When the kids were littles, I always said I would write a book and I would title it, “Mommy! I Dropped Your Bible in the Potty!” The book would have been the honest storybook of a weary, yet exuberant young mom, adventuring through the terrific, terrible, and sleepless years of raising babies and preschoolers.
I never wrote the book. Not sure how I thought I would attempt to secure a book deal with my dial-up internet connection, 3 babies wiping snot all over me, and not a single story actually written down. You see, we were on the accelerated plan of growing the Hoover fam. In under 3 years, we read 3 positive pregnancy tests from Eckerd’s Pharmacy and we delivered 3 little sweet Hoover babies at Harris Methodist Fort Worth. YUP. In under 3 years.
My memory tells me Madison was the the one that dropped my Bible in the pot; I’m still presuming it was an accident. It happened on a Sunday morning. When I was inattentive. Because I was frantically trying to Sunday-dress and spit-clean a 1, 2, and 3 year old. On my own. Chris has always needed to leave for church super-early, so the Sunday kid dressing and church prepping were on my honey do list, not his.
When they were young, I could never have foreseen such a thing as mommy bloggers, but they are doing a smash-up job in our time. They are reminding the “seasoned moms” like me what those now-distant days were like, as well as helping young moms feel known and understood. They are vulnerably chronicling some of what seems like MY stories from the early 90’s: “I’m sooo tired. I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t know how to do this. I’m so crazy in love with these little humans. I’m so mad at these little humans. I’m so bad at raising little humans.”
Truly, I cannot believe we somewhat-successfully parented 3 kids! The other day Chris looked at me, as we were standing in our messy kitchen. (PLEASE! When you envision Chris and me empty-nesting, you shouldn’t imagine a Pinterest-worthy living space, but instead envision something more like a college-guys’ bachelor pad. Devoured chip bags on the couch, dirty dishes on the coffee table, and maybe even an empty wine bottle on the counter. We can resort to being straight-up slobs who frantically clean before people come over so we won’t be outed for our sloth!) He looked at the embarrassing kitchen mess and exclaimed, “HOW on EARTH are we mature enough to own and maintain a home and numerous cars??” I quickly retorted back, “Are you KIDDING me??? The house is easy schmeezy!! Can you EVEN BELIEVE we raised 3 decent, responsible, witty, fairly well-adjusted humans that ended up actually liking us???!!”
One thing I know. I am in the position in life right now that gives me a tiny bit of perspective. I did NOT know what I was doing when we started. No one does. We made tons of mistakes.
But we DID do some things right. We kept on learning. We kept on working on our marriage. We kept reading books on how to grow: spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially. We continued to prioritize laughing and playing and not taking ourselves too seriously. We continued to walk in faith, even when we felt hopeless. We offered buckets of grace to each other. We visited grandparents as much as possible. We repeated gazillions of times, “Relationships and people are more important than stuff or things.” We cooked pot roast for new friends and college kids on Sundays after church. We practiced how to ask good questions. (“Have you ever broken a bone?” was our family favorite!) We prioritized our history friends. We worked to listen more than we lectured. We served people who were hurting and forgotten.
And yes, we could have done more and we could have done better. But Soul Adventurers, if your goal is perfection or control, or getting every decision right, you will be eaten ALIVE by fear and anxiety and regret. Trust the process. Hard things come their way to all of us. Get some good people around you. Enjoy the ride. And don’t fuss too much about messy kitchens. Or Bibles that get dropped in potties.