I remember when Cordelia was born. (Well, obviously. But stick with me.) Vera was eighteen months old and as busy as she could be. (That’s what I thought, but then she got busier!) My days were mostly a blur and I spent much of my time keeping everyone out of trouble (not always successfully) and alive.
Our first outing (me by myself with both girls) was to story time at the library. I remember so vividly opening the door to the van, and thinking to myself, “How in the world am I going to get both of these children out of the car, across the parking lot, and inside the library safely? If I get Vera out first, she may run off while I’m getting Cordelia out. If I get Cordelia’s seat out first, then I’m going to have to set her down in the parking lot while I climb all the way into the van to unbuckle Vera. And then I still have to get across the parking lot somehow!” A friend saw me just standing there and came over to help me. She held Vera’s hand while I unloaded Cordelia’s infant car seat and we all managed to get inside.
I don’t recall leaving the house alone for quite some time after that. Afraid of the worst case scenario in every social setting, I stayed at home a lot, where at least I could somewhat keep an eye on everyone.
Now this fall, as I have twice as many children, I don’t look back at that time and laugh at myself, because I remember how hard it was. I truly don’t think, “Wow, it was so much easier with just two kids.” Somehow it’s easier with four children than it was with two (I’m assuming mostly due to their closeness in age). My mom friends who currently have both a toddler and a newborn have my utmost respect and constant prayers! That season is busy and hard (but it just gets better, I promise!).
All of this to say… last week we went to the pumpkin patch with our friends (I believe there were 17 kids in our group, all of whom were under 6). Tad kept asking me, “Are you sure you want to go and take everyone?” He meant it in the most helpful way possible, but I knew it was something I wanted to do even though it would be hard.
I’ve gotten braver as a mom, I think. Maybe it’s because my girls are becoming quite trustworthy and obedient in public situations. Even Jude is learning to obey me better each time we go somewhere. Maybe it’s because I was going with friends who could certainly lend a hand when I felt outnumbered. Maybe I’m just learning to do hard things so that my children can enjoy beautiful childhood experiences like the pumpkin patch!
I do know for sure that God has given me more and more grace with each child he has given us. People ask how we “do it” with four. God’s grace… God’s grace… God’s grace.
So maybe Cordelia had to use the bathroom (a port-a-potty, to be exact) while Vera and Jude were in the middle of the hay bale maze. And maybe Theodore needed to nurse while my other three needed to eat lunch too. And maybe Jude got pecked by a chicken and had a meltdown about putting his pumpkin in the car. But it was so worth it. Not just for them, but for me. Surrounded by friends who are also in the trenches of motherhood, I was reminded at how far God’s grace has carried us.
From a mom who was too scared to go back to story time at the library to a mom who takes four kids to a pumpkin patch and farm, it’s evident that God has been lavishing grace on me over these last five years I’ve been a mom.
Motherhood sure is sanctifying!