Saturday, March 24, 2007

Growing into Grilled peanut butter

A couple of days ago, as I was making grilled peanut butter sandwiches, I remembered the mom who first made such a sandwich for one of my children. My friend, Andrea, a mom of five, had taken care of Anne and Betsy all day while I was at the hospital following a miscarriage. I remember being in awe of her. Not only did she take care of seven children that day, but she allowed one of mine to deviate from the planned menu of grilled cheese, and choose peanut butter instead. Grilled peanut butter? Was there no end to this woman’s creativity?

I realize I was easily impressed in those days (no offense, dear Andrea.) At the time, I was still adjusting to the role of "mom of two." It still seemed tremendously hard to me, and I couldn't imagine what a household with five or six or seven children must be like (though I was willing to find out, if God allowed it for our family. ) So, although I offered to watch other people's kids, it was always "an event" to me -- more chaotic, louder, and busier than I was used to handling. And, it always seemed that I needed people like Andrea more than she needed me. I never seemed to be able to "pay her back" sufficiently.

But, I did it. And, I got better at it. I grew into my role of "mom of two" and added the prefix "homeschooling" to that. Then I became a "homeschooling mom of three" all the while growing into "the event" of helping other moms out with their kids. What had once seemed daunting and impossible was, suddenly and without my realizing it, just part of my everyday life.

Several things recently have brought those early days of motherhood to mind. A week or two ago, I exchanged emails with a young mom of one, and she expressed the general anxiety we all feel when we have "only one": How will I handle two? I encouraged her not to worry too much about it, because (although we all do worry) she'll grow into the role before she even realizes what's happening. I also told her that having only one was actually harder, in many ways, than having two or more because that one child is looking to mom for everything, including constant playtime. (Giving your child more siblings/playmates is a very good thing.)

Then, I read Danielle Bean's Mom to Mom, and she touches on the very same thing. She explains to mothers why it's harder to have only one, and reminds them that the older ones do grow up and become more independent.

Then, I was reminded of all of this again when I recently visited with a wonderful, young mother of two who is considering homeschooling. I never think I offer very articulate answers to the kinds of questions that people have about more babies and homeschooling. From my end, I feel as if I'm sputtering, and repeating myself, and saying, "Don't worry. You just do it."

Not an especially well-crafted defense of my position. But, it's so true. And, in its simple way, comforting. It's an assurance that God will lead and provide.

As Love2Learn mom quotes, from Francis of Assisi:

Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
I can't think of better advice for moms.

From "How will I handle another baby?" to "Can I really homeschool?" to babysitting a friend's seven children to making grilled peanut butter ....

Start by doing what is necessary.

God will lend a hand.

5 comments:

ascozyasspring said...

So many people said the same thing to me. It didn't make sense, but it does now. Aren't I eloquent??

Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle said...

Very beautifully said, Karen, no "sputtering" at all!
God bless and love, Donna

Elaine said...

This is ESPECIALLY encouraging ...
"Then, I was reminded of all of this again when I recently visited with a wonderful, young mother of two who is considering homeschooling. I never think I offer very articulate answers to the kinds of questions that people have about more babies and homeschooling. From my end, I feel as if I'm sputtering, and repeating myself, and saying, "Don't worry. You just do it."

AS a mother of 5 who is about to embark on the adventure of homeschooling ... those words meant a lot to me. THANK YOU!

Amy said...

Wow, I feel really inarticulate now---but have you ever tried an applesauce sandwich? Be sure to add a little cinnamon, butter your bread and grill it--yum! Good to start with a 1-piece of bread sandwich to make sure you like it. (I do my reassuring with food, apparently).

Love, Amy

Cheryl said...

I enjoyed this post very much. And you've been making me want to buy that book!