It has been a rather difficult week. Handling the three of them and their refusal to listen has been challenging, and we've been dealing with heart issues the whole week long. As we struggle through each day, the voices of well-meaning relatives come back to haunt me: "Why do you want so many kids? Two is enough.", "I want to work, because I need my own life." and "Homeschool for what? Just send to school so that you have time to do your own things."
So in the midst of it all, I keep trying to remind myself of why we do things: Of why we chose to homeschool, of why I chose to stay home. We are constantly being fed the suggestion that children are burdens: they mess up the home, they are expensive to raise, they take up so much time and energy and effort. They make you so so angry half the time. But then that little voice in my heart whispers and reminds me that they are gifts, not burdens. Sometimes that voice gets drowned out: like when they decided that they would grind up a piece of red chalk into powder and sprinkle it all over the floor, when they decided to ignore your instructions for the nth time, and when I've had to opt out of attending something because it's at night and would clash with bedtime. Sometimes its easy to forget, because there are so many sacrifices to be made, so many meals to feed with a fussy toddler who only wants to eat watermelon, so many messes to clean up after.
But while we forget, and while those around us sometimes suggest to us otherwise… they are not burdens. Ask any couple who has struggled with conceiving , any couple who have lost a child, or suffered a miscarriage, and they will tell you that. That children are gifts, gifts to be handled carefully, with care, lest overindulgence spoils them, or neglect ruins them.
So today, I am thankful. Thankful for our three little gifts, gifts that take so much out of us. Thankful for these three walking lessons in learning patience, humility and trusting in God. Thankful that these littles ones teach me so much about unconditional love, and how immeasurably more God's love is for us.
I am thankful for the little moments too, that makes this journey so much brighter and lighter: the time the older two set up a stage by draping blankets on their bunk bed and performed a symphony using a yakult bottle and frying pans, the times they showed love to their brothers, the times they make us laugh with their silly antics. I give thanks for friends who are fellow parents, who understand and listen, and come alongside with us with prayer, and without trying to shove advice at us. I am so thankful for God who gives us strength for each day.
If you are a parent, and finding this parenting journey tough, hang in there. Hug your kids, and know that this journey is long, and winding, but worthwhile.