Rising to the Call

My Crew

People often tell me…

You’re an amazing mom. 

I don’t know how you do it. 

You must have the patience of a saint.

Bless your heart.

And if you know anything about that last one (a notoriously southern phrase) it can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. ;)

My response is this…

I’m not perfect.

I have as many flaws as the rest of you.

I often reach the end of myself.

I come unglued, have a mommy meltdown, and then remember to summon strength from a God who is enough, who can handle it, and who is completely faithful.

 

 Couple Time

 

My husband is the other crucial factor in my life.

He often gets overlooked.

He’s not given the credit he deserves for fulfilling his God-given responsibility.

 

Picture Duff and myself…

a young, newly-engaged couple.

We were head-over-heels in love with each other.

And although we really had no faith of our own, we attended a marriage preparatory session with a priest, so we could be married in the Catholic Church.

The compatibility survey that we completed as part of the class revealed one glaring discrepancy, we disagreed over who would stay home with our future children.

I guess I always saw myself as a stay-at-home mom and Duff pictured us sharing the work/child-care responsibilities more evenly.

His perspective was unexpected (but I was certain he would eventually see it my way ;) ) and we agreed to figure it out when (or if) we became parents.

 Engagement

 

Almost three years later, when I went on maternity leave with our first, I left the door wide-open to return part-time as a nurse.

After all, I’d been out of nursing school for less than a year and figured we might decide we needed the additional money.

I could easily work evenings or weekends when Duff was available to help with baby.

People told me I would want to go back to work anyway.

I would relish time away from house and baby for sanity’s sake.

I didn’t know what to expect.

Baby Girl

 

When we brought home our first bundle we became neurotic fools.

We fretted over every decision and action, so fearful we were of messing up that new little life.

I was trying to recover from a cesarean and learning to be a mom all at once.

I was sleep-deprived, hormonal, and a lactating mess.

 Duff and Maddie

 

Duff came along side and supported me in everything. He encouraged me to breastfeed even though it cut him out of the feeding equation.

He fumbled through sleepy stupor to change baby’s diapers and deliver her to me for nightly feedings in bed.

He pulled off the road and waited in parking lots while I nursed the never-satiated little mite.

He researched and read with me.

He went on brisk walks with a colicky infant so I could take a shower or have a quiet moment.

He encouraged me to nap with baby, read with baby, and to enjoy our baby.  He didn’t want me to miss out on all the special moments.

We fell into a natural rhythm all our own.  We were completely in love with each other and our precious addition.

 Maddie 2 months in Vegas

 

When my nurse manager called at eight weeks postpartum to put me back on the schedule, I was panic-stricken.

I would have to talk things over with my husband and get back to her, I replied.

Inside my head thoughts flew.

How could I leave this baby? 

I didn’t want to miss anything. 

I didn’t want to give up my evenings and weekends. I was so enjoying our wonderful time together as a family of three. 

But what would my husband expect of me?  Would he choose my career and the money? 

Would he want me to go back to work? 

 Madeline Rose O'Melia

 

I had a pit in my stomach as I broached the topic at dinner that night.

I really had no idea what his response might be. My recent decision to improve my culinary skills was presently in my favor, as I watched him heartily enjoying his meal.

I told him about my boss calling and how she wanted to schedule me for the following month.  “What do you think?  What should I do?”, I inquired.

There was a delay. I interpreted the silence as a how-do-I-break-this-to-her-nicely pause.

In reality, he didn’t want to pressure me one way or the other.

“What would make you happy?” he wanted to know.

“Oh my goodness! Staying at home of course!”

“Then that’s what you should do.”

 

I felt so incredibly blessed in that moment.

I still do.

Blessed that it was even an option financially and blessed that we both saw eye-to-eye on it.

I was going to get to stay at home with my baby. Every. Single. Day.

What an immense privilege.

I wasn’t going to miss anything. Nada. nothing.

And I know this isn’t everyone’s calling and desire. And that’s okay.

And I know for others it isn’t possible, and I hate that for you.  I admire you though for moving forward and doing what you have to do to get by.  I know your child will admire you for those same reasons some day.

But for me…it’s what I was made to be. It’s what I was designed for…and it was possible.

The decision brought me immediate elation.  I only hoped that I didn’t somehow disappoint my husband.

 Maddie with binky

 

A few months down the road from that life-changing dinner, my hubby shared with me a realization.

He had observed the way baby and I had bonded, and he loved it.  He loved the happiness being a mom brought me.

He saw the patience and love I had for the routine care of our child, and he said I was the better person for the job.

He wanted me to stay at home with our children. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh the peace and confirmation he gave me with those words.  Being a wife and a mom was enough.  Enough.

 Duff and Mads

 

In this world, a good dad is not often recognized for the role they play and the selfless choices they make each and every day.

A child sees Daddy leave for work and believes he is choosing his job over staying at home to play.

They don’t understand that their father is working hard to provide: toiling to put a roof over their head, food on the table, and clothing on their backs.

They don’t comprehend that their father’s absence is oftentimes explained by immense sacrifice.

 

Onlookers don’t consider the dad who makes it possible, when they see a mom out shopping with a cartload of small children.

They don’t think about the father who chose relationships and time, over lifestyle and money, when they see a gaggle of children with their mom at the park.

People notice the nursing mom and never consider whether a supportive husband encouraged the strong bond between mother and child.

Society is amazed by the mom who homeschools her seven children,

but do they ever wonder if the father’s strength and leadership play a vital role in that mother’s success?

 

Daddy with Baby Gavin

 

On this Father’s Day, I want the world to know my husband profoundly effects the well-being of this family.

He is  actively involved in anything about ‘us’ that can be labeled a “success” or “remarkable”.

He provides.  He protects.  He loves.

He values learning, character, and joy…

above delicious meals, an immaculate house or a nice car.

 Duff with Gabby at Hospital

 

He arrives home after a long day of work and jumps right in, helping with dinner and bedtime.

He listens to my struggles and encourages me.

He helps our children discover their gifts and callings.

He’s stoic, holding it all together and doing the hard when I can no longer stand.

He leads when I’m confused and struggling to find my way.

 

 The Clan in Color

 

He gives us his best.

He gives us a home.

He allows me to be the mom God designed me to be,

and he rises to meet the calling God has placed on his life as a father.

 

Happy Father’s Day to my wonderful husband.

 

Comments

  1. Cindy Francis says:

    Beautifully written & lived. Happy Father’s Day to Duff! Well done!

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