Yesterday, I learned that someone else I know can't have children. It hurt to hear about it and it put some things into perspective that sometimes get skewed.
There is much suffering in parenthood, but at least we are parents. On somedays that is the silver lining. My heart aches for those who don't get to experience it and I pray that this impasse would be destroyed for them.
Both of our sons have been sick and needing antibiotics lately and the lead up to those doctor appointments made life quite difficult. Lack of sleep, whingy children, reverting behaviours have all been the norm this last month. Being 36 weeks pregnant and stressed that I could go into labour at anytime (thank you people who keep telling me I look ready to pop... since November) does not help matters.
And yet even on these hard, hard days my sons amaze me. The joy they get out of a mud puddle. The utter bliss from a treat out of a stocking. The way they are growing up. My nearly 16 month old wants to walk when we go for walks now. What's up with that? The way they play together and help each other out. The little ways that their palates are opening up and they are willing to try new things. Tall ate ham the other day. Pink meat! It's all a process, this parenting thing. A long, involved process with no days off, no hours off (yes, I know babysitters exist. And do use them.). It's a process where you say the same things and do the same things and try to train away the same behaviours everyday.
It's not easy. It's rather hard. Without those spots of joy sprinkled on each day, the days would be impossible. They are even more impossible on days when I let myself get sidetracked from prayer and Bible time and try to go it alone. In fact, we've gotten into the habit of thinking fond thoughts of the children before we go to sleep. Even on the hard days, we think through the drudgery and glean the beautiful moments, the little sparkles that show how they are growing up or the silly things that make them the loveable, frustrating, incredible little men that they are.
And the hard isn't confined merely to the children. There are no holidays from laundry, although some weeks get more piled on them. Dishes need to be done. Meals need to be made. Life does not take sick days.
With the joy splashed on all life from these children, life seems different. No matter how hard the day is, it is special because of these boys. Sure, we get less sleep now. So what? We have the privilege of helping these boys become good men. Growing up is one thing, but growing good men, that's a tall order.
My belly rocks and bulges as its occupant stretches and tries to find a way out. It must be getting tight in there. My back aches and gestational diabetes is sometimes a pain in the bum (I'll write a post about GD later). I do not relish the thought of labour, but I long to hold this child in my arms and meet them. To gaze in his or her eyes. To feed and sustain a new little life. To fall even deeper in love with all of my children as I see them interact.
If you know someone who can't have kids, hug them. Encourage them to adopt, sure. There are plenty of children who need homes and hopefully the system works so that parents are given children. But, just hug those people and try to splash their lives with joy. It must be a special kind of pain and it needs a special kind of love. I feel guilty when I complain about life as it has these blessings in it. Cherish your blessings. Give thanks for them. Take care of them. And love those who don't have them.