Scrolling down my Facebook page, I chuckled at photos of cute kids. Nodded my head at inspirational quotes. “Liked” happy announcements.
I paused at my friend’s collage honoring her daughter’s birthday. There she is at eight months old, perched in a high chair, a huge grin lights up her face. At eight years old, the backdrop has changed but her face still beams. As a young lady of 18, she has changed and matured. She’s still smiling.
My friend narrated her collage with stories about her third child. In the midst is the mention of her daughter’s time of birth.
You know, I can’t make photo collages like my friend and I’m okay with that. I generally don’t get caught in the game of comparisons that have many people blaming Facebook rather than themselves.
But. Um. I don’t really remember what time my kids were born. I mean I can give you an idea of the time of day (morning and evening, respectively), but the exact time. Not really. Well, not at all.
To make this motherhood amnesia worse, my mom remembers what time I was born!
Oh boy. What kind of deficient, neglectful, forgetful matriarch am I? The feelings of inadequacy almost send me scurrying to find my boys’ birth certificates so I can remind myself of this Important Fact that all good mothers, I’m convinced, have committed to memory. Almost. But I don’t go searching because I sort of suspect I might not find the Important Documents. And I don’t think I can handle the fact that I may have misplaced this very Important Document.
And if you don’t mind, please don’t ask me how long they were when they were born. Okay? Thanks.
I remember the important things. The things that don’t have to do with the numbers. The days they were born are etched in my mind. The moment I held my oldest son for the first time and gazed at him, a little bit slimy, red scrunchy face, dark hair, ten fingers, ten toes, and a birthmark on his right leg. Or left. One of them, anyway. That moment I became a Mom. I remember that.
I can see my boys’ faces when I close my eyes. The way their eyes crinkle when they laugh. My older son’s eyes are hazel blue, like mine. My younger son’s are a brighter shade of blue.
The shape of their bodies is familiar. Oldest is long, all legs and big feet. Youngest is lanky for his age, but with a long torso like mine. He wears man-sized shoes on his nearly 10-year-old feet. He will be altitudinous like his brother, I think. (Don’t you just love online thesauruses?)
I know my boys. How my oldest son would always rather do the opposite of what I tell him to do even if he knows I am using reverse psychology just to get him to do what I want. He’s smart and creative. But does things his way. No matter what anyone else wants.
My youngest is a pleaser and rule follower, a bit like me. He’s a little bit shy until he feels comfortable. Then he is funny and sarcastic. And when he says something humorous his eyebrow raises just a little bit as his eyes twinkle.
My older son will eat just about anything. Except tomatoes. My younger son eats lots of things as long as it isn’t salad. They both love spicy food.
I feel a little bit bad that I can’t remember what time they were born. I think I’ve got the important stuff covered. I remember their birthdays. And I almost always have the right number of candles for their cakes.
I love them fiercely. Which gets me thinking about how God is, well, God. But he also is our Father. And the way I love my kids is just a shadow of the way God loves me, loves us.
He loved us before we were born.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5
He knew us. He made us who we are. It took me awhile, decades really, to figure out that God doesn’t want a bunch of robots serving him. He made us all unique for a reason. I used to try to be like other people. People who I thought were holier or more spiritual because they did their faith thing the “right way.” So I always felt I wasn’t quite good enough.
But just like I learned in college, some people are made to be accountants and deal with numbers and some people (namely me) are not. Our gifts and talents, those things that make our heart sing when we do them, are the things that God gave us to do.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16
I adore my kids. I am in awe that God loves me—and you–even more. And I’m pretty sure he remembers what time I was born.