It takes a village
Motherhood fact: parenting a horde of children can be lonely.
It’s an odd juxtaposition, but the amount of children you have can be inversely proportional to your investment in relationships.
There’s only so much time in a day.
And when you’re nursing an infant,
being pinned to the sofa by a needy 2 year old,
keeping constant eyes and hands on the 3 year old who is bound and determined to test gravity from every possible surface,
maintaining consistent eye contact with the 5 year old explaining his dreams for the last half decade,
teaching the 7 year old how to do the laundry while checking pockets for legos and rocks,
hollering at the 10 year old that his time’s up on Minecraft,
patiently explaining to the 13 year old that deodorant is non-negotiable,
chauffeuring the 15 year old to work and social engagements every few minutes,
And changing diapers, grocery shopping, keeping appointments, cleaning out the fridge, remembering to get gas, paying bills, feeding the hens, occasionally realizing the 10 year old has no underwear, and vacuuming Cheerios…
Oh, and homeschooling.
And remembering you have a husband.
And reading your Bible.
It’s a lot.
So relationships kind of get thrown under the bus (the big bus your teenager with a permit has to learn to parallel park).
Oh, and you have a medically challenging child who needs therapy, help with toileting and movement, who can’t just run across the fields and can’t move alone when it’s snowy or icy outside, and may occasionally present with illness that could be the flu or could be life threatening brain malfunction and they look the same…
It’s been a season for me.
A 15 year season.
Don’t get me wrong.
My kids are awesome. They’re my favorite people (except when they try to flush matchbox cars, or we have to have another talk about limiting social media, or there’s a public diaper explosion, or one of them acts like a bully, or they drop my phone in a puddle, or they skip naptime…)
I love being their mom and I will gladly pour myself out in the adventure of raising actual souls.
But. It can be lonely.
And that’s where having a village is so important.
Because it’s not on my to do list to daily reach out to a friend for a coffee date. Even having a full conversation without some minor crisis interrupting is cause for celebration.
And the idea of having other big families over can be hard on the thin-stretched food budget that has to cover meat for growing multiple teenage boys.
It’s been a while since we’ve invited any kid-less couple over to our jungle home that overflows with life.
We scare people.
But in this season, I’ve still needed people. Even if I couldn’t reach out and ask.
Even if I was too embarrassed by the laundry mountain pile on the sofa.
Even if the cupboards were getting bare.
Even if I’d been stuck at home for weeks as a cold ran its course through the family.
Even if I was sleepless/hopeless/had a headache/snapped at my kids who’d just sharpie’d the cat and just couldn’t even. Not again.
That’s when I needed my village more than ever. But couldn’t ask.
My friends - God works through people. Not the most spiritual or most financially generous or even the nicest.
He works through real, normal, broken souls to touch other real, normal, broken souls.
And both are blessed in the process.
Yesterday, our friend (and the pastor of the church we’ve attended since I was pregnant with my first child), called (ok, texted, it’s 2021) and asked us to come to church.
He wanted to show us something.
He took Josh (my husband) into the back rooms while we waited in the auditorium.
A minute later, they appeared.
You should watch the video for the reveal.
Some people in our church had apparently gotten together and ordered Ben a Rig.
The company, Not A Wheelchair, had created an off-road vehicle for people who can’t use their legs - just like my son Beniah. It’s operated by hand controls. It’s battery powered. It’s pretty slick.
It’s not the kind of contraption any insurance would deem worthy of their investment. But for a kid who can’t walk - its freedom. An equalizer. It’s a longed-for taste of being “ordinary ” (or, as you can see, maybe even extraordinary).
My village is pretty spectacular.
You should get yourself one. (A village, I mean. But a Rig is a close second).
We are so blessed.
I don’t feel lonely today. 💜
P.S. Check out notawheelchair.com. Though the ordering process was really really long, the end result is a pretty sweet ride!
P.P.S. My youngest is now 3, and no longer nursing. Everyone sleeps through the night. My oldest boys have taken on quite a few chores. Ben’s medical challenges are stable. And it’s summer, so homeschooling doesn’t have the grip of the winter months. So the season is changing. But it’s still fresh, and I know I speak for other moms who don’t have platforms. They need villages too 💙