Last night, on one of my countless trips to the bedroom to tell the girls to stop talking, I found Britten sitting Indian-style in Ella's bed, while Ella sat with her sheets pulled up under her chin.
Me: "Ella, what are you doing?"
Ella: "Mommy, you need to leave now. I'm feeding my baby and I need privacy."
Me: "What do you mean, you're feeding your baby?"
Out, from under the covers, pops Julie, Ella's baby doll. "Well, now she's done eating and I need to burp her before we go to sleep." She props her up in her lap and gently starts to pat her back. "Okay," as she lays Julie down beside her, "Now I need to feed my other babies." Even though she had 3 more babies in her bed to feed, I decided to let her to finish her "feedings" before proceeding with bedtime again.
As I walked out the bedroom, I couldn't help but smile to myself. Even though Ella was technically disobeying me by playing with (or feeding) her dolls, she was sitting in bed, with her dolls, following my example. It struck me, as it occasionally does, how much of an impact we have on our children and how they watch our every move. I know I'm far from perfect and make mistakes every single day. What I tend to forget is that my children SEE me make these mistakes. God has given us incredible power as parents:
Deuteronomy 4:9 "Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after that, so that they can live an abundant life."
Most days, I feel so unworthy of being a mom to Ella, Britten & Chloe. I get overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and short-tempered, leaving me feeling guilty by the end of the day, and scared that I'm not becoming the mom that God intended for me to be. In talking to other moms, I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one burdened by this vicious cycle. Where would I be without His grace, His mercy and His unending faithfulness? Falling short, I'm sure. He carries me through each hour, each day, each transition in my life, molding me into the mother that I need to be.
Tonight, as my husband was tucking the girls into their beds, I overheard Ella say, "But Daddy, before I go to bed, I need to feed my babies first." I smiled. I guess this will become a nightly ritual, along with our prayers and our songs to Jesus.