I have always dreamed of being married. Not my wedding but the actual marriage. I remember picturing several scenarios. Some on a farm and being surrounded by children as we hoe the garden. I would picture myself running a bed and breakfast with older daughters helping me clean each room and my husband and boys running the workshop where we would sell the amazing things they would create for extra income. I would picture just every day life in my head. School around a large dining room table. Working together on chores singing all the time. I would picture the girls and I sitting around with needle/hand work while my boys carve something and my husband reading to us from the Bible.
And then, the most exciting thing happened to a young girl with such visions- she met her knight in shining armor. The beautiful wedding happened. He carried her over the thresh hold of their little 1950’s 850 sq ft brick home and immediately knelt down and prayed that God would bless their marriage and their home and the passel of kids they would have. The girl was exciting. Her visions and dreams were coming true. Could life get any better?
The first month of marriage passed. The girl learned that she was NOT a cook when it came to making gluten-free meals. A necessity since her prince charming had a sensitivity to wheat and gluten. They ate like peasants that first month. After her embarrassment for not being a Betty Crocker had passed and she kept trying with the encouragement from her husband… the days alone in a house became long. She decided she wanted to begin making the bachelor pad a home. She began looking for ways to make it clean and homey, like from the page of a Better Homes and Garden book. Reality set in. The walls were cinder block. She couldn’t hammer in a simple nail. It required special screws and time consuming drilling. The walls were an ugly Navajo white and flat. You can’t clean flat paint. She was excited! She would paint the walls. But, her hubby, being the wonderful handyman that he was, didn’t want her doing any large project without his guidance over making sure it was done and done right. She came to realize that a lot of the large projects she wanted to take would require assistance from the hardworking husband. So, she decided she would garden. Turns out, she has a black thumb… no green whatsoever on those hands.
Soon, 6 months had past. She was still not pregnant. For some, this might be a blessing, for her it was disappointment. She so badly wanted to be a mom and begin “raising” her little brood. She walked everywhere. She was 18 and still couldn’t drive thanks to bureaucracy. There was nothing to do. The house was as clean as it could get. Her husband worked long hours at the automotive mechanic shop, its a very demanding job.
9 months later they had the most wonderful news, they were going to be parents! 9 months after their wedding day, she found out she was with child. The sewing machine worked over time for that first month. She was sewing maternity clothes with glee… and then reality over the situation hit- morning sickness… or in this case, all day every day sickness. Nothing would stay down, even grape juice, she spent most of the days on the couch wishing the months away. Then life got better. Soon (but it didn’t feel like “soon”) they welcomed their firstborn into the world, a daughter.
Her visions kicked in! Cuddle baby times. Baby sleeping in the cradle as she made dinner for her husband. Wonderful morning walks with a bundled up baby.
Once again, reality hit, it was late night, early morning feedings. Feedings, those were so painful and so hard. Nursing was not this wonderful bonding time but something to dread because of the intense pain it would cause. There was football hold, cradle hold, nipple shields, warming the cloth up, letting a bit down before you began feeding, anything and everything one could think of to stop the cracked bleeding and very sore breasts.
She began to question God if this was His purpose for her life. Was it really to be a mother and wife? She was failing all of it already and her first anniversary hadn’t even passed.
4 months into her first child. When everything was starting to get better and they began to figure out stuff she found out she was pregnant again. I will tell you a secret, she wept. She didn’t know whether to be excited or dismayed, perhaps, I will even dare to say she was a bit of both. She was so proud that she would have another child but she was so scared that she wouldn’t be able to take care of two. She cried to her Father in heaven, asking what did He want from her? After the hormonal stage past and she prepared herself for the months to follow on a couch with not even a year old child… the Lord blessed her. She was not as sick this time, in fact for the first 6 months, she had boundless energy. Feeling confident that she was once again super woman she began picturing her visions again. She would hang the laundry up on the clothesline while her little 9 month old girl played in the weeds and giggle with delight. Swollen with belly she began to laugh as well. This could work! Her dreams were beginning to come true!
This pregnancy she was big. She gained a lot of weight, despite her resolve to eat healthy and exercise she put on about 60lbs. Her hips would ACHE. Not just a little twinge here and there but to the point where she would fall down in pain and be using a walker when she would go to the grocery store. Janette Oke never mentioned this in her books.
Her second child was born 13 months after her first and within 42 hours of the first labor contraction. A son.
She prayed to God that He would give her a break. She began to plan her life again now. A boy and a girl, and maybe in another year when she got the handle on this, He could give her another one but definitely give her a year. I think she even contemplated being “done”.
I wouldn’t say life was “easy” after that but she was more prepared for the unexpected. The days and seasons past. What they did from one day to the next, I do not know. Probably the everyday mundane things. But the children grew. They began to speak. They began to touch. They began to desire knowledge. The mother grew weary. This was not what she had pictured. I am ashamed to say but sometimes the mother would yell in frustration over the children not listening or paying attention and it seemed like no matter how the day went, good or bad, at dinner time, everyone was grouchy and something catastrophic would happen in the middle of making dinner. Sometimes burned dinner was served.
What happened to her dreams? What happened to her visions? Was it because of DNA that her children weren’t perfect little robots? Coming at her bidden call? Always quiet? Always so willing to help? Always clean and tidy? What happened? She read the books! Train from infancy! Encourage rather than rant. Yada yada yada. What happened?
She began to inhale every blog post on child rearing. She bought or borrowed every book on training up a child. She talked to mothers. She listened to others. She observed. She prayed. She whined. She talked. She cried. Why was this not easy?!
She began to follow all the advice given. But after a few days, there seemed to be no change. Everyone complimented on her children but she only cringed at their words. Why would they only behave for others and not for her?
On and on this went for 3 years. Husband and wife “talk”. changes that would only last a few days. Plans. Etc etc etc. But her perfect family was still not in place. Her house still remained unpainted and even more projects came up as doors had to be replaced, closets were taken out for more room, more stuff came into the house and piles were made everywhere as their was no “home” for these necessities.
There would be some days when it would “click” that everything needs time, patience, love and understanding… with a bit of forgiveness. (But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23) but for the most part, the cycle would go on… and on…and on…and on…
So, why am I typing out this blog post? To discourage young women for dreaming?
Not at all. If I could do everything over again I would do it in a heartbeat. Hopefully with a bit more wisdom under my belt though. I am writing this to encourage others that have had the same dream of a wonderful smooth running household to continue to work for it. Do not give up in frustration. Perhaps, I am even writing this for myself most of all. I love my children. I love their imperfections. I love that they humble me and show me my imperfections… well, ok, maybe I don’t love that part so much. Maybe we don’t have perfect days. Is there such a thing? But, I still hang up the laundry on my clothesline. My 3rd child seated in the stroller beside be and the two other children screaming and laughing as they chase each other playing cops and robbers. My garden beds lay still for the winter. In the spring hubby will turn the soil and it will be a family project to get the seeds planted. I daily try to sit down and do school with the children. Its not an easy process. We do not always have fun but they are learning and the thought of writing or reading makes them excited. I am still learning myself how to teach. I am learning myself how to “train up a child in the way he should go”. I still have a stack of books by my bed to help me in my journey. During the course of writing this, I have, answered the phone, corrected a fight, fed the baby, praised a painting, admonished, encouraged, and lost count of what I wanted to say and forgot.
It is a wonderful life. I can only dream of a perfect one that I will not experience here on earth but in heaven but I do not wish this life away. I am learning to roll with the bunches and work towards that time that use to be a childhood dream but with a more realistic view that we are all born sinners. We all need encouragement in good behavior, hugs and smiles. We all need forgiveness. Most of all, I need to let go and let God. There was nothing wrong with my dreams but there was something wrong with the attitude I would have when things didn’t go my way. Know this, dreams take work. No person has ever dreamed opening a bakery and not needed to do anything.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8