Monday, September 20, 2010

The greatest right of women

    I was busy in the kitchen when I heard a little skirmish behind me.  “It is my baby; she can’t have it,” my 7 year old daughter shouted.  “You need to share!” her 12 year old sister answered just as loudly.  It is not unusual for my two older girls to be disagreeing about something so I sighed deeply and turned around slowly to help end the fight when, to my surprise, I found that, for the first time, my one year old was involved in the rivalry.  The baby stood clutching her sister’s doll tightly in her little dimpled hand and pulling as hard as she could to keep the doll’s owner from re-claiming the toy.  My oldest daughter had come to her aid but my middle daughter would not relent- she was not going to share her baby doll (although for her baby sister she is usually willing to do anything).  I have to admit the whole thing amused me.  I smiled as I noticed how fiercely each of my girls was fighting for that old plastic baby doll dressed in drooping purple pants with her painted face fading and her body scribbled on in several places.   I sided with the older and younger of the girls and insisted that my middle daughter must share her toys.  The fight was over in a matter of minutes but after the incident was long forgotten by the girls, I found myself thinking about it, and probably analyzing it way too much.  It occurred to me how interesting it was that the baby’s first “fight” was over a baby doll and that she was quite adamant, even without any real language skills, that she would have that baby.  I found myself wondering if it meant anything that it was a baby doll she was fighting for.  That though she herself is still almost completely dependent on me, her mother, for everything- still nursing, still in diapers, still sleeping in a crib- already she wants to “pretend” to be a mother.   She is drawn so often to her sister’s dolls, toddling over and over into the big girls’ room and straight to the doll crib to retrieve a baby passing by the books, craft supplies, and all sorts of other interesting things along the way without even a passing glance.  She loves to hug the dolls and push them around the house in the little doll stroller.  My seven year old, who all the dolls belong to, is as attached to them as her sister, hence the fighting.  The desire to be a mother is so strong and so much a part of being female that here it is present in my little girls before they can even understand what it means.  God created women to be nurturers, to be caretakers, to be mothers.  It is what we desire, what we crave, what we prepare for even when we are too little to even dream of achieving it.  I can relate in so many ways, to my daughters’ desires to have that baby doll because though I am often overwhelmed with the chaos of raising 5 children I find myself thinking about having another baby all the time.  I dream about having another child.  I look longingly at pregnant women in the store and miss having a big round belly, though my own pregnancies were anything but fun, full of anxiety, sleepless nights, and discomforts. 
    My mind knows that God wants me to concentrate my energies right now on caring for the children He has blessed me with, not preparing to welcome another child.   My mind understands that the timing is not right to expand our family.  My mind fully grasps that my life is very full and it would be irresponsible to add another baby right now.  But my heart… my heart always seems to be ready for more.  My heart seems to scream at times for another baby.  It is a part of being a woman.  I have shared my desires with many a friend only to find that whatever chapter they themselves are in in life, they understand.  They, too, have felt the pull of their heart strings to bring forth life once again, to hold a tiny newborn in their arms again, to nurture and care for another child.  It may not be a practical desire, it may not even be possible but the desire is still there at times and still very real. 
    When my oldest child was still an only child I came across a quote that touched me so much I put it in her baby album.  “Of all the rights of women, the greatest is to be a mother,” ~Lin Yutang.  I would add that motherhood is not only our greatest right but also our greatest blessing.  It is, at least for me, the best way to serve God.  The best way to fulfill my calling in life.  As Catholics, Tim and I are always open to life and have ultimately put the size of our family in God’s hands.  Should He ever reveal to us that the time is right for another baby, my heart will be ready and waiting….

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