Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Thoughts On The Fourth

I need to update my profile, I see.

Little #4 is 1 month old today! She is a joy and a delight, and pleasant indeed.

I'm still not used to being the mother of four girls. Four! It makes my head spin each time I say or think it. You wouldn't think it would be that different than three, but somehow it really is.

First, I allowed Big Sister to turn 8 last week. I might not have been so accommodating had I not a few more little ones to enjoy. :) Don't get me wrong; I enjoy having an 8-year-old immensely, but it would be more bittersweet if I didn't have this precious baby and the others to fill my arms.

I perceive The Fourth differently than I did The First at this stage. That could have several reasons, but I am especially aware that tomorrow she will be turning 8 herself. I know how swiftly things pass! We had Big Sister's joint-birthday party this last Saturday, and it was the first time Baby would be at a gathering of several family members. At the last minute I pawed through the "0-3 mo" box of clothes, searching for something not pajama-like or mismatched (or being worn by a doll). It occurred to me that once upon a time I'd have had a selection of brand-new outfits to choose from, and would have thought far ahead of what exactly to dress her in. Slight but relevant rabbit trail: Years ago I knew a woman with several children. For a very special occasion she had her hair done - professionally trimmed, colored, and styled. She looked so beautiful! They were typically on a very tight - too tight - budget, so this was really a one-time thing. It pained me in some ways... I looked forward to having children, but would I have to give up certain luxuries (not that I'd ever had my hair professionally colored anyway, but..), would I become frumpy and drab as a matter of sacrifice? This thought coalesced with the way I haphazardly rummaged for a baby outfit. It's not a matter of boredom, of not valuing this baby as much as I did the first. It's not a matter of 'having to sacrifice' my former wardrobe or hairstyle. No, on the contrary. I'm on the inside, now. I know the brevity of these days, this time. I value it too much to be sidetracked by mere trifles! Who cares if what she is dressed in is new (or whether she is dressed at all)?! There are her eyes to smile into. How could I spend a half-hour fixing my hair just right when I could spend it caressing her soft hair? My hair will (hopefully!) still be here long after she is not content to doze in my arms.

There is also the irony of myself mothering four daughters. *I* never had a sister. I always wanted one (at least). But I know nothing, experientially, of sisters. In fact, my mother was in no way very feminine or domestic at all. Of course, she was handicapped, but even before that she aspired to nothing remotely connected to homemaking. As a divorcee she told me once how terribly it angered her to hear a man refer to "the wife." As a child I thought it sounded quaint but sweet. She was not a born-again Christian, did not clean, did 'subsistence cooking' only, didn't bake or can or grow a garden and most certainly disliked the idea of a wife being her husband's helpmeet. You might say my 'early education' in such things was lacking. Or nonexistent.

So what is God thinking, making me the mother of FOUR of His daughters? I must say, I'm at least grateful that I am aware of my obvious lack. Sometimes I'm not. Aware, that is.

It's tapping my faith and blessing me in ways I never really imagined.


MamaJ said...

I love your "slight but relevant rabbit trails". Guess what?? We're home!!! Now I can catch up on your posts.

Meghann said...

I agree whole heartedly, here with my two girls / two boys. Great post!!