I have what some might call a fancy education. I took six years to get a four-year degree, and also married and had my first child during that time. In the months leading up to graduation, friends, family, and professors asked what I planned to do with my education. I realized, however, that more than any job, I wanted another baby. Ten months after graduation I gave birth to my second son and never looked back.

While my education helped prepare me for eventually schooling my own children, I never imagined the joys and the heartache – the gamut of emotions from sheer terror to pure bliss – inherent in the greatest job in the world. Today, just an average day, I experienced several of those moments that define motherhood.

Every mother who has had both a toddler and a set of stairs knows that awful sound: the thud, followed by wailing. I heard it today and ran across the house, scared of what I would find.

Lily was lying at the bottom of the stairs, scared and hurt. I sat and held her until she stopped crying, while she marked my black shirt with iridescent trails of mucous, a visible badge of motherhood. Then she snuggled in close and popped her little thumb in her mouth, content. It won’t always be so, but I was blessed with a moment when I was all she needed to make everything better.

My 10-year-old daughter had Keepers at Home today. She loves Keepers, and I’m excited she has the opportunity to learn many skills that I do not possess. I try to learn along with her, but it’s interesting sometimes. Rather than a domestic goddess, Keepers at Home seems to transform me into a domestic doofus.

Today was no different as we worked on our current project, sewing a tiered skirt. While I was helping at my painfully slow pace, the other mothers and daughters seemed to fly through the steps. Then it hit me: my daughter doesn’t seem to notice or care that I’m not as skilled as many of the other moms. She looks at me with the adoring eyes of a daughter toward her mother, confident that I can guide her. The blind devotion of a child is truly a sacred trust, and I was humbled and honored by it.

After a long afternoon of Keepers and band lessons, we headed for Moe’s, where the kids always want quarters for the machines. My husband told me that our 5-year-old son had gotten a heart ring for his prize. When asked if he was going to give it to me for Valentine’s Day, he had said, “Maybe, or maybe Miss Fran.” Miss Fran is our dear friend who is truly a Pied Piper. Our children adore her and I’ve told her that even when hers are grown and gone, my younger ones will still want to spend the night at her house.

While we ate, I noticed two ladies seated close to us who seemed to observe our clan. This is not uncommon for us; that many kids attract attention. I’m not a mind-reader, but it’s obvious a lot of people don’t understand why anyone would have such a large family, and their attitude is not always kind.

As they left, one of the ladies leaned down and spoke in my ear: “Your family is adorable. Simply precious!” Although I may never see her again, her words will not soon be forgotten. As we were leaving, my son smiled his heart-melting smile, one any mother of a young son knows, and said, “Happy Valentine’s Day,” as he placed the ring in my hand.

When I read Proverbs 31, describing that seemingly unattainable model of female perfection, the verse that always jumps out at me is #28: “Her children arise up, and call her blessed…” That’s the one I want – the one I can’t attain on my own, the one that has to be given to me, undeserving though I am (much like salvation).

Today I was beheld as comforter; teacher; object of blind faith, love, and affection. Though I seek to bless my children’s precious lives, the truth is that they bless me immeasurably. I thank God for entrusting us with their care and putting the desire within me for motherhood, the greatest job in the world.

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