I’m an only child.
So when I had my second child, I naturally assumed that she would be just like my first. Little did I know that they would be complete opposites.
It turns out that all four of them are as different from each other as morning, noon, night and naptime.
It’s humbling to think that out of all of the other moms in the world, God chose me – me – to be their mother. Me, with the not-so-idyllic past. Me, with the back problems and the weird propensity for popping my bones out of joint. Me, with the strange fears and the ridiculous built-in klutziness factor. Me.
Shouldn’t they have gone to someone better? Someone more capable?
Yet even when it’s a rough day (and we’ve been having a lot of those lately) I am still thankful that they are mine. Even when they are driving me completely crazy, they have an uncanny ability to keep me smiling.
They constantly amaze me with their own unique personalities.
Sadie has the most amazing memory that I’ve ever encountered. She remembers things from when she was only two, and usually it’s stuff that even I’ve forgotten about. She has a gentle spirit and a kind heart, and she longs for beauty in everything she sees. She loves to decorate, dance, hear the stories that her grandparents tell, plan parties, make floral arrangements, paint and read. Watching her grow from my first-born baby into a sweet young lady is such a privilege for me and I am so proud of her.
Josie lives life more than anyone else I know. She feels things deeply. Certain movies, songs, stories, events and even memories pull at her heartstrings and her feelings (happy or sad) often come out as tears. She’s an optimist; she always sees the bright side of things. She loves making new friends, drawing, making people laugh and figuring out puzzles. She wants to change the world and help little kids by raising money to help dig wells in third-world countries. Knowing Josie – and the beautiful light that seems to shine from her – I’m sure that she’ll do it.
Adelaide is a natural drama queen. She loves to memorize and recite stories, poems and Bible verses. She likes to dress up and stay “in character” for days at a time. She loves to play games, talk in funny voices, watch movies and use her imagination. She believes that everything is magical and she has the ability to find something fun in just about any situation. She’s incredibly strong-willed, which I know is a quality that will serve her well later in life. She’s happy when she’s with her family. When she hugs me at bedtime, she likes to whisper, “I’ll never let go.” I hope that she doesn’t.
Jedidiah has such a sweet and happy disposition. He always wakes up ready to face the day with a chubby-cheeked smile. It’s like he knows that something wonderful is going to be waiting for him around every corner. He’s always in a hurry, running here and there to make sure that isn’t going to miss anything interesting. He wants to touch, taste, hear, see, smell and experience everything in the world. He loves to dump things out, tear things up and generally wreak havoc. He is curious, smart, funny and oh-so-squeezable. If I could keep him just like this forever, I’d do it in a minute – crazy messes and all.
I can’t say that I haven’t made my more than my fair share of mistakes. I have.
Looking at my children not only makes me feel a sense of accomplishment, as if I may actually be doing something right, but also a sense of wonder. They aren’t doing this well because of me, but in spite of my mistakes. The people they are becoming – no, the people they already are – are teaching me more about life and beauty and love and joy than I’ve ever known.
Learning to be a mother was – is – the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
But, during this week of Thanksgiving, I am so thankful that I’ve been given the chance.
About this column: Devone Lansing is a diaper-changing, story-reading, boo-boo-kissing, breastfeeding, mess-cleaning, homeschooling, laundry-doing, road-running, stay-at-home (well, in theory, anyway) Mentor mother of four. Join us to share life from her perspective - but only if you can read baby talk. This weekly column will appear on Sundays and cover topics like being able to look at your 5-year-old's baby pictures without bursting into tears and how to simultaneously feed your kids dinner and give them a bath.