It was 17 years ago. I was working at Valley Center of the Deaf as a secretary.
Prior to being their secretary, I was a job coach. Daily, I drove to my clients place of employment to address any work issues regarding communication or culture differences, they or their employers, might be experiencing. If I wasn’t doing that, I was working with my clients on job leads, resume building, and interviewing.
It was a lot of work for an introvert. There was just so much human contact and customer service, on a daily basis. I was exhausted.
So when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I knew this was going to be too much for me. I had spoken with my direct supervisor and had asked if I could transfer to a secretarial position that had just opened up.
Everyone thought I was crazy. Why would I go backwards on my career ladder? Honestly, I didn’t realize I was.
But I knew working in an office with a handful of people and a whole lot of paper was going to be less stressful than working with strangers, representing clients, and educating the world of work the meaning of reasonable accommodations.
I needed less stress considering I was entering into a new field of work that I knew nothing about, and quite honestly, growing up had no desire to enter; the ranks of Motherhood.
I had a lot to learn in a relatively short amount of time, considering I had only had a few experiences with babysitting, which all were dreadful and none of which included an actual baby.
Thank you Jesus for that. That would not have ended well.
I had a lot of learning to get caught up on.
I had a friend who took pity on me and one night, invited me over to practice giving her baby a bath. Pathetic, I know and I was.
Afterwards, my friend left me alone with her child for just a minute as I was suppose to put her in her jammies for the night. Upon returning she found her baby in only a diaper and me wrestling with her arms and legs to be still.
“She won’t let me put her feet in.”
“You have to make her put her feet in.”
I then watched her masterfully take hold of each limb and place them in their respective position of the jammie, all within seconds.
My kid is so screwed.
My son’s dad taught me how to maneuver the diapers. The pretties, face away from you and down when placing it under the baby’s bottom.
Mother-in-law taught me to push all the plumbing down into the diaper, after weeks of not understanding why I had to change my son’s clothes and bedding at every nightly feeding.
May I remind you, I was 27 when I had my first child.
I did not deserve a baby.
My babies did not deserve me as their momma.
My son was probably around one. He was already walking and getting into everything. It was a Saturday and his dad had to work. I too, had to go into the office to bring in documents and print the billing that I was able to put together at home.
I remember thinking it was not going to be an easy task considering I had to bring my son in with me.
It was an extremely warm day, as all Arizona days can be. I popped the trunk of my car, as well as propped open the three doors that led to my office in the front of the building.
My son sat quietly in his carseat as he watched his mom walk to and from the car as she carried boxes into the building.
I left the driver’s side door open to let the air circulate and keep the car cool.
Upon grabbing the last box from the trunk, I used the weight of the box to help slam the lid down, I used my right hip to push the driver’s side door close, and kicked the two door stops out of the way to let each door slam behind me as I entered the hall to my office.
In my office, I probably moved some boxes around, turned on my computer and printer, made some room on my desk to work, and as I started to open the billing program, thought to myself, why did I think this was going to be difficult?
… … …
Now I could say, it was only five minutes, but do you know what could happen to a baby, or anyone, who is left in a car, on a hot day, in Arizona, with the windows up, for only five minutes? And what if it wasn’t just five minutes???
I was the mother who left her baby in the hot car, and nobody knew.
I don’t deserve my babies, and my babies don’t deserve me as their momma.
My heart cries everytime the news reports of another child who has died inside of a car.
My heart cries everytime I hear of family, or a friend, or a friend of a friend, or of a stranger, who has lost their child in their sleep.
My heart cries for the mommies who’s baby’s eyes never opened.
My heart cries everytime a child goes missing, or one runs away.
I cry for those who struggle to become a momma.
I cry for those who can’t.
I don’t understand why my son was saved and others are not. But I know it was not because of me. I am undeserving and there are far more deserving parents out there than me.
I understand to the depth of my soul the amount of Grace; unmerited favor, my Savior showed me that day, 17 years ago.
It is why I take my job as a mother so, so seriously. For whatever reason God felt it necessary to place these babies in my care, regardless of my desires, capabilities, and qualifications and then protects them from me at the same time.
I cannot express the amount of fear, gratitude, self-loathing, change, that took place that day. Rearview mirror face the backseat. Counting kids, in the car and in the house. Checking the backseat after dropping the last kid off, then rechecking and checking again once I’m at work…until my last child was six. Ok, I still do it.
I do not deserve my babies and my babies don’t deserve me as their momma.
I will continue to strive to earn the honor that was placed upon me at their births.
And more importantly I will continue to strive to honor the God who protects my children through all my striving.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for your grace and your mercy on all those who are undeserving, undeserving like me.