Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"When we're done"

One of the sweetest things about having almost-4-year-old twins is listening to their prayers. No matter how crabby or defiant they have been during the day, no matter how much they fought two minutes earlier over whose turn it is to go first, the sincerity of their prayers is humbling. It's also a bit amusing sometimes, as they go on and on, "And thank yous for our pretty light, and ours lovely house and ours lovely bed, and thank yous that we get to wake up in the morning and have breakfast and thank you that we can play with roly-polys..."

Last week, just before prayers we sang "I Am a Child of God," both girls' favorite song (you can listen to it here, if you like, with some bonus ASL). With the message of the song in her heart, Sarah's prayer included the phrase, "And thank you we get to live with you again when we're done."

Something about the way she said that phrase humbled me. I really like the idea that we will return to God when we're done with the work He's given us here on earth and when we've learned what we need to.

As a mother, I often feel my work is never done. My delicious dinner laid out on a table in a clean kitchen will be eaten and forgotten the next day. The kitchen I spent an hour cleaning yesterday is once again overflowing with mess. The floor I mopped last week is already sticky in some places and my children continue to wear clothes and to soil them, causing that pile of laundry to grow ever higher. I'm never done reading to the kids, for tomorrow they'll be another book to explore. I teach the same principles of respect, kindness, and responsibility over and over ("Look, your basket is right here! Don't you think it would be just as easy to put your dirty clothes inside it rather than on the floor next to it?"). I clean up the same kinds of spills, sweep the same floors, wipe the same walls, scrub the same toilets, and weed the same patch of flowerbed. Is it any wonder that I like the thought that someday my work will finally be DONE?

On a sidenote, a mom with 8 kids further along in life than me once called sewing her "undoable." She suggested that every mom needed a hobby or something to accomplish that couldn't be undone. For her, sewing was a project that could be completed, enjoyed, and not repeated (at least in the same way) the next day. I used to sew and remember her words. Now, I get my "undoable" satisfaction by finishing a book, designing scrapbook elements, or completing a digital scrapbook page.

"Done," of course, has a lot of different meanings in the world today. "So, are you done?" is a question often asked after a new baby arrives, and really, it's such an inadequate way to describe the decision that a family is complete. Is a mother who just had her last baby really done? Hasn't she just begun to raise that child? I do suppose that, in a way, having a child is an "undoable" -- something exciting and difficult accomplished, a new life begun, a family that will never be the same again.

I am often asked if I'm done having kids, and when I answer negatively, the other question is how many we want to have. Honestly, I don't know. I just know they aren't all here yet. I feel that having and raising these children is something I promised God I would do with my life, and I know our family is not yet complete. I think we'll probably have a lot more before they are all here, and when we built our dream house 2 years ago, we designed and built it with a super-size family in mind. So we'll keep having them until we're DONE!

6 comments:

3in3mom said...

I get that question (are you done) a lot as well. It kinda drives me nuts. It took a lot for us to get these three here. . .right now we're in this stage and soon another, but for now we're doing this . . . wish others'd understand that really DONE is between us and the Lord. I admire you for all you do to raise your sweet family. Whenever it gets hard I think---Christina is doing it and even more. . .

K said...

Awesome post.

April J. said...

when I read "undoable" I took it as "can't be done" rather than "not to be undone" I thought it was cool to label something difficult knowing it can be accomplished. I also think I will remember your little girl's prayers to be grateful to return to Him when we are don. Love it!

Nickie said...

It's "done" used when talking about cooking? (in regard to the adults, not the twins)
Thanks for all you comments tonight.

Aislinn said...

Great post, Christina! It's nice to reflect on these things sometimes when it's so easy to get caught up in the day to day work. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. The prayer was precious, too.

Things that last said...

I loved this post! I always get asked if we're 'through'. And I laugh and ask, 'you mean, me and my husband? He's had a lot of stress, but I think he's hanging in there!' Of course, I know they're asking about family size. :D We only have a two bedroom house and number six on the way, so I'm sure people think we're insane. But my husband grew up poor, with 11 people in two rooms so I just tell them that he thinks we have lots of room. (Of course, I don't share that I grew up one of four children in a house with 8 bedrooms....)

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