It was a defining moment in our relationship, or, rather, whether or not we would continue to have one. Rob and I had been dating for a little while, I think about 2 months, and it was on the way home from a 4 hour car ride together. This wasn’t out of the ordinary. We lived an hour apart, on a good day without tunnel traffic, so we were both already getting used to being in the car a lot, both with and without each other. At least in person, if not on the phone.
So in the night hours of a long day and a quiet car, Rob asked, “So… is there anything you want to ask me?” It was a loaded question looking for a loaded answer. Which was also a question. I see what you did there, Rob Wootton. He was looking for a specific answer, too, based on the conversation we were having. So, I took a deep, meaningful pause, and asked, “Do you want more kids?” And the rest is history… haha
Why do we have kids? The obvious answers include, scientifically, to propagate our species throughout the earth and, more biblically, to fill our quivers or whatnot. Or maybe personally it’s something about wanting to be parents and to have a family unit and to invest all our time, effort, energy, and money, brainpower, and inner strength, into a small, helpless poop machine for about 18+ years.
The answer Rob gave me that night proved to me that this guy was a keeper. His answer to having more kids was along the lines of Alfred’s question to a young Master Bruce Wayne… why do we fall? To learn to pick ourselves up. Yes and no. Yes, we learn. No, we can’t do it ourselves.
My husband talks a lot about grace. It’s his job and, not coincidentally, his life. Grace is what meets us when we realize we can’t pick ourselves up any more. We try. Oh how we try. But there comes a time when we realize, we just can’t any more. We try to be perfect parents. We aim to be perfect spouses. Perfect children. Perfect employees/ employers. We put our all in and so often just can’t quite get there, whatever “there” is in our minds. Or we think we got there a few times (debatable) and work ourselves to death trying to get back again (inevitable).
Nothing reminds us how much grace we need quite like kids do. Kids are this constant work out for our brains and hearts, with a specific exercise targeting our patience area. Kids are these little buttons containing the potential to rob us of all joys, patience, sleep, hot cups of coffee, uninterrupted meals and bathroom visits (for us as well as for them), and the buttons are pushed all waking, and sleeping, hours of our lives. Sounds perfect! Sign us up!
And we do sign up. We love it. Most of us any way. There are those who don’t and that’s cool with me. I get it. I spent all those years without them, believe me, I get it. Or there are those who can’t have them for any number of reasons and it breaks my heart to hear the pain and loss people feel when they feel broken and forsaken by God. Having kids should be easy. It should be natural and full of joy. It is wrong when this doesn’t happen. I hate it.
But I am convinced that in having kids, and in longing for kids, we are taught to more fully rely on God. There are so many hardships in life, every moment we cannot bear, every sorrow, every hurt. We’re told we can handle it. That we’re strong and can pull ourselves together if we really try and really believe in ourselves. But I think that delays the inevitable. Denying our complete inability works like the worst of procrastinators. It keeps us from arriving at the truth. It keeps us from the struggle of answering questions. Why? What does it all mean? Why are we here? Why am I hurting? What is my heart feeling? How can I move on from here?
For those who know our story, you know that our family is born after suffering and loneliness. You know that we believe God heals and restores in his time. You know that Rob and Robin were always meant to be together and that all time past, present, and future are accounted for, that God uses all brokenness to bring about His glory and our good. We believe that with all our hearts, souls, and minds. And we pray, daily, that our lives and our kids will be a reflection of that. We pray that our kids’ lives will teach us parents more and more grace. That’s a sound investment, because, if we are paying attention, it’s guaranteed.
PS. This is not an announcement. 😉