I used to think the bathroom meant privacy. As a mom, there is no such thing.
"Moooooooommmmmyyyy!" I vaguely can make out the faint voice of Isaac, calling from his bed. I stick my head out of the shower curtain in my master bathroom. "Mommy will be there in just one second, buddy!" Honestly, if there were a Guiness World Record for the world's fastest shower taker, I'd hold first place. I quickly dry off with lightning speed, throw on my lounge pants and the "Guys and Dolls" T-shirt I still have from my Junior year of high school--slightly huffing and puffing, I plop next to Isaac's bed. He smiles. "Do you have on your jammies, Mommy?" "Yes I do." And he sighs, slithering deeper under his blanket.
He has already prepared a selection of stories for me to read and usher him off into dreamland.
I have always read stories to my sons. I grew up with a wonderful Mother who gave me the same gift as a child. I fell in love with books, fell in love with the library. This creative and slightly introverted girl grew a voracious appetite for all things literary. It's wonderful to share this love with my children, and to watch them delve with their eyes and ears into stories. But sometimes, it's the life story that has the greatest characters and the most beautiful endings.
As I tuck Isaac in, turn off his light and pray for him, I leave his room a little melancholy. In a good way. (See, us melancholy introverts, we APPRECIATE this stuff.) It's more of a reflective moment...
10 years ago, doctors told me I might not be able to bear children.
I had been struggling with life and dealing with reality. There had been tremendous loss and inexplicable tragedy. Many people deal with these things. Many people bury their hurt, grief, fear, anger...and roots of bitterness and regret burrow into their souls, weaving destructive paths through their minds and hearts. This is what happened to me, and the consequences became external. By trying to hide that which I couldn't fix or heal by myself...I had allowed depression to distort my view of myself. I had tried to end my life when I couldn't control or hide the roots from poking through.
I'm standing in the hallway, gazing into the shadowy room of my son. He is sleeping soundly already. I allow my mind to continue remembering...
Depression had given way to an eating disorder as I struggled to maintain some semblance of control in my life. Hospitalized and enrolled in out-patient therapy for anorexia, I will never forget the first session with my doctor. "Christa, if you don't allow yourself some room to fail, you're looking at some serious consequences..." I dropped my head down and listened as he flipped through some papers and let out a deep sigh. "You're getting married, right?" I nod my head yes. "Do you want to have children?" I look up and with the most sincere heart I say, "Yes." His lips form a hard line. "Well, you've done damage to your body in ways that may not allow that to happen."
"Mom?" I turn around and see a semi-toothless grin on Ethan's sweet face. "Can you tuck me in too?" I pull him to me. "Of course...brush your teeth yet?" He runs into the bathroom and I run back to a memory...
After hearing the doctor's warning, something clicked in me. The desire to be a mother was so deep and so strong, I knew I had to change. I prayed to God that He would give me the strength to heal and truly see who I was meant to be. I worked then I cried and I rediscovered truth. I burned, I healed, I opened the scab of fear. He was there to patch me up again and push me on. He was, and is, my Heavenly Father. He is the type of parent I wanted to, and still hope to be more like.
"Okay, I brushed my teeth, Mom." Ethan and I walk into his room, and I watch him climb into his bed. We read a story, we pray a prayer. We say goodnight. "I love you, Mom." "I love you too, bubby."
I stand in the hallway again, looking into the rooms of my peaceful sons. Both, unique in their own ways. Both, destined to be something. Both, gifts and challenges. Mostly, they are the tangible fulfillment of a promise that my healing would create new life, new growth in the place of bitter roots. They are constant reminders that God has never left me and will keep working on and through me, no matter what life's stories bring. And one day, when I tell them this story, I will praise God for the wisdom they have to understand that NO story and NO life goes without promise.
What a Mother's Day. 10 years in the making.