Love remembers

Because I was raised Jewish and then fell into a rather extreme Christian religion in college, when I regained my senses I was (understandly, I think) a bit wary of committing myself to another church. It wasn’t that I didn’t still consider myself a person of faith; it was that I was beginning to realize that first I needed to know what I believed, apart from what a group of people might tell me to believe.

My (ex) husband (is) was Methodist. I went to church with him. Sometimes. The Methodists seemed nice enough.

The years went by and challenges came with them. I couldn’t get pregnant. We got pregnant and I miscarried. Then I couldn’t get pregnant again. I spent a lot of time being very angry.

I talked to God a lot. No; that’s not right. I talked at God a lot. I don’t think He minded—after all, He’s a pretty patient guy, I think—but I certainly wasn’t listening. I was asking for what I wanted. I was disguising my bitching as requests for guidance, when really, I wanted a damn baby and I wanted one NOW.

Along came Chickadee. It had been a rough pregnancy and a neverending delivery and finally I was a mom. This baby was everything I wanted and nothing like what I expected. She was baptized in the church we attended and I stood there, holding her in her little white dress and her tiny tights with the ruffles on the tush, and prayed that she wouldn’t start screaming. (She slept through most of it.)

I discovered I was pregnant with Monkey on Chickadee’s first birthday. We were elated. I thanked God for our good fortune. We were at church one Sunday morning and when I took baby Chickadee into the back room because she was being noisy, I felt a gush. A quick trip to the bathroom had me scuttling back into the sanctuary to whisper to my husband that I was bleeding and we needed to get to the hospital. Later, when ultrasound confirmed an active and very much alive Monkey next to a small hemorrhage, I whined to God about bedrest with a toddler and a job and what exactly was He trying to pull, here?

Monkey came into the world wailing and didn’t stop for about four months. Between his colic and our relocation, he wasn’t baptized in the same church where his sister had been; we moved and found a new church and decided to wait a bit.

And then a funny thing happened.

I really liked the new church. I liked the pastor, and I liked the people, and in the midst of adjusting to life with a baby and a toddler, I liked the calmness I felt when I was there.

Time passed, and Monkey was nearing his first birthday. We decided to have him baptized. In our discussion with the pastor, my ex arranged to transfer his membership to this church. I had never joined the previous church, but was ready to join this one. Only it turns out that you have to have been baptized in order to join. So the pastor suggested that I be baptized alongside my son.

Monkey and I were baptized together. (He was definitely the cuter of the two of us with holy water dripping down the forehead.) I suspect he spent most of the ceremony trying to figure out how to eat his bow tie. I spent most of it reflecting on the last few years, and marvelling at all God had given me despite my bratty attitude. I silently vowed to trust Him more, and complain less.

The family who sponsored our baptism/joining gave us a small box after the service. “Just a little token for Monkey,” the wife told me. Inside, I found this:

joy/

I suppose it’s meant to be a Christmas ornament (the baptism was in early December), but I hung it up in Monkey’s room, and that’s where it’s been ever since. The fabric loop is just long enough to string it around his thermostat.

I see it so often that sometimes I don’t even notice it. But it’s been a rough few weeks around here, and tonight after I tucked Monkey into bed, it caught my eye. And I remembered that I hung it up thinking how perfect it was; that if I had to choose just one word to describe my child, it would be joy.

I remembered that God puts up with me, in part, to teach me how to put up with them.

I remembered that I longed for these children, and I never prayed for them to be perfect or easy, but for them to know how much they are loved.

I remembered that through these children, I found my way to my faith.

I remembered that no matter what they do or how hard this feels, they are still my joy. And I may not be able to fix their hurts, I may not be able to keep their elbows off the table and their hands to themselves and their misbehaving butts out of the principal’s office, but I can remember my joy in them in spite of those things.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Don’t let the daily grind make you forget. Love may not conquer all, but it sure makes it a lot more bearable.

46 Responses to “Love remembers”

  1. 1
    Emily February 1, 2007 at 12:26 am #

    I must thank you. I am a new teacher and today was a rotten day. I had to send ome of my students to the dean’s (high school for principle) and I really hate doing that. Needless to say I was feeling rather low about teaching in general. Reading you post though reminded me why I teach and why I left the high paying attorney job to do so. I wanted to teach, I never asked to teach perfect children but children. Liek you I foudn my way to my passion adn callign through my “children” So long story short, thank you for reminding me of my joy whe I needed it most.

  2. 2
    Jules February 1, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    *I* needed this reminder ..and seemingly need it often…Thank you.

    (((hugs))) Thinking of you, my lovely.

  3. 3
    Cele February 1, 2007 at 12:51 am #

    Mir, you shared two or more really important things.
    1) God is peace
    2) Never over look the little things and say thank you for our blessings everyday
    3) To realise the lessons we teach are the lessons we learn every day
    4) And finally to share our thoughts, our hopes, our loves, and sorrows with others to gives and to take, to learn and to teach and to be peace in God.

    So that if four. Thank you for the joy and the tears. Thank you for you.

  4. 4
    Rae February 1, 2007 at 1:05 am #

    This is really beautiful. Thanks for sharing, it is something to be reminded of often!

  5. 5
    Patricia February 1, 2007 at 1:20 am #

    Wow. I just have to say wow. Whenever a child is baptized in the church I grew up, the pastor holds the wet headed baby up and says, “May never know a day without the Lord.” I think about that statement often, mostly in the darkest times when I so caught up in myself I think I’ve lost sight of Him. I think about that when I look at my boy too and wonder if he’ll be able to say that he never knew a day without knowing God was there for him. But mostly when I am being slapped around emotionally, I try to remember that He is there when it is happy and when it is awful and He’s never left my side –even when I try to pretend He’s not there.
    And then there are the people in this world that remind me of it when I needed that hug the most. Thanks.

  6. 6
    Irene February 1, 2007 at 2:49 am #

    this really moved me because these past few days I was thinking about how God speaks to me through my children. and how they draw me closer to Him every day. really.

  7. 7
    Zee February 1, 2007 at 3:03 am #

    Oh gosh, Mir, you’ve got me all choked up! sniff.

    Beautiful post.

  8. 8
    Lady M February 1, 2007 at 3:25 am #

    That was lovely, Mir.

    And it explains how I remembered you were Jewish but now you mention going to church!

  9. 9
    Lisa February 1, 2007 at 6:17 am #

    I love starting my day with a cup of coffee and a tear in my eye. Thanks for the perspective this morning.

  10. 10
    Sara February 1, 2007 at 7:19 am #

    Thanks, Mir, for expressing so eloquently some things that I feel. Particularly this:’God puts up with me, in part, to teach me how to put up with them’. When my kids are being willful, I sometimes get a picture of how I must look to God–with my whining, and brattiness, and complaining to Him–and it makes me think of the grace and mercy and love He has extended to me. Makes it much easier to extend that grace and mercy and love to my own children.
    Beautiful post.

  11. 11
    Terri February 1, 2007 at 7:56 am #

    Beautiful, and so, so true.
    Thanks!

  12. 12
    chris February 1, 2007 at 8:18 am #

    such an essential truth(s), but one we all forget in the day-to-dayness of it all. well done!

  13. 13
    Jamie February 1, 2007 at 8:20 am #

    I copied and printed this quote to put on my fridge so I will see it daily. My husband has a 6 month deployment coming up, and I know it will be rough, and this is just the reminder I needed! Thanks!

    “I remembered that God puts up with me, in part, to teach me how to put up with them.

    I remembered that I longed for these children, and I never prayed for them to be perfect or easy, but for them to know how much they are loved.”

  14. 14
    Juliness February 1, 2007 at 8:48 am #

    Thank you for the reminder that all the ‘bad’ stuff we walk through can actually turn out okay. Better than expected even. I needed to read that this morning.

  15. 15
    Melanie February 1, 2007 at 8:59 am #

    That was gorgeous and definitely a reminder that even when things aren’t easy, there’s always love, and there’s always joy. Children may be obnoxious little things, but they are also the most perfect way to show yourself that things are really not as bad as they seem. Thanks, Mir.

  16. 16
    MMM February 1, 2007 at 9:21 am #

    Beautiful.

  17. 17
    Dawn February 1, 2007 at 10:00 am #

    I wanted you to know that this affected me, that you changed my crummy attitude and thusly, improved my children’s day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Sharing your life and your observations with us changes the world a little bit, Mir. You are an amazing person!!

  18. 18
    Aimee February 1, 2007 at 10:43 am #

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that — between you and Kira, I’m all loved up this morning.

  19. 19
    el-e-e February 1, 2007 at 10:52 am #

    You’re a genius storyteller.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  20. 20
    LB February 1, 2007 at 10:54 am #

    Thank you for the reminder.

  21. 21
    Nichole February 1, 2007 at 10:55 am #

    That was so beautiful. I thought the line “This baby was everything I wanted and nothing like what I expected” was going to be my favorite part, but it just kept getting better. Thank you.

  22. 22
    Sophie February 1, 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Again, thanks for pouring out your heart to us (another water metaphor). Beautiful post. I would like to read more about your faith journey, or did I just miss those posts?

  23. 23
    mar February 1, 2007 at 11:22 am #

    I spent yesterday trying to figure out if my kids had PMS or multiple personalities. The girl is only 6, and the boy – well, he’s a boy – so I guess we can rule out PMS … but as my youngest fell asleep in my arms, having cried out all of her 6 year old worries, I remembered that this too shall pass, and that tomorrow was another day – and with any luck, the Universe will grant me the patience to get through that day too.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  24. 24
    The Other Leanne February 1, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    I’m sitting here just stunned by your eloquence…and there’s a big wet drip sliding down my face. Thanks to you, I am starting this day with a better sense of balance and perspective.

  25. 25
    Michelle February 1, 2007 at 11:29 am #

    Mine both have a flu right now and I’m struggling. This reminds me of a scroll that hung in my room when I was young. It said “Joy is not the absence of sorrow, but the presence of God.” Thank you for this timely reminder!

  26. 26
    Liise February 1, 2007 at 11:39 am #

    *Tears streaming down my face*

    Just lovely Mir. Sniff.

  27. 27
    Chris February 1, 2007 at 11:42 am #

    Thanks Mir,
    That was beautiful and I needed that today.
    That is why I keep coming back!

  28. 28
    Chewie February 1, 2007 at 1:22 pm #

    Mir…mir mir mir MIR…

    I hear ya on this one today, friend.

    Chewie

  29. 29
    jenn February 1, 2007 at 1:25 pm #

    Mir, you’re the best. Thanks for this. Shalom always to you and Chickie and Monkey. http://www.therefinersfire.org/meaning_of_shalom.htm

  30. 30
    Ally February 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm #

    I finally found a new church recently (Methodist as well) and while I had been needing it for myself, knowing I wanted it for my son finally pushed me in to action. A lovely post. Happy Love Thursday.

  31. 31
    Dysfunctional Housewife February 1, 2007 at 2:15 pm #

    Beautiful. Absolutely Beautiful.

  32. 32
    ChristieNY February 1, 2007 at 3:16 pm #

    My 3 month old was recently dedicated at our church. I hope I can raise him & his big brother with the same grace and positive outlook that you raise your kids. Happy Love Thursday, Ms. Mir.

  33. 33
    InterstellarLass February 1, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    Thanks Mir. :)

  34. 34
    liz February 1, 2007 at 5:56 pm #

    honestly, between you and kira today, it’s a wonder i don’t have Maybelline streaking down my face. happy love thursday!

  35. 35
    Pastormac's Ann February 1, 2007 at 6:33 pm #

    Wonderful. Thanks for sharing your heart.

  36. 36
    Rachel May February 1, 2007 at 7:31 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing, Mir. After my day today (which I posted about), I really needed this reminder. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  37. 37
    Emily February 1, 2007 at 8:38 pm #

    What a great reminder.Thanks,Mir.

  38. 38
    Jillian February 1, 2007 at 9:49 pm #

    I read your post today. It’s been just a tough day here. When things go my way I seem to welcome God wholeheartedly, but when they don’t I throw a tantrum like a two year old. It’s the frustration that has built up over time exploding in every direction. It’s like you try and try to achieve what you feel is right, you get so close and then the rug is pulled out from under your feet. I don’t know who else to blame .. so of course the pointed finger raises up high.. and is directed to God. It’s probably easier to blame him than anyone else… why is that? I have no idea.

    But I really thank you for writing something so beautiful. It made me look at today and appreciate what God did bless me with, and the guidence he gave to me to handle what I needed too.

    Jillian

  39. 39
    Cynthia Samuels February 1, 2007 at 10:09 pm #

    As so often you have moved me close to tears. My faith journey, from Jewish to Really Jewish, has also been a gift in ways least expected. And the gift of my children affirmed it — all of it. You say it so much better though that I really just want to say “what she said.” Thanks as usual Mir.

  40. 40
    kristi February 2, 2007 at 12:10 am #

    Joy indeed! Lovely, lovely post.

  41. 41
    daring one February 2, 2007 at 12:53 am #

    This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Children have a way of making you religious or at least wish that you were. I need every bit of strength I can find to be a mother and yet being a mother gives me strength I never knew I had. And the joy. Of course, the joy. And the stretch marks.

  42. 42
    Andrea February 2, 2007 at 10:22 am #

    That was beautiful. I too “found my way to my faith” through my son. Children are so amazing, in more ways than one. Really beautifully written, Mir! Thank you for sharing.

  43. 43
    Susan February 2, 2007 at 6:00 pm #

    You made me cry.

  44. 44
    dcrmom February 2, 2007 at 8:33 pm #

    That’s a beautiful post.

  45. 45
    dorothy February 3, 2007 at 12:12 am #

    Oh, Mir. Such a beautiful sentiment. I love it.

  46. 46
    mommyham February 3, 2007 at 12:48 am #

    I can so relate to all of this – the wrestle with faith, children, and how my children have revealed the nature of God to me. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

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