Written by: Michelle Cross
Growing up, I was a (mostly) quiet child. I’m an introvert, which means I recharge my internal batteries with lots of introspection and alone time. I spent many hours reading and daydreaming, and I still would, if I had my druthers. Here’s the catch, though. Somehow… amazingly, blessedly, and oh so luckily… I am a mother of five boys. Five! boys. Who are high energy, unceasingly curious, questioning, loud, boisterous, joyful, indignant, exuberant and needy. Also, we chose to homeschool.
Does that make sense? My long-time friends and family all marvel at my life now! People who knew me in my younger days as a single, working gal claim I used to say I would never have children. I truly don’t recall ever feeling that way! But, I do remember always sort of expecting that someday I’d have your more typical two children, MAYBE three (whoa, now) and my future husband and I would have that balanced life of school, kids’ activities, and free time for the adults somewhere in there, too. Things sure do change.
I often joke in social circles that I am SO not equipped for this job of raising five boys. Five precious, complex, beautiful and life-filled boys who, I am sure, are all destined for Great Things. Whose questions overlap one another at a rate of 80 q/h, whose demand for attention, snacks, bathroom help, nursing, refereeing etc. never, ever take a ten minute break. Ever. Really. It seems I’m always on the verge of overwhelm, always pining for a pee break, a quiet cup, a chance to breathe between answers.
I don’t really mean it, though, about not being the right one for this job. What I’ve come to realize is that He not only gave me these boys to raise for His glory and for great purpose but He also – in His infinite wisdom (I like that part) – gave ME to THEM. That, my friends, is a big idea! That I may fall and fail and do things I clench in regret over at night when I review my day, but God still knows there is something in me that these boys need. He knows me intimately, after all! So. I’m going to stop beating myself up about all the areas in which I still need refining, and instead enjoy the PROCESS. And keep on, keepin’ on.
This quote came across my screen recently, while I was in the midst of writing this piece. Serendipity… wonder where that comes from? Hm.
“Some people may wrongly assume that raising our kids is all about the kids growing up. It’s not. It’s about us using these challenging times to grow up ourselves. As we watch our kids grow into the people God designed them to be, we are also participating in our own transformation. God uses parenting to shape and mold us.” –Tricia Goyer, Blue Like Play Dough
We talk about holding the bar high for our children. Expect good things from them and they will rise to the challenge. The golden ticket: God pursued me even when I wouldn’t yet listen, when I wasn’t following any rules or paying Him any mind. He didn’t wait until I was perfect, or even good. The same with parenting – I’m good enough to be given this job, and He is good enough that I am trying to fill the awesome job description all the way. I’m still growing up, right alongside these boys, and I am trying, oh so hard with every long day, to make my boys proud by being an example of a faulty human who strives for the divine. To also make my Heavenly Father proud of me. Because the gifts He has given my husband and me are perfect as He created them. I am more grateful than language has words for, that God’s plan for me was more wonderful than I could have imagined.
Michelle Cross is a book-loving, tea-drinking, solace-seeking mama, who lives in Windsor, ON. Married blissfully for almost thirteen years to her tall-and-handsome husband Ian, Michelle homeschools their five lively boys and tries to embrace chaos yet find quiet moments in every day.