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.

31 comments :

  1. Wowzers! That was so, so good. Painful to hear as I sit mourning my "me time" as my 2nd screams from the bedroom where she should be sleeping, but still SO GOOD.

    Alifeinparentheses.com

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  2. When our number three was about four weeks old, having spent the entire four weeks eating or crying it seemed, I said to him, "you are killing me." It struck me at that moment, or maybe the Holy Spirit struck me, that THAT was precisely the point! I was supposed to be dying to my own self...I am still not good at it, but I got the message loud and clear!

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  3. Great reflection. They really are killing us. Now to practice some virtue myself and work on being okay with it :)

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  4. Loved that: "They're killing the Ana loving Ana" ... it's happening here too, I often reflect what a bum I'd be if my kids didn't force me to think outside myself, and I like this Me a whole lot better than the Me I'd be if I could have things my way all the time.

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  5. So beautiful, Ana. So very beautiful and true! <3 Slowly but surely I'm right along with you on this journey. I still yearn for my me time during naps but God give me the grace to transition when the time comes for there to be less of me and more of them/Him.

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  6. Perfectly put! And just what every young mom of many needs to read.

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  7. Oh... I needed this today. I've been thinking so much lately about how I shouldn't have these kids (or more!) because I'm not patient enough or not kind enough. But I know that I am infinitely more patient and kind than I was 2 kids ago and I'm sure I'll be able to say the same 2 kids from now (God willing!). Thanks friend!

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  8. This is a beautiful reflection! Our kids definitely are killing our old saves and making us new selves. It really is amazing how unselfish you have to be when you have kids. Yesterday I had the flu or something and was sick in bed, and my 2-year old kept wanting to crawl on me and nurse and sit by me. It was SO HARD. I just wanted to be BY MYSELF and not have a toddler climbing on me. The experience definitely made me a better person though.

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  9. What a great sentiment! Of course, I still get all mine to nap at the same time ;)

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  10. Oh my goodness, Ana...I really needed this today. Thank you!!!!!

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  11. Oh my goodness, Ana...I really needed this today. Thank you!!!!!

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  12. Yes yes yes. So true, so hard, yet so good.

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  13. Oh my goodness, this is so true. I love this!

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  14. Great article.. I was there for a long time, feeling like I had not one second to myself all day and night. I was homeschooling and taking care of a totally cranky high need 15 month old who destroyed everything... three kids so close together. Fast forward to this year, I have an 8, 6, and 4 1/2 year old. All are in school ( of some sort) I have a few times a week to myself to work out, read, clean etc. We are getting ready to welcome #4 in two months and I know I;m going to be in for a rude awakening in the self giving department. I've been sleeping through the night with a bunch of potty trained kids for way too long. And yet I know it will never be as hard as it was when I had my first three kids all together. My kids are older and can help. What you're doing now is the hardest...

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  15. Love this post! It brought me to tears as I sit in my cube at work. Thanks for the reflection!

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  16. Great outlook, as I've often used the same phrase (You're killing me!) but without further depth. It's so hard to be a selfish human, isn't it??? :)

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  17. Really beautiful reflection, sweet Ana. I totally understand. Totally :)

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  18. Amen! Amen! I'll need to reread this when August rolls around!

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  19. Great post! Applied to motherhood, this is all much more noble, but it reminds me of something that happened to me last week. I gave up sweets for Lent, and I was with my husband at a church event where they had ALLLL sorts of delicious desserts that I couldn't eat. I started saying, "ugh! It's kills me that..." and he cut me off with, "that's exactly the point! It's supposed to kill you!"

    (but yes, the same thing happens through my kids, every day in some little way)

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  20. Yes. Yes yes yes. I hate that her childhood has to be the battleground on which my sanctity must be won, but I hope that God will just fill in the gaps while I am becoming new.

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  21. I don't have children yet (God-willing), but I wish more people could "get" this. Kids may "kill" your old life, but they bring forth such a sweeter one. :)

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  22. Thank you. So beautifully put.

    I often think of my kids as sandpaper. Painfully grating my rough edges away. But the edges *do* need to be sanded. And wow - what cute sandpaper those kids are.

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  23. This was wonderful. I'm going to remember this every time I utter that phrase. Which I do often, even though mine are no longer babies and toddler. Because teenagers and pre-teens.

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  24. I really needed this today as I prepare for the birth of a newborn in a couple of weeks and wondering how I will properly care for him and his one year old brother :) Sometimes the energy seems spent being pregnant with a one year old, but I have to remember that God gives where we have none left.

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  25. I read this post a few days ago, and had to come back and comment that I have since been using your words with my 3 kids. (I am also pregnant with #4). It has helped so much in those really challenging moments. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I read this post a few days ago, and had to come back and comment that I have since been using your words with my 3 kids. (I am also pregnant with #4). It has helped so much in those really challenging moments. Thanks for sharing!

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