Living With The Ache…
I’ve been waiting for the right time to come in which I would write an eloquent blog post about how I had figured out how to kick “the ache” in the dust and embrace my new-found freedom as a mother of older children. You know, no more drool, sleepless nights and dirty diapers to change, right? For me, that day never came. In reality, the dull aching within, the dreams for what our family would look like with another baby brother or sister, the longing to fill my arms again with a new babe and nurse them at my breast pressed in hard. It was a feeling I couldn’t shake. I kept reading these sad blog posts going viral on social media about becoming an “empty nester” and my heart broke in two. I’ve got a ways to go before my nest is empty (and really does it ever become empty?) A mother never loses her role even though it does change and shift as her children learn to fly.
I remember praying almost six years ago after our youngest was born that God would show me clearly whether or not we were to have more children. In one sense, I felt so thankful to have been given four healthy babies and, in another sense, making a decision of finality seemed way to big and well, final. The truth is, the size of my family has been determined by God since from before the creation of the world. Our speck in time has already been mapped out and whether or not He chooses to give or take away or withhold will not resolve a mother’s longing to nurture and bring forth life. It is apart of who I am and who He has made me to be and If I keep waiting for the longing to pass, I might be waiting forever.
There are magnificent gifts in each season and stage of children growing older and there are hardships as we watch them stumble and fail and face a dark world. There is also a grieving of the season that has already passed, of the days when life was simpler and the world seemed right and watching my children grow up was in a period of time I couldn’t even imagine. Now that the period of time I couldn’t imagine has crept up like a thief in the night, threatening to take the childhood of my once-babes, a few short months will make me the parent of a teenager. Her childhood is slipping away and we are all holding on together trying to find our way into something most beautiful to behold.
I will acknowledge the ache of the finishing of the season that I bore children in. I will grieve the sweet passing memories of that first car-ride home from the hospital and the simple victories of those first smiles. When I hold a wee baby in my arms, I won’t be afraid to let the memories of what once was wash over me but I will also choose to embrace the now with courage and joy. I will live in this moment, because if I try to imagine myself in the next, this one will soon be gone. It isn’t my place to imagine the grace for what is yet to come, but there is grace enough for the here and now. And I will grieve the ache but I will not let it grieve me. With the dying of something sacred, comes the birth of something new and I must believe that what is ahead is far better than anything I have left behind.