Children are a gift from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children born in one's youth. Blessed are they whose quivers are full. They will never be shamed contending with foes at the gate. ~Psalm 127:3-5

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Being a Green Mother

Recently, I've been reflecting more than usual on a subject that I often have a very hard time dealing with. *Children.* It is the essence of my life, being a mommy, and yet I feel greatly troubled over it time and again. As each year passes, it seems that I am either pregnant or nursing and have long ago lost the notion that I will ever have my body back to being just mine. There have been posts where I've written about the wonderful aspects of being a mommy and then some where I have written about the horrifying idea of more children, as I feel I can barely take care of the ones I have. But there are also people that tell me I'm doing a wonderful job. And my mom telling me I am the "earth mother." And others telling me my kids are annoying and crazy. And I also hear a lot that more would be a burden I probably really don't want. Inwardly, I am always feeling a great stirring of the winds as I contemplate what it really means personally for me to be a mother and secretly worry where exactly these winds will take me.

One of my favorite novels, Being a Green Mother by Piers Anthony, ends with the main character, Orb taking the roll as Mother Nature. I love this novel not because it's written well (because it's not and actually has way too much sexual innuendo in it) but because it is a good Fantasy Fiction story, complete with dryads, gypsies, dragons and the like. I don't usually indulge in this type of read nor do I believe in any of the creatures or magical ideas written about but I am a sucker for imaginative stories and this one especially was a favorite from long ago. Anyway, this time around reading it, I picked up on a lot of feelings the main character has that I didn't really ever think about while reading before. She gave birth to a daughter and gave her up which was a very hard thing for her to do. For me, that hit close to home as I once pondered giving my oldest daughter up for adoption. As Orb goes through her life, she is constantly met with obstacles she must overcome which often involve taking care of everyone else above herself. By the end of the novel, she is presented with the opportunity- and eventually decides to take- the role as the "Green Mother" or Mother Nature.

As I read the novel this time, I realized that there was a lot Orb had to learn and a lot she had to change about herself to become the person she needed to be for the job as Mother Nature. Even when she took on the role she immediately made a mistake because of her own personal flaws and in order to continue her role properly, she had to learn from that mistake and suffer the consequences for it which involved a sacrifice she never thought she'd make. I thought hard about this as I was reading and applied it to my own life, what being a mother should be for me and how much I allow to change me and make me better in my role. I also thought about my own sacrifices, and consequences for actions I take because I am imperfect. A big part of my thought process steers me toward studying my emotional stability, my coping abilities and the daily battle with myself over small unimportant things like remembering what I missed out on to become a mother, etc. It leads me to berate myself for a lot, pat myself on the back for some and fall to my knees in prayer for strength to continue on at all.

I think about the one thing that really has me worried and contemplative a lot concerning children. *More.* In the book, Mother Nature was not only in charge of the elements but also what happened to everything in nature, most importantly the people. In a way, she was connected to every single person somehow within her being and had to take care of them all. But Orb was not perfect and was not made so even upon assuming her role as Mother Nature. She needed to realize that she would have to change and grow and allow every aspect of her role to be fulfilled. For me, the idea of more is kind of a scary black funnel cloud at this point in my life and is frequently a topic of discussion between myself and my siblings and mom as well as the subject of some of my posts, past and (inevitably) future.

It is easy for me to relate to Orb even if she is fictional because of the truth to the nature of her character. She is an imperfect being chosen for an immensely important role and must allow room for the growth it will prompt. She is forced to exceed any expectations she had ever put on her life to become, in essence, a mother. However, I am led even further in my quest, coming to thoughts about God, something real and- depending on how I try- tangible in so many ways. God is the Father of all the billions of people on the earth, in real life. He is in charge of every single one of His children. I know I must at least try to mirror His role as best as I can with the abilities I have.

"More" for me up to this point has been pretty terrifying. I look at the job I don't feel I do very well and think about stirring yet one more innocent being into the mix. I analyze my reactions to my children when they are misbehaving or just being annoying. I think about how hard it is to be a parent in general. Is it possible for me to do all I need to do in order to be the type of mother who not only meets but exceeds what I have ever expected of myself? This would include changing in so many ways and allowing God to direct my path. More importantly, can I do this for not one, two or three children but four or even more?

I have come to the answer to this question at last, which I think was always in my heart and just had to be "prayed out" a little more so I could recognize it. The answer is yes, I have to.

In order to be a mother in the most complete way, I really feel like I have to be open to every aspect of my role. Some of these aspects include dealing with the people who tell me I shouldn't or can't, perhaps even using the opportunity as a testament to God's love and presence in my life. Then there is the aspect of dealing with my children when they are not behaving which does not mean yelling and screaming but calmly disciplining them the way God might...sort of in a what would Jesus do mentality. Also included is calming my husband's anxieties over the idea of more mouths to feed with the grace and wisdom the Proverbial wife might. And most importantly, it is accepting that God will entrust to me as many children as He wishes, receiving His priceless treasures for the gifts they are for as long as I can call them mine. Basically, it is allowing the vastness of my role to carry me wherever Mother Nature's winds might blow.

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