where I don't whisper a prayer of "thanks" for the privilege, for the gift, of being the ONE.
The one that is there, every moment of every day, for the milestones, the hard days, the good days,
the discoveries, the achievements, the tiny hugs, happy kisses, to read the stories, to teach how to pray,
to wipe away tears, to soak up the laughter, and all the seconds in between. I am lapping up the joy,
the awesome wonder, and storing it all in imaginary bottles on the shelves of my heart.
Because I'm their parent, their momma...
and ALL OF IT means the world to me.
No, this is not a staged photo. My children just happened to be staring pensively in the same
direction in the many moments before and after I snapped this shot. While picnicking in the park
this summer, it was not the pond, the ducks, or the super cool splash pad that held their attention,
but the DAYCARE group situated systematically on a checkered blanket under the gazebo.
One little boy in particular did NOT want to stay on the blanket and kept slyly venturing off towards
the grass, towards my son and his electric helicopter. The caregiver had to physically pick him up and
put him back on the blanket a number of times, reminding him that he had to "stay put."
"Where are their mommas?" asked my son.
"I don't know, buddy," I said. "I don't know."
I wanted that little boy to be able to play with my son. I willed it in my heart, because I think
that's what his own mother would have wanted for him too. Just let him off the blanket...
free the child to be a child.
We've seen these small children all over the burbs from the grocery store to the swimming pool -
marching in two straight lines, following the leader, daring not to speak without raising a hand,
wearing numbers around their necks - counting off, not to be lost.
And they yell out to me. Yes, literally.
"Can I give you a hug?"
"Will you push me on the swing?"
"Watch my trick!"
And my heart breaks as I stand-in for the parent not present.
"They're missing it," I sigh. "Do they know what they are missing?"
I'm not naïve to think that every family situation warrants at least one parent to stay home
and raise the babies, but I am daring enough to challenge parents around the world to really
look at their situation and ask themselves if the "two incomes" are absolutely necessary,
or dare I say, worth it? Because I'll stand at the park and watch your kid do tricks all day,
but I can guarantee you that I am no substitute for "mom" or "dad." No one is.
People ask me all the time if my kids go to preschool or daycare - because obviously they
are "old enough" to be "socialized" and I probably "should help my husband".
And I just smile, shake my head, and tell them that my kids are lucky to be stuck at home with me...
where they can march in whatever kind of line they want to, where they can ALWAYS be the leader
and speak respectively without needing to raise their hands, where they are called by their given
names and not a tagged numbered, where they are free from the mold, the system, to be who they
were created to be for this time, this fleeting time: KIDS.
And my husband?! Well, he is lucky that I am stuck at home with his kids! And he'll tell you
that he is not lucky, but blessed. Because do you know how much it would cost for the care
that I give our children? Plus the laundry, the grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring
that is done?! He can't afford me. And I can't afford him. So we got jerseys and make a great team.
Even if I didn't have the desire to be a stay-at-home mom and woke up one morning and
decided to take my hard-earned college degree to market and bring home some real bacon,
I know I couldn't do it. God gave my children to me and my husband.
And that's the real reason my kids don't go to daycare.
God gave them to me.
And I know what you are thinking. "Oh it's all rainbows and butterflies for Miss Lily Field" -
sure, ok. But if you were sitting in my living room right now I would not spare you any details
concerning our "income" or "lack thereof" in the past 5 years of marriage.
I'd tell you that we gave up a honeymoon and new cars and live like the budget is going out of style.
I'd tell you that we wear used clothes, don't go on a yearly vacation, and reuse items that most people
don't. We cut corners, pinch pennies, and bend over backwards to keep up our "lavish" lifestyle...
and that's not a joke. Our lifestyle is abundant!!! Downright extravagant! It's richer than you think.
No vacation, no vehicle, no pet, no home, no title, no name-brand can compare with the
two, soon to be three!, little faces that I wake up to care for every morning...
because I'm the one.
Every day is a gift, every situation unique.
We take what we are given and make the best
- for love of our children.
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