Underqualified but Hired Anyway
I remember before ever getting pregnant, sometime in my mid-twenties, I had a dream.
In the dream, I had a baby. Somehow this baby was standing before me already as if it were maybe 1 ½ or 2 years old. I looked at this beautiful little child and declared, “Well, you should name yourself.”
I quickly followed by explaining, “Who am I to name you?”
Very sternly the child said back to me, “No, YOU have to name me. It’s YOUR job.”
That was the whole dream, but I’ve never forgotten it.
Last night, Friday night pizza was happening at our house. My husband Kevin makes the dough, rolls out the crust, sauce, cheese… all the kids agree that his pizza is the best. Kevin commented in dismay later in the night how he had made 4 cheese pizzas and he didn’t even get a slice, they were gone in a flash. The little ones have sometimes cried because it takes them a while to eat their first slice and by the time they are done with their first piece all the pies are gone.
We will have 4 teenagers living in the house this year, with our other three in various stages of elementary school. I remember years ago doing the math with Kevin to figure out what the max amount of teenagers would be at one time in our house and we’re nearly hitting that mark now.
I looked across our big dinner table at each of my sons (all our kids are boys) and I remembered back to the day of their birth, each unique.
One gave us a scare. He was late. I was induced and he ended up in the NICU for a few days.
Another shot out like a rocket after one ginormous push.
Then there was the one I wasn’t sure we’d make it to the hospital for (I did, but they ended up checking me in “after” he was born).
With another one, I had a leg cramp during labor. I’ll never forget the nurse who helped me work through it. I stood up most of the labor and Kevin tells me I was completely silent when I gave birth (though I remember it being very busy in my head).
Then there was the son who came after my water broke during a routine ultrasound. I remember how the ultrasound tech and the student with him scooted out of the room to get help and I was left there alone, shaking and calling my husband to come to the hospital.
Then there was the nurse that reminded me so much of my mum, and what a delight it was to be reminded of her right then. What a comfort on this day when I would meet my little boy who I was told had Down syndrome, wondering what that would mean.
And then there was the labor when I offered up my pains for some dear friends who needed prayer. It was such a gift to me too as it made me truly forget about myself.
It’s Our Job
I sat there remembering each of their births as they gobbled down slice after slice of pizza, I looked at Kevin, surely grayer than when I met him when he was 23, and thought: “How can this be?”
How on earth could we have 7 sons? How could I have helped raise them this far? All that time of intensity, difficulty, of tears and struggle, joy, laughter, snuggles, and love… Here we are, yet it feels like a dream. Like that first dream with the little child who very clearly set me straight about the nature of being a parent, saying “No, YOU have to name me, it’s YOUR job.”
Who are Kevin and I to allow these children into the world? Who were we to name them? Who were we to give them rules, teach them our faith, choose their food and their clothes? Who were we?
From the very first moments, even when we didn’t feel ready for or deserving of it, the answer has always been; and it always will be, that we are their parents.
It’s our job.
Nothing will ever take that away, even when they move out of our home and choose for themselves all the choices.
We will always be the giver of the name, the designer of their childhood, the base of their lives. It is an otherworldly responsibility. Too much really. It is a job we are almost never qualified for.
So who is this boss who hires us for the most important job we will ever have, seemingly without even looking at our resume? Who takes our tiny patience, love, and understanding, and grows it as large as we will let him? Someday I hope to meet Him in person… and thank Him for hiring me.