What Motherhood Means To Me: Wanting the Best for Our Children
I am sitting in the waiting room of my obstetrician’s office as I type this. I have already jotted down a few words at home; thoughts about motherhood and childhood, because the two are ever so connected.
But I brought a letter to the desk lady here today, and she changed everything.
At my previous appointment I had complimented Brigitte on her sweet accent, so musical, and she told me she was from Rwanda.
“Wow! We just started sponsoring Jacqueline, a baby girl from Rwanda! I wonder if you could translate a letter for me next time I come?” She happily agreed, so I brought the paper with me today.
As she was reading – her translation a bit more precise and detailed than the one of Compassion – she paused, frowned, and tears welled up in her eyes.
Jacqueline’s mother was sharing what she did with the extra money we sent at Christmas. We thought they would purchase clothes and shoes for their little girl.
They didn’t. Instead they provided for their family’s most urgent needs, and purchased a chicken. And a goat.
Brigitte was covering her mouth, looking at me, speechless, and while tears were falling down my own cheeks she reached over the desk and hugged me, saying “Oh thank you for helping my people!”
So as I sit here, thinking about my own journey to motherhood, and where I am now, everything seems a little superficial.
I had a wonderful childhood, punctuated by school and summer holidays at my Grandad’s property in the French countryside. There were siblings and cousins galore, all-day hikes with backpack lunches by a stream and hide-and-seek games through cornfields. There were frequent walks downhill to the village boulangerie for candy. It took us 30 minutes to get there, talking and dreaming; we’d carefully select each piece, promising ourselves we would save them for later. But the walk back was cruel, a steep, uphill ordeal, and our legs grew quickly weary under the hot summer sun. We’d always end up sitting under a tree to enjoy some cool shade, and together dive into the sweetness hidden inside white paper bags.
I have thousands of memories like this one, and also some sad ones when the hurtful teenage years hit. I came to faith in my teens, and I also came to realise I would not want to raise my children the way I was being raised. I wanted closeness and joy, smiles and laughter and also some quiet moments to say “I understand”.
I wanted more I love you’s, hugs and time on the floor, playing.
And all of it worried me, as soon as Brett and I decided we were ready for a baby. Would I be a good mom? What if I was distant, preoccupied by adult things, never taking the time to hold my child, look them in the eye and just delight in them?
It has not been an easy road, this motherhood thing. There has been shock, and pain, and terrible loss. Helplessness and sadness and love and hope.
I doubt and question and fail more than I want to, but I have chosen to look to God for direction.
No, it’s not corny.
I look to Him because he is both father and mother, and if anyone can guide me, it is Him. Not my past, books, fear or worry. Him and his warm embrace, always loving, forever welcoming.
I may never meet Jacqueline, my sponsor child, in this life. But I am comforted and blessed to know I am a part of her life, and her mom’s own motherhood journey, helping to remove the impossible hurdle of lack, want, poverty. We are humbled, fortunate and blessed beyond belief to be able to provide a precious soul with food, health checks and education, so one whole family has a chance to thrive, not just survive. My prayer is that Jacqueline can create her own bright childhood memories, woven in innocence and beauty, games and laughter.
The foundation of a balanced life.
And that’s what motherhood is all about I think, giving more peace, grace, security, hope and strength than we were given, our children in turn going forth and continuing the journey in their own unique ways.
Keren is a world traveler, wife and mother of 4 children -who keep her on her toes! In a past life she has worked as a Registered Nurse in pediatrics, Montessori assistant teacher, blog writer and French teacher. Her days are now filled with caring for her kids, managing two health and wellness communities -one in French and one for English speakers- as well as educating others in natural remedies and how to make everyday products using essential oils. Her favorite day is Sunday, when she gets to enjoy church community with her husband while kids are having a good time!