It was 6:45 a.m. and hear a little voice through the monitor, “Ma Ma”, he says. I peek in at him and he’s standing at the side of his crib looking at his sleeping brothers.
I went to bed at midnight last night. In between I was up a bit with this standing one. Another one had a belly ache. And yet another wet the bed. Two out of five sleeping through the night last night isn’t bad, is it?
And the thing is, I did it all myself. I was the one to get up each time. I was the one comforting the bigs and feeding the baby.
I am a greenhouser’s wife. It’s much different than being a single mom. He may be gone now, but he comes home. He may be gone, but he’s working to provide for our family. He’s working so that when I have nights like that when he’s gone, he can give me a break when he’s home. And for all of that, I am thankful.
I am also thankful for this small voice calling me while the house is still so quiet. I can’t help but smile at the sight of his small frame standing at the side of his crib. I wonder if he’s debating waking his brothers. I walk in and his smile lights up the dim room. His eyes shine. He’s so happy to see me. He knew I’d come for him.
And for a moment I think of all the babies that stopped calling. The ones that don’t even cry anymore because no one comes for them. The ones that don’t bother to stand at the side of the crib and wait for their mamas. Because they don’t have a mama to come for them. They don’t understand what it’s like to just need a little snuggle or to rest their heads on a soft shoulder. Or to be fed when they are hungry. Or to find comfort in another person when they are hurt. My heart drops. I wish I could go to them. In the orphanages, in the homes. I wish I could bring them all to me, find them families, hold them close, whisper to them like I do my own. But I can’t. So instead of pray for them. Lord, be their comfort.
When I put my baby back in his crib just a little before this I debated on just staying up. It was 5 a.m. and I knew that might be my only quiet time for the day. So I thought about staying up then just for the quiet time. I settled on reading a verse in my Bible and going back to bed because I needed sleep. But with that verse I asked the Lord to show me something.
For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamites. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
I rested my head back on my pillow. Paul is content with pain and persecution and all the things I would be really struggling with. Paul is content with hardship and I struggle to stay content with my house. I struggle to stay content with my warm in the winter, cool in the summer, big, new to me house. Don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful for my house. I actually really love my house. But I always come up with something new to do or something to change or add to or shop for. Why can’t I just be content with it?
I drift to sleep with that thought. I wake to that small voice over the monitor. I can’t help but smile when I hear the “mama”. He is seven months. He’s calling for me. I am so thankful.
Today I will be content. With little sleep. With being the main caregiver. With breaking up fights. With cooking meals. With cleaning up spills. With folding clothes. With the mundane.
Because there was a day I longed for the mundane. The normal. There was a day I would have given everything up just to be able to hear my son call for me in the night, yet again. There was a day I still had some fight left in that hospital room. Before he took his last breath in my arms.
I know what it’s like to wake in the night to nothing. No voice at the other end of the monitor. No wet bed. No belly ache. No one to comfort. I prayed for and wanted these babies. I cried when I lost babies still in the womb. I dreamed of a large family. I left the hospital without my son. I planned his funeral. I walked away from his still, quiet body. There was once life. And then there wasn’t.
I have dark circles and gray hair. I have less than perfect skin and I really want to work out more. I come up with house projects when I shouldn’t. I want them to go to sleep at bedtime instead of practicing spelling words. But.
I am content. Because I am their mom. I am thankful because they call for me. Because I can go to them. Because I’ve been on the other side. I’ve come home to a quiet, empty house after losing a baby. I’ve woken up in the night only to remember that my reality is death and death is permanent. It wasn’t his voice I heard, I remind myself that part of my life is over. He lived with me his whole life. He is safe.
So, when they call for me in the night, i will go to them. When they wake early, i will do my best to greet them gently. When they need me, it is a pleasure, a blessing to be able to meet their needs.
I may be tired today, but there is plenty of time to sleep later in life. Nothing lasts forever. Soon they will be sleeping through the night. Soon they will not call for me when they wake. So today I will drink coffee, smile sweetly, and power through. Today I will sit a while longer, listen intently to the stories that I’ve already heard and turn to make eye contact when I was busy doing something else. Today they are still little. They are still here. Today I am blessed to have another day to be their mama. Today I will be content.