Tuesday, March 10, 2015
they're killing me
Once upon a time I was a 25-year-old mother to 2 babies 19 months old and 3 weeks old. The shock of all that had just happened-- birthing yet another human via a major abdominal surgery and the fact that in real life your mom and mother-in-law aren't live-in nannies-- had just hit me.
After I had Naomi I had thought to myself (and maybe yelled once at Mike) that there was NO WAY! we could have more kids- this was just too hard! But then when Naomi was a geriatric 9-month-old I became pregnant and cried and worried and rejoiced and another baby came.
But now it was serious. 2 babies who needed me allllllll the time, one a newborn who could not be counted on to sleep through the night or nap at a scheduled time and by the end of most days I was crying and telling Mike over and over again that we would have to wait a LONG time before we did this again. I needed a break. I needed hours, or even one hour, to myself.
Me time- where was it? I needed it bad. Finally when Bernadette was an older baby I got my nap time back, they both had a bed time and I could breath again. I still wanted a little more of a break between babies so I could bask in some of the rare but needed attention to myself, to keep off the baby weight a little longer, but mostly to gain some much needed virtue before subjecting another person to my short temper and self centered tendencies.
I remember confiding in my spiritual director that I could not imagine having any more kids until I became a better person. I am not sure if he said this or not, but I remember thinking to myself that maybe bearing and rearing children was the very thing that would help me to be a better person. Now 2 more kids later I think I am beginning to see that this is entirely true for me.
Since Joseph's birth I've said the words "you're killing me!" at least a thousand times to the kids during the day. Nap times no longer exist and 1 o'clock rolls around and I have been taking care of a baby and a toddlers and homeschooling the older ones and I feel like I am done, but Joseph needs to be held and rocked because he's fussy and sick- "you're killing me", I tell him as I kiss him.
Lucy is a 2-year-old who is difficult to understand but turns to high pitched screaming if she doesn't get the thing she was requesting that I didn't give her because I couldn't hear what she was saying- the screaming starts, my heart rate sky rockets, and I declare to her that she is "killing me!". Naomi and Bernadette get in another screaming hitting fight over which one gets into the car first, I settle it, get in the driver's seat and bury my exhausted face in my hands and whisper "Lord, they are killing me".
And they are. They are killing me. They are killing the old Ana who could not imagine not having 2-3 hours in the day to whatever she wanted to do, the Ana who was SURE she could never handle a baby with colic, the Ana who needed at least 8 hours of sleep every night. They're killing the Ana loving Ana and even though it is harder than I ever thought it would be, I couldn't be happier about it.
It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
I can only pray that a tiny bit of what Saint Paul was talking about is happening to me through this vocation, through these beautiful, redeeming crosses called children, which I attempt to happily and lovingly take up daily.