Adam, age 5
In the book of Samuel in the Old Testament, there is a story of a man named Uzzah who was helping to transport the Ark of the Covenant to the City of David. In the moment when the ark was to be placed on the threshing floor of Nachon, the oxen shook the ark. And in that moment, Uzzah, believing, I suppose, that his help was needed,
reached out to steady the ark.
If you know your Old T, you know that our friend Uzzah
realized a moment too late that when God says don't touch the ark, he means it.
I believe the word was "smote".
The point is, God didn't need Uzzah's help.
It was not Uzzah's job to steady the ark.
I tell this story, only so that I can tell you another story. Well, two, actually.
As anyone who has been pregnant can attest, once the world knows you are pregnant, somehow everyone from the obstetrician to the lady at the cell phone kiosk in the mall seems to own some part of your experience. Never was this more true than when I became pregnant with Adam. My decision to have a natural, non-surgical birth after my first-born's cesarean was quite the fodder for raised eyebrows. But when it became public knowledge that we were going to have a homebirth, somehow it was like there was a welcome mat draped atop my bulging bump that said,
"Please, express any opinion you have about homebirth,
and make sure it is peppered with judgement about my mental well being
and my capacity to make safe choices regarding my child."
After each of my successive homebirths, the dissenting voices receded into their opinion caves. Oh, I still would hear about them from time to time, (the ol' telephone game) just not directly.
I have gotten used to being a bit counter-culture.
We don't circumcise, and we co-sleep, but those are things the world at large doesn't see.
I also nurse my children, modestly but openly,
and for at least two years a'piece.
You want to get a dirty look from a 50 year old woman
at your local mid-priced eatery,
nurse a toddler.
So far, none of my kids has had bottle rot,
an intense attachment to an object or, surprisingly,
an obsession with breasts. Not yet anyway.
It has been a while since I have had anyone step right up and challenge my parenting choices outside of a pediatrician here and there. This week, though, I was reminded about how it feels to have your mother-heart called into question. Someone we know learned that we would be homeschooling, and passionately opposing my choice, sought me out to let me know.
In the few days since,
I have milled,
about it all.
Here is what I have come to:
I love it that sometimes in life we get the opportunity to reconfirm to ourselves what we know to be true.
I am grateful that I have been given the blessing of these five sweet lives to shepherd,
and that God has trusted me to do all that I can to lead them
in a way that teaches them that they are His.
I am blessed that I live in a land that allows me to decide, based on the uniqueness
of each sweet, individual spirit, how to best lead my small ones
on the path to a lifetime of joyful learning.
I am confident in my choices thus far, and I know that if, at some point in the future,
they need to change, I can do that confidently, too.
My husband loves, trusts and supports me
(was there any doubt? Never, but still, after 16 years, it's nice to have reminders).
I am surrounded by others who trust and support me, too.
Sometimes there are arks that don't need to be steadied.