Enough. Such a tough word to conjure up as a woman, especially when it comes to motherhood. Yet, when I put my identity into being a mom, then the pressure of having kids and the message that I’m not enough is an empty pit that I’ll never fill unless it happens. I’m enough with or without kids because my identity is in Christ, not in being a mom. As tough and wonderful as motherhood is, I need to root myself into something that will never change. Besides, fostering to adopt was what we were preparing to do regardless of the outcome.
As of last year at this time, I was doubting – no – I settled on the idea of never having kids of my own. I seriously doubted. Why would I be gifted with a child? What makes me so special? God doesn’t owe me anything, and that’s okay. Those were the conversations I mustered out as John and I continued to go to Foster classes. Finally, I said to John on our way home from our last class, “You know what? I’m okay with the idea of not having children of my own. If we foster or even adopt, that’s enough.” Yet, after over two years of praying for a child, God worked a miracle – and gave us Zebedee.
Writing in the gaps of life is how it goes these days. It seems like years ago when sitting on the couch for more than an hour by myself was something I did…quite often actually….maybe more than the average person. Motherhood is so much more difficult than I ever anticipated, and it’s also more wonderful than I ever imagined. What did I even do before having this baby? That’s where I’m at today – I toggle back to the days of what used to be – but I don’t stay there too long. As Zadie Smith once said,
The past is always tense, the future, perfect.
The Pandemic of 2020 has slain many peoples’ jobs, plans, goals, homes, and dreams. COVID-19 has directly affected my husband and I for 6 months; it brought both of us home to work in March, and the school year abruptly came to a halt with the hope that we would continue throughout the Spring and into Summer break. Events as planned occasionally happened – but mostly on virtual platforms or by driving by and honking near homes. I know a lot of people feel salty about the way the school year ended; it was the last year I planned to be in school teaching until the baby was due, and then I would stay at home for a year. However, schools are mostly going virtual (unless it’s a private school), and the door has closed many parents (including myself) and kids into their homes to study. This is one thing I lament: Education, teaching, and learning as we knew it are rapidly changing.
On the bright side, this pandemic could bring a new curriculum to the short-sided one that has been taught in schools for centuries. The curriculum could be adjusted to focus on people of color and the disadvantages they have been enslaved to since the founding of America. And this is not only for the History books – but all subjects could incorporate more authors who are from the Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities that are representative of all people instead of the majority of our authors and heroes that we teach being white.
I don’t exactly know what is next for me. But I do know that I want to be in solidarity with people of color, which was not where I was before the pandemic. Whether I am tutoring or mentoring African Americans in High School to prepare them for college, I’m learning so much about the amazing organizations and programs that Madison already has in place for this type of work. As David Swanson, author of Re-discipling The White Church, states,
….More often than not, white churches will not need to start new programs to effectively address racial injustice….there are organizations advocating for criminal justice reform, human immigration policies, and changes to how general education is funded,
However, there is one issue – my pride. Dreaming is a natural human desire of the heart, and it is good to dream. There’s a sense of having purpose with dreams. Yet, my desires and pride can also be amongst the shadows of my dreams. Am I deceived? Are my dreams for others, for extending God’s kingdom on this earth, or are they in vain?
This whole questioning of ‘who am I to do anything supportive of God’s kingdom’ has been coined by many influential leaders as Imposter Syndrome. This is usually when one feels they are not fit for a certain position or role – paid or unpaid. Like being a mom…me? Even my family has shared how they never thought they would see me being a mom! Believe me, I know. But, I’m also learning to push back a little. Zebedee was planned and prayed about for years! Experiencing something, of course, is a lot different than praying for that thing to come. There are days when I feel like a fake, but when I recognize that I am here and he is here for a purpose, I can relax and mother without anxiety…the kind that is NOT from sleep deprivation. The question of who am I to do anything special is, as Pastor Steph states, actually some ‘weird twisted sense of pride.’
Pride. When it comes to dreaming up of things to do and be, I top the list of:
The Pride Of Life: Nicole
To NOT do something I am qualified and capable of doing because I’m just not that special is difficult to discern, though. How I know that I’m qualified is a different question. That question is surrounded by doubts, fears, and excuses. But, when I look at someone and act like I’m their spiritual director when they just want to hang out, that’s pride in a nutshell. No one deemed that title on me, but it’s the ego I have of myself when I’m around the younger women who have gone through some of what I have already experienced.
The young ones are usually the ones I learn from! In fact, a few have taught me about motherhood.
The prophet Isaiah ensures this vision of our Heaven on Earth one day, where the lion and lamb will be together, as well as a young one leading the way!
I digress. Yet, this is where I stand…in the mystery of everyday living, dreaming, and soaking up all I can from those who have gone before me so that I can bring a touch of justice, hope, and renewal to this crazy world.