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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting Your Life Back

Next post will be back on the burn-out topic. Pinky swear.

I mentioned over on my Facebook page today that April 10th is the day that I found out I was expecting our first child.  April 10, 1987. 26 years ago.

My firstborn, Michael Andrew.

Next month, it will be 7 years since I found out I was expecting our youngest. As that first child was graduating from high school, the youngest was already growing inside me, and we didn't even know it yet!!

I love this picture of our Jacob Daniel. He's an outdoors boy at heart!

I know you have heard well meaning people say something like, "Once those kids grow up you can get your life back." Maybe you've even said it to yourself. "As soon as these kids grow up, I can get my life back. I can do some things I want to do." If you haven't said it, have you thought it?

Today I want to talk about my life. See, my life is sort of busy. Actually crazy at times! I have ten kids, two daughters-in-law, and one adorable grandson. I have a husband and I have parents. There is always something going on. Always a birthday, or Christmas, or somebody is sick, or somebody needs new shoes. Somebody is hungry, or thirsty, or tired, or dirty, or mad, or being disobedient.

I could grow to resent the fact that I sound like "Have you...doneyourchores/cleanedyourroom/finishedyourmath/readyourhistory

I could want to give up. I could start wanting my life back. Except...

this is my life.

I have a cousin, who reads this blog, who can tell you straight up that when we were kids, all I ever wanted was to be a Mom. I said it so dadgum many times that she still remembers it, even though we are now in our forties. To me, being called Mama was the stuff of dreams. I was an only child, and I desperately wanted some siblings, or even just one, to play with and have around and stuff.

So I grew up and had them. And they are my life.
Now does that mean that "Dawn has given up who she really is to idolize her children?" On the contrary. I haven't given up anything. God has given me everything.

That child who made his presence known 26 years ago through a little test at the doctor's office has grown to become one of my very best friends in the world. I can say the same about his 22 year old brother; or his 18 year old sister; or any of the rest of the ten. We are tight y'all. And you know why?

Because I have never put some stuff I wanted to do above being their Mama. Have I been selfish at times? Oh my, yes. Have I complained, sometimes bitterly, to my husband about them? Yes, yes, yes!! Have they had me at my wit's end more than once? YES!!
But one thing has not changed for me.

Being called Mama. Most of them have shortened it to Mom at this point, although I still get some Mommy, Momsie, or Mama from time to time. Doesn't matter what they call me. As long as they keep calling me. I talk for hours with my grown sons on the phone. Their wives don't have to tell them to call their Mama. They call me because I am their Mama. I have given these children every part of me...nothing held back.

We laugh, we cry, we fight, we make up. And in the end, I am still here for them.

I love to write; I love to read; I really love to go out with a friend and have lunch or coffee or whatever. And I do those things. But only if it suits what's going on here at home. Because
this is my life. Blogging and reading and mopping and experimenting in the kitchen and scrapbooking and shopping will all be there later. But when the phone rings, or a child comes into my room...it all stops. All that stuff can stop, because it is just stuff. And that stuff is not life!!

I have poured myself  into these children for over 25 years now. And I have loved every minute of it. Even when I hate it, I love it. Even when I don't know what to do, I love it. Even when they are driving me crazy, I love it. Even when I am tired, and angry, and fed up to here(points to eyeballs)...I just can't help but love it. I am living my dream.

It's noisy and dirty and smelly and loud and hurtful and awesome and sad and happy and busy and aggravating and so full of warm fuzzies and hugs and kisses that I just can't help but love it.

So if you wonder if you will ever "get your life back", just stop. Embrace the life you have. Make today special. Love with absolute and utter abandon. Sit down and talk to your children. And keep talking to your children. And one day, they will call you on the phone, and every single time they start to hang up they will say, "I love you" before you get the chance to say it first.

And your heart will melt again. Even after 26 years. Don't waste a minute Mama. Today is so important. Don't put it off until tomorrow, or until you buy some stuff to do with them, or until you get some rest, or until you have more money or a bigger place or you finish decluttering.

I have no life to get back. I am living my life every single day. With every phone call, every text, every hug, every "I love you"...this is my life. And I wouldn't trade it for the world.


  1. I wish that we were able to "like" blog posts! LIKE, LIKE, LIKE!

  2. I haven't ever felt the need to "get my life back" as you say, but others certainly seem to be in a hurry for me to. The other day I got my hair cut and as soon as I said something about how I quit my nursing job, the hairdresser said "Maybe you can do that when the kids are grown." Which is nice, I guess, thinking that far ahead for me, but I plan to continue doing what I do now, minus the presence of my children. What world are people living in, where life is only lived in "careers" and the rest is just trying to get up enough speed to escape the gravity of the home?

    1. Yes! Keep doing what I am already doing...I just told my daughter in law today that I want to start getting the baby one day every other week at least.
      His first birthday is tomorrow. I remember how my mom saved my life by having my little ones fairly often, and I do plan to keep on doing with my grands what I have done with my own babies.
      I didn't keep all these toys and books for nothin'!!

  3. This was for ME today, I love you Dawn. I,too always wanted to JUST, be a mom. Recently with my crazy life, my dad, my youth group, my health, somewhere through the chaos ,Zane had gotten pushed back. We had a heart to heart last night as I explained to him that as crazy as life can get ,HE is more important than my OTHER responsibilities. I've promised him that I will make more of an effort to slow down and JUST BE MAMA!! That's ALL I ever wanted in the first place. :)

    1. You are SUCH a good mama. You have done an awesome job with your kids.

  4. Thank you so much for your beautiful words of wisdom! They touched my heart and encouraged me to realize that focusing on my family is not a wasted life, it is my first, and most important priority. You are absolutely right, being a Mom is my life! Thanks again for the wonderful post!

    1. Oh it is definitely not wasted!!You're doing the most important work a woman can do!!

  5. Loved this! Thanks for sharing. I love being mom/grammy

  6. I love reading your post, you are such an encourager. "And one day, they will call you on the phone, and every single time they start to hang up they will say, "I love you" before you get the chance to say it first." you are so right, I look forward to the calls we get from our boys. Their presence may be absent but their love abounds much through each phone call and in our hearts. Thank you my friend. :) gina

  7. I feel the same way. I am so glad I found your blog. :)

  8. One Faithful Mom just keep your eyes on Jesus. Learn to stay in prayer and keep the good fight.

    I was reading the post you made a few days ago. You didn't point the finger at anyone in your church. Which is good.

    It's hard to have things happen to us in the Church we are apart of. Sometimes it's hard to see why it's happening.

    When we leave one Church for another sometimes it's for our own Spiritual Growth. If we remain in Christ he will reveal these things as we grow in his word.


  9. Reminds me of a passage from Robinson Crusoe that impacted my life greatly...

    "I had now brought my State of Life to be much easier in it self than it was at first, and much easier to my mind, as well as to my body. I frequently sat down to my meat with Thankfulness, and admired the hand of God's Providence, which had thus spread my table in the wilderness. I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side; and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them: because they see and covet something which He has not given them: All our discontents about what we want, appeared to me, to spring from the want of thankfulness."

    ~Robinson Crusoe~


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