I can't tell you how, or even when exactly. Or why.
I just remember sometime in the middle of the night looking down at the face of my oldest son and feeling all but gratitude washing out of my soul. The way the babyness is going, leaving angled lines in once chubby cheeks. Remembering the wisdom in his eyes as we read our advent Bible story, where once only wild impulsivity lived. The way the arguments, which have been a part of our lives since 9/1/08- have become more clever. More convincing.
And holding a 20 month old Dude for the last time in the middle of the night. Knowing that when we woke, he would be gone. Replaced by a 21 month old who promptly removed a picture of his brother from the refrigerator and declared his name with all clarity for the first time. Who turned on the coffee, the same way 20 month old Dude did every morning, but this time said like a little man: "push the button!" as he did it.
Watching Aquaman, crying on the time out step for pushing his brother off of "horsey" Daddy's back. And the way The Dude joined him there, crying too, and saying "sorry! sorry, brother!"
Maybe it was the 3 hour nap I took on Sunday afternoon while JT bravely bundled both boys off to the mall where they rode the train and ate at a restaraunt and JT received a lecture by a large tatooed woman because apparently The Dude is a playground bully. Or the way they all came home glowing from their guys' day out. JT the most of all because he DID it. And he survived it.
Which is a pretty big accomplishment this time of year at the mall.
Maybe it was, once more, sitting down and considering that my quiver is already full, at least qualitatively speaking.
"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Proverbs 127:3-5
Because with the way that I've been called to parent, and with the children I have been called to parent: sometimes I wonder if my quiver is quantitatively full too. I love the relationship that I have with my boys, despite the moments of frustration and doubt. The one on one time I've been able to spend getting to know them. And the closer bond that they have with each other daily.
Love the way my relationship with Aquaman has changed lately as he becomes this...PERSON who I can relate to as well as parent. Although I have adored this time raising my babies, I am really excited about this new season of raising children. Aquaman's excitement over the Christmas season this year. Signing him up for his first ever sport: IHB tot t-ball to start in the spring.
The way he reached over and took my hand with a pained expression when we were reading about Adam and Eve believing the "terrible lie" in the Jesus Storybook Bible (that story gets him every time), and said "that's really sad, isn't it mom?"
I don't know if my family is complete yet. But I do know that my quiver, and my heart, are full.
Our lives are just a BREATH. That's why JT's body has been feeling a little weary from his workouts lately. Why my hormones and emotions almost overcame me last week
Why suddenly, holding my toddler son all night long doesn't seem like such an inconvenience anymore. And the thought of nursing a little beyond age two doesn't seem so crazy. And why "me" time again means cheering maniacally while my sons brave the grass ramp at the park.
Maybe it's just because I've decided to be ok with who I am today and stop worrying about whether I'm like anyone else or whether I can possibly do it all. I'm not. And I can't. End of story.
I'm me, made for a purpose. Not to do EVERYTHING but to do the things I've been called to well. Like loving and supporting my husband, and cheering him on. Whether he climbs the "corporate ladder" and makes a bunch of money, or whether he stays just who he is now: a quiet and simple man whom every surfer who enters the water stops to greet. Whose humility and gentleness is a magnet to the lost and hurting. Who, though he may be slightly afraid of small children, wraps our family in a constant cloak of love and support and continually makes me feel like who I am is enough.
Like raising my children to love the Lord, and each other, and the people in the world around them with a love that sacrifices: especially for the little man. The poor man. The dirty and helpless man. Especially for the child without a father. By loving them in their messiest, neediest, and most trying moments. When they seem the most unlovable. Reaching down into their hearts, letting them cling sometimes. Prying them off sometimes.
By filling our house with Christmas carols and lights and advent candy, and laughter. Making our home a haven from the cruel and tiring world, so that we will all be renewed by the love within these walls as we make our way back out to spread light in it.
By doing everything without complaining, or arguing, even when the workload in the office seems impossible to bear. By, as often as I can, fully opening my eyes and giving a cup of cold water to least of these.
Some other things may fall a bit to the wayside, and I'll have to be ok with that. Things that for others might be their most important calling, but would only distract me from the tasks that have been ordained for my life.
Everyone talks all the time about balance, but the truth is, there are seasons of life that are unbalanced. Someday I bet I'll be a better friend than I have been lately. I bet I'll get back in the best of physical shape. I bet I'll have more time to reconnect with different parts of myself.
It's hard to admit that I can't be it all. But so freeing to admit that through Christ who strengthens me, loves me, sustains me... Through Christ who shelters me with his wings, and supports me with his rock-hard foundation... I can be ENOUGH today.
That sounds pretty good to me.