Friday, August 8, 2008

Lest We Forget...

I was talking to a lady who was the same age as I am while I was getting my pedicure a few weeks ago, and she asked about my children, since Abby and Jack were both with me. I told her that I had six children, which came as a shock to her, and the others. She proceeded to tell me that she didn't have any children, and never wanted any. It just wasn't in her plans she said. "I'm too selfish, and they take too much time", she said. Besides, I have dogs, and I like them much better. I have been thinking a lot about this lady for some reason this week. And I feel so sorry for her. She really doesn't know what she is missing.

When I was a teenager, being a mom was the farthest thing from my mind. My friends used to talk about babysitting jobs they had, and how they couldn't wait to have kids of their own. I thought they were crazy. I wanted to do so many things that didn't involve marriage or children. I wanted a career, and to travel, and to experience life before any of that responsibility came along. I had grand dreams of what I wanted my life to be like, and it didn't involve runny noses, dirty diapers, or screaming tantrums.

Then, when I was 19, I met the love of my life. Boy, how things can change! Not only did Todd want children--he wanted LOTS of children! He came from a large family, and wanted a large family of his own. When I met his family, and spent time with them, my attitude started to change a little. Then, when I started working in an infant room at a daycare center, which was one of the only jobs I could find that I didn't have to work on Sunday, I started to change A LOT! I bonded with those babies. The mother in me started to come out, and come out strong. Not only that, but seeing those moms drop off their babies and then go to work every day broke my heart. I was the one who spent time with them all day, and got to love and kiss them, and soothe them as they cried. When I was pregnant with Emie, I knew that I wanted to stay at home and have every minute with her all to myself. The career that I had dreamed of turned out to be hugely different than what I had envisioned!

Now, as I sit here again, too early in the morning, with a baby nursing, and trying to type with one hand, I think of what makes me so different from this woman that I met. I thought of a poem that my mom sent me years ago, when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, and whether I was too young to get married, and start this crazy journey that I have been on for the last 15 years. She wrote: "I don't know whether Todd will be your partner for life or eternity, or whether you'll ever finish school or accomplish many of the plans you have for yourself or that I have for you. But this one thing I do know--You'll love your kids. You'll give to them of yourself and you'll be proud of them. That is your destiny, and it begins now. Oh how much I wish and pray for your happiness. I love you, Mom." Included with that letter was this poem, that I have in my room as a constant reminder.

Lest We Forget

She came tonight as I sat alone,
the girl that I used to be...
And she gazed at me with earnest eye,
and questioned reproachfully.
Have you forgotten the many plans,
and hopes that I had for you?
The great career, the splendid fame,
all of the wonderful things to do?
Where is the mansion of stately height,
with all of its gardens rare?
The silken robes that I dreamed for you,
and the jewels in your hair?
And as she spoke, I was very sad,
for I wanted her to be pleased with me.
This slender girl, from my shadowy past,
the girl that I used to be.

So gently arising, I took her hand,
and guided her up the stair.
Where peacefully sleeping, my babies lay,
innocent, sweet and fair.
And told her that these are my only gems,
and precious they are to me.
The silken robe is my motherhood,
of costly simplicity.
And my mansion of stately height is love,
and the only career I know,
Is serving each day in these sheltering walls,
for my dear ones who come and go.
And as I spoke to my shadowy guest,
she smiled through her tears at me.
And I saw that the woman I have become,
pleased the girl that I used to be.


Kathy P said...

I love that poem! thanks for the reminder! Sometimes it is so hard to keep perspective during the chaos that comes with a large family. But, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Debbie Allen said...

Tami you are an awesome mom! Being a good mom takes time and effort. When that woman is old she will have nothing. You will have a husband, children and family that love you. Life is journey you want to spend with those you love. Keep up the good work.

The Jarvis Family said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the poem. It touched my heart.

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