"You've got your hands full."
Someone normally says this to me while I am wheeling the stroller up to a door that could use opening (could you grab that door while you stare?), or while I am pushing my cart full of kids through Walmart and tossing teething biscuits in the air like I'm feeding pigeons.
These are the questions I often ask myself:
How do I push a stroller and carry a tray of food while tackling a screaming and rather robust Ethiopian who thinks she rules the world (because this mother may have given her the impression that she does, in fact, rule the world...) while I also try to remove my son from whatever he has decided to climb on?
How do I handle the pediatrician's office? For TWO hours? With two children who think that doctors equal torture?
I have no answers to these questions.
But it's all working so far.
And I love it.
Here's the shocker:
So does Paul.
Who would've thought?
Many people stare. Sometimes, they drop what they are doing and march right up and ask me some version of "How can you stand this many toddlers? Why are you smiling?" In gentler words, of course, but I understand what the question is.
You all know what I am going to say here.
I'm still so in love, so in awe.
Every morning, I am amazed all over again that He loves me, that He chose me, and that He entrusts me with the care of His children.
While I change 660 diapers a month, I whisper His praises.
I never really sit down, and the joy I have found in the truth of my own salvation is enough to fuel each and every step, as I carry 52 pounds of beautiful babies up and down the staircase all day long, and while I try to serve my husband cheerfully at the end of my very long day that begins at 5:30 in the morning and never. stops.
I smile and sing. "Jesus is mine, precious salvation...glory divine."
I smile because although it seems like no one is listening to me while they tantrum, tattle, and tease, I see priceless gems emerging from these "vipers in diapers"...the rewards of Biblical discipline.
While I teach them about Jesus, they listen.
While I teach them about sharing and caring, they listen.
And sometimes, they choose to obey.
My rewards come daily, but I have to watch closely for them, or I would miss them.
I recently taught the kids about the Garden, Noah's Ark, and how the animals will always be afraid of man after the flood. It really seemed like no one was listening to me.
That night, as I tucked Lilly into bed, she asked me to take her to the Sinless Zoo, so she could ride on a giraffe. She said we were going to have to drive really far to get away from all of the sin to see the animals who weren't afraid of us.
I thank God that I get to be the one to walk her through His Word. Staying home with her, with all of them, is hard.
The Sinless Zoo is my reward.
After months of hard work and tons of prayer, I see my two 2-year olds holding hands, helping each other, and sharing; the same two that frequently petitioned for the "other one" to be removed from the room/family for a solid month.
Which leads me to the other thing that people say:
"Are they twins?"
I have to laugh.
Are you referring to the two who are breaking into the snack I packed for the soccer team at our first practice? The two that Lilly refers to as the Rule Breakers?
Because yes, they are twins.
They have a friendship that none of the rest of us understand.
Every time I turn around, they have broken, climbed, or ripped something while giggling wordlessly, as only sisters can.
Which leads us to the last thing that people say, while they eye Miriam and Moses:
"Are they related?"
And as for the things people say that insinuate that children are a burden, that they are expensive, or that motherhood is a slave of a job, I can tell you two things:
1) In the words of Elisabeth Elliot, "Christ is my Master, whose slave I am."
2) Great is my reward.
(So, so great it is.)
After a long day, I tuck in this little girl:
Exhausted, we begin our favorite game.
We name all the people in Mimi's family.
"Mimi is Baby."
She looks at me, and waits for my part in the game.
I hold her tight. And I say,
"Mine. My baby."
And as I leave her room and close the door behind me, I whisper a thanks.
And I don't really worry about
the things that people say.
I hear One Voice.