This last weekend Dom and I took the girls up to Eugene. Our foray into the “big city” included a trip to get Dom a suit, a side trip to his uncle’s house, and our first family outing to Chuck E. Cheese (Side note: Wow! That is another post in and of itself. Definitely not the Chuck E. Cheese of yore).
However, our primary purpose of the trip up was so we could look at minivans.
The woman in me is hiding in some dark corner in fetal position withering away, but the mother in me is jumping up and down like I just won gold at the Olympics at the thought of getting a minivan.
You see, we have come to the realization that with four children under three (which God-willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll have in just a couple of months), minivans are the only practical choice. That or staying home and not venturing out for a couple of years until Ans can get herself and Line buckled into their car seats unassisted.
We’ve had several bug-eyed reactions to this, mainly because I’ve been pretty vocal in my desire to NEVER own a minivan, but the reaction from my childless friend in Louisiana summed it up the best.
“You’re getting a what?!”
“A minivan, Mere. It’s the most practical choice for us.”
“Yea, I’m still here. I’m trying to process. Why are you getting a minivan and not a Tahoe?”
You see, besides my denial that I’d ever be a minivan-driving soccer mom, I also was adamant that my next car would be a Tahoe or Suburban. It’s what I grew up with and what every woman in my family back home has, so it’s what I’ve wanted for my “next car” the last three times I’ve bought one.
After another ten minutes of extoling the virtues of a minivan and getting nowhere with her, my friend and I agreed to disagree and moved on to a different topic. It was after we hung up that it dawned on me just how much motherhood had changed my priorities.
You see, I honestly believe God started the work of humbling me way back in elementary school when we drove the crappiest car to our elite private school. Just soak that in. I was going to an elite private school and I was embarrassed my mom wasn’t driving the same brand new minivan all my friends mom had. (No, the irony isn’t lost on me, thanks).
Now, you could chalk this up to a kid being a typical bratty little kid, and that is for sure part of it, but I’m sorry to say that even after elementary school, I was still always seeking to keep up with the Joneses.
After my mom got her minivan, I decided I needed Abercombie and Fitch clothes; Then it was the “good” make-up all the other girls used; Then it was a new car of my own, and two years after driving a brand new Civic out of the showroom on my 16th birthday, I pitched a fit until I could trade in the car for an older Jeep Grand Cherokee, ‘cause that was the “image” I wanted to project.
On and on it went. I could give you a million examples of how I kept trying to change in order to fit in or to be accepted by all the people I saw as having more than I did.
I’d like to tell you that it all changed the moment I accepted Christ as my savior. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I was 16 and still stubbornly clung to my desire to be more in the eyes of my peers instead of resting secure in the knowledge of God’s love for me, just as I was.
What did start to change it (slowly, but surely) was moving to Oregon where I knew no one, but Dom. I had no one to impress and was able to focus on only myself. Ironically, it took complete self-centered reflection to see what a spoiled little jerk I was.
When I moved out here I also started rediscovering and nurturing my relationship with the Lord. It was through that in which I could start to focus on what was really important. Not my designer bags or clothes, not the car I drove or the “image” I projected.
What mattered was my heart. And as any of you moms know, you have no clue the size of your heart until you have children. (It probably doesn’t hurt the humbling process that when you give birth, more people see all of you than a small African country), but mainly I think the humility is sprung from the realization that it is so not all about you anymore.
All of a sudden, the things I was learning to understand didn’t matter for squat, really didn’t matter for squat. Now it’s not just my heart that matters, but making sure my kids know from the start that they are precious in the eyes of the Lord, and all else is secondary.
Humility is still a daily lesson. I have definitely not mastered the art, but I am trying. So keep your eyes peeled. If you see a frazzled looking lady sans makeup driving around what is seemingly a baby preschool in the back of her newish minivan, give me a shout out. I’ll try to give ya a wave!
...you have no clue the size of your heart until you have children.