By February 2008, I now had a 14-month old who was not yet walking, who had just been diagnosed with asthma, who had severe food allergies (including milk, soy, wheat, eggs, corn, and peanut) ...and I was 41 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child. Unlike most women in those final few weeks and beyond, I was in no hurry to deliver. Quite frankly, with the medical needs of our oldest, I didn't think I could handle another child. So to me, the best thing for our 2nd child was to remain safe and sound in the nice, comfy womb, while I tended to our oldest. Baby #2 was just going to have to... wait.
But it didn't work that way. The doctor scheduled an induction date for me. I guess everyone seemed to believe this child needed to be out in the hustle and bustle of it all. So there I was... thrust into the life of managing 2 children, 14 months apart, both demanding my attention, and usually simultaneously.
Where were all the visitors now? The meals?? The people checking in on me?? The offers to help? I knew I wasn't a "new" mom, but when it comes to dividing my attention, I was new indeed! I needed more help than ever before, but I didn't want to impose on anyone - including my own husband and father of our children. After all, he was putting in 14 hours of work, while I was "just at home". (Believe me, I have since learned differently!) And silently, I chose to work it out on my own. Baptism by fire, some say. But somehow I managed to juggle this new life. But I had to learn the art of making them... wait.
When there are 2 children crying, one is going to wait. When there are 2 children hungry, one will wait. And when there are multiple diapers to be changed? Yes, in the midst of the sour smell, one is still going to wait. Because as much as I would like to do everything at the same time, I just couldn't. Thus, I would have to accept the fact that there would be a child (or perhaps 2 children) crying, or rather screaming. I would have to repeatedly tell myself that these children are in fact okay. Then I would have to release the guilt that I felt every time this happened.
Making these babies wait... was the best thing I could do for me. In the frustration of, "Ahhh!!! I can't do it all!!"... I can actually hear myself say, "I can't do it all." Which then reminds me that, "I can't do it all." And ultimately causes me to turn to the One who can do it all. God, Almighty God.
What was I trying to gain in this ridiculous quest of "got it all togetherness"? Ultimate Mother of the Year!! She meets all demands, and never has a child in tears! Nice, not reality. This gift of motherhood is not about me. It's about building character in the lives that God has entrusted to me. Whether it is one child or 10, this "on demand" mothering mentality must change. There's a character building opportunity here. So I must capitalize. Now.
And now... almost 6 years in to this journey, I still make them wait. Admittedly, I am usually motivated to make them to wait simply to allow myself the chance to get to everything. (Still trying to do it all!) But then I realized that I am doing them a great disservice by not teaching them to wait. I'm actually hindering them by always being available to meet their needs at the snap of a finger. I would even go so far as to say that I am unintentionally encouraging a sense of entitlement, or a "spoiled brat", even without buying one extravagant gift.
So now they are being taught to look at my hands, before making a request. They are being taught that I cannot do everything at once. They are being taught to consider others, even above their own request. They are being taught that real life is NOT "on demand." They are being taught to wait... and dare I say it... patiently.
Have they mastered it? Absolutely not. Is it a struggle? Every day. All day. (Remember we are talking about a nearly 6, 5, 3, 2... along with a 6 month old!) Do I want to give up and just let everybody wallow in their own selfish demands?? ALL. THE. TIME.
Wait. It's the 4-letter word that causes most children to cringe. It's that awful feeling of not getting what I want when I want it. And if I'm honest, it does its devastating work in my own impatient heart as well. So I'm trusting that such an exercise as this will produce an amazing result - not only in them, but in me.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.