It had been a long day. I had woken up at 5:15 am feeling sick, got right to work mothering at 6:10 as David had a morning meeting, and continued working throughout the day. We had a fun day, but it was now 6:45 pm, David was still at work thanks to an evening meeting, and Zoe was getting progressively crankier and crankier—her fatigue and my fatigue locked in a battle.
Is it bedtime yet? I wondered wearily. I looked up at the clock and sighed. 45 more minutes…
In that sigh, my heart sank.
Though I know it’s natural to feel tired, I feel guilty every time that I catch myself wishing time away.
I didn’t become a mom for nap time and bed time; I became a mom for the waking moments, when I get to watch Zoe develop and grow and explore. I didn’t become a mom to have time to myself; I became a mom to give of myself.
When I told my boss I was not coming back to work full time, she said, “The way this baby found her way into your family was such a miracle. I’m glad you’re not wasting the miracle.” I’ve thought often of this as I’ve watched my sweet baby grow faster than I could have ever imagined. This IS a miracle. Every moment. And our recent failed adoption reminds me of just how miraculous it is for a mother to give up the privilege of parenting so that her child can have a better life. It defies logic. It defies the cry of a mother’s heart. It is a miracle—a heartbreaking and perplexing and yet ultimately beautiful miracle when God takes a child who needs a family and places it into the arms of a family who need that child.
It was now 7:00. My sweet little one was relaxing on my lap and drinking her bottle as I thought through all this, chastising myself for my lack of discipline and energy and appreciation for our miracle and my general suckiness as a mom. (You know, the loving things you say to yourself that really spur you on to greatness.)
In the midst of my motivational inner monologue, I happened to glance outside and realized that the scenery looked different than our usual 7:00 darkness. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, a beautiful sunset was happening outside our window.
It’s a shame we’ll miss that sunset, I thought.
And then it hit me.
Why do we have to miss it?
Just because I set an arbitrary bedtime—just because we have a routine—just because I planned on a 7:30 bedtime—doesn’t mean that we had to follow through.
A few weeks ago I had heard a sermon where Andy Stanley challenged us to ask ourselves the question “what would an extraordinary person do?” in our ordinary circumstances.
As the sunset gleamed outside, I asked myself what an extraordinary mom, one who doesn’t want herself or her child to miss a miracle, one who doesn’t want to end their day in fatigue and discouragement, would do.
And just like that, Zoe was done with her bottle. I looked her in the eye and said “baby, do you want to go outside?”
She ran to the door, confused and excited, following at my heels as I grabbed my shoes and keys.
We stepped outside and I walked us to a place where we could see the sunset.
And as we looked up at the sky and pointed to squirrels and birds and picked flowers and waved to each car as it went by, I realized that the only people missing the miracle tonight were the people who didn’t look out their car windows to see the loving little girl waving to them and the people whose hands gripped the wheel too tightly to wave back.
Tonight, I wasn’t one of them.
Thank you, Lord.
(Want more? This song.)