

But I am grateful for every second.  Every second.  When my baby entered high school, I knew I wasn't ready for the upcoming empty nest.  God nudged me.  I nudged my husband...well, God helped.  We ended up adopting three more beautiful kids before Anna graduated from high school and just added a fourth.  Seven children!  My cup is full to the brim.

So I am now a mother of seven.  Tom and I would have laughed if you would have told us that would happen when we got married in 1986.  Our children run in age from nearly twenty-six to six years old.  Full-grown adults down to a kindergartner.  Guess what?  It's still hard.  I am a fretful person, prone to worry about things I can do nothing about.  It's something I need to work on with God.  Now my worries run the gamut from job prospects and study abroad trips and mortgages for the eldest children, and will they all end up with happy marriages; to making it to baseball and soccer and pioneer day to please can my child learn to use silverware appropriately before he goes to first grade.

I was thinking today that I have bitten off more than I can chew.  I am nearly 52 years old.  I am bone tired pretty much every day.  Wondering how my own mother managed to raise five kids and be so cheerful and serene all the time.

Then I realized that when I unloaded my troubles on my mom today, she was probably feeling the same things I feel.  I wish I could fix it for you, daughter.  I wish I could hug you, smooth your hair and tell you it would be fine and then it would be.

Because she's a mom.  It's her vocation, too.  I always tell people that we have a lot of pets and children because I have a strong need to nurture small things.  It's true.  And I know exactly where it came from.  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.  I'm very like my dad in most ways, but I'm so proud and happy to have this from my mother.

Right now, I have three young adults negotiating the wide world away from the security of our home.  I have four energetic elementary school kids crowding every day with activity.  I have joy.

Joy that is the same...whether it came from a doctor's hearty congratulations in the delivery room after a long labor, or a judge's quiet words in a courtroom in a far away country.  "You are a mother"...again and again and again and again and again.

I am a mom.

My mom and my kids at Easter.


Diane Larson said...

Very cool. Unlike you, I have never felt overly called to be a mom. In my high school senior book it says I want to be a lawyer and later a congresswoman. No mention of either marriage or parenting. I've never felt overly good at being a mom. Most of the time the fruit of the Spirit feels evasive. But here I am the mom of five, married almost 28 years. Hopefully, God knows what He is doing;)

Jennifer said...

You are an awesome mom!

David Roemer said...

Reasons to Believe in Jesus

Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Sartre speaks of the "passion of man," not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are "traditional" alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

by David Roemer


David Roemer