Sunday, May 13, 2012

What  I  Didn’t  Know  |  Rhonda  Shrock

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  What  I   Didn't  Know  by  Rhonda  Shrock
  I  always  knew  I  wanted  to  be  a  mother.   As  a  girl,  I  played  house  with  my   dollies,  shushing  them  when  they  cried  and  kissing  their  plastic  heads.
  Looking  back  at  that  girl,  I  realize  now  that  there  was  a  lot  she  didn't  know.    This  morning  over  my  fresh-­‐ground  coffee,  this  mother  of  22-­‐1/2  years   scratched  out  a  list  of  10  things  she  didn't  know  then  that  she  knows  now.
  1.   I  didn't  know  -­‐  how  could  I?  -­‐  just  how  completely  a  tiny,  helpless  scrap   of  humanity  can  capture  the  heart  and  hold  it  forever.   From  that  first   whooshing  heartbeat  and  the  first  butterfly  brushes,  a  mother's  heart  is  never  again   her  own.   For  all  eternity,  it  enlarges,  walking  and  pulsing  and  moving  outside   of  her  body;  in  my  case,  in  the  shape  of  a  blue-­‐eyed  boy  with  rooster  tails.    Times  four.
  2.   I  didn't  know  that  the  size  of  a  mother's  heart  is  always  changing,   stretching  to  embrace  each  new  baby  that  comes,  then  growing  again  to  love  their   friends  and  then  their  own  families.
  3.   I  never  knew,  as  I  changed  my  dolly's  dress,  how  many  reasons  there   are  to  worry  when  you're  a  mama.     Didn't  know  about  the  nighttime   vigils.   Didn't  know  the  anxiety  of  separation,  the  terror  that  floods  when  you   turn  around  in  the  grocery  store  and  they're  gone.   Didn't  know  about  the   fear  of  the  pond  next  door  or  the  concern  that  pays  for  swimming  lessons.    Didn't  know  the  thousand-­‐and-­‐one  reasons  that  keep  a  mother  awake,   whispering  prayers  on  her  pillow  in  the  dark.
  4.   No  one  told  me  that  loving  so  much  means  that  you  will  hurt  hard  and   keen;   that  what  pains  your  child  hurts  you  even  worse.   I  didn't   know  then  that  a  playground  taunt  travels  through  that  smaller  heart  and  lands   square  in  yours,  stinging  and  burning  like  fire.   I  didn't  know  that   motherhood  makes  lionesses  of  us  all  and  that  there'd  be  days  I'd  have  to  bite  my   tongue  and  pray  to  not  sin.
  5.   I  didn't  know  how  exhausting  it  is,  being  a  mother.   I  didn't   know  that  it  takes  everything  you've  got  and  then  some.   Didn't  know  the   bone-­‐deep  exhaustion;  how  it  strips  you  bare  and  shows  how  selfish  you  can  be,  but,   too,  that  you  have  more  strength  than  you  know.
  6.   I  didn't  know,  playing  house,  how  much  joy  mothers  feel;  joy  so   big  that  it  makes  up  for  the  pain.   Just  looking  at  those  eyes  and  the  curve  of   the  cheek  can  make  you  so  happy  it  hurts.   Watching  them  grow  and  find  their   talent  and  win  at  something...all  the  money  in  the  world  can  never  buy  that  kind  of   happiness.
  7.   I  didn't  know  how  making  babies  and  raising  them,  how  it  binds  you  to   their  father.   I  didn't  know  the  intimacy  you  feel  when  your  eyes  meet   above  those  tousled  heads,  and  your  smiles  say,  "Just  look  at  what  we've  done."
  8.   That  girl  in  the  homemade  dress,  she  didn't  know  that  letting  go  is  one   of  the  hardest  things  a  grown-­‐up  mama  will  ever  do.   Rocking  those   babies  in  that  small  rocking  chair,  she  didn't  really  know  that  babies  grow  up  and   walk  away  and  there  goes  your  heart,  out  into  the  big,  wide  world.   No  one   told  her  that  part.
  9.   I  had  no  idea  how  rewarding  it  is,  being  a  mother.   How  the   happiness  that  comes  from  boy  kisses  and  awkward  hugs  can't  be  bought  or  sold.    How  proud  you  feel  when  you  see  what  they're  growing  up  to  be  and  that  all   the  planting  and  pruning  and  watering  and  feeding  is  finally  making  fruit!
  10.   I  didn't  know  how  much  my  babies  would  enrich  my  spiritual  life  or   how  they  would  change  the  way  I  pray.   I  didn't  realize  they  would  lead   me  to  a  deeper  dependence  on  the  Heavenly  Father  or  how  I  much  I  would  need  His   wisdom  to  raise  them  aright.
  These  are  things  I  didn't  know  before  I  was  a  mother.   But  I  know  them  now.    Oh,  how  I  know  them  now!   And  I’d  do  it  all  again.  
  Rhonda  Schrock  lives  in  Northern  Indiana  with  her  husband  and  4  sons,  ages  22,   18,  13,  and  5.  By  day,  she  is  a  telecommuting  medical  transcriptionist.  In  the  early   morning  hours,  she  flees  to  a  local  coffee  shop  where  she  pens  “Grounds  for   Insanity,”  a  weekly  column  that  appears  in  The  Goshen  News.  She  is  an  occasional   guest  columnist  in  The  Hutch  News.   She’s  also  blogged  professionally  for  her   son’s  school  of  choice,  Bethel  College,  in  addition  to  humor  and  parenting  blogs,  and   maintains  her  personal  blog,  “The  Natives  are  Getting  Restless.”  She  is  a  writer  and  editor   for  the  magazine,  "Cooking  &  Such:   Adventures  in  Plain  Living."    She  survives  and  thrives  on  prayer,  mochas,  and  books.   
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