I remember when I was growing up how I would complain about how life just wasn’t that fair.
I would utter those words to my mom and every single time she would say back to me, “life’s not fair”, and I hated her response to my feelings of life cheating me out of something.
In fact I am sure I swore that when I was a mom, I would never utter those awful words to my sweet children.
It’s funny because when you grow up you realize that those feelings of “life isn’t fair” still exist in your head. You look around to other friends and feel pangs of jealousy or envy when life seems to be treating them so well and you feel as though you got the raw end of the deal. You look at your friends getting married to great guys and you somehow keep attracting the most loser boyfriends around. That seems unfair. You look at your friends having one baby after another and your body isn't cooperating with your desires and that seems unfair. Your friend that started the adoption process after you and already had her kid home as you continue to wait, that seems unfair. Your friend whose husband has a fabulous job and she doesn't even have to work and you and your man are busting your tails to make ends meet, that seems unfair.
I have sometimes found myself thinking that parts of my journey to motherhood just weren’t that fair. As if I for some reason, I felt like I deserved more. Like I was entitled to the good and easy life. My road to motherhood hasn’t looked liked the movies, and I used to think that wasn’t fair.
I’m utterly embarrassed and ashamed when I say this, but I wasn’t happy when we found out I was pregnant with our first child. It wasn’t in our plans. Our plans were very different and me getting pregnant 2 months after we moved to a new place so my husband could pursue a dream and I could work to support us wasn’t in our plans.
I felt like this wasn’t fair. I am working to support my husband. We were following God and following a dream and his plan is not what we thought was best.
When we journeyed to our second son it was through domestic adoption and the wait was awful. Hoping and praying for a birth mom to choose you to be the parents to her child for the rest of your life is a hard thing to yearn for. On one hand you are yearning for a baby, which means that a mom is making the hardest choice of her life, but on the other hand you want what’s best for that baby, and if that means staying with mom forever then oh how you pray it happens, or if that means this child becoming your child then that’s what you pray happens. In the moment, life seems unfair. Not unfair to me, but unfair to a child that has no choice in the matter, and unfair to a woman who has to make a decision that changes her life forever.
Our next two children joined our family through international adoption and if up until this point in my life I thought I was being treated unfairly, this was the icing on the cake. When we learned about our children in Haiti, Amos was 2 years & 3 months and our daughter, Story, was literally days old. We were in love. They needed parents and we were confident that God had led us to them and we were going to be their family.
We began the grueling paper work and finally our papers were in Haiti and we began to wait and wait and wait. My husband or I would visit them every few months for the next 2.5 years as we waited. Those trips were life altering. I'm still not recovered from the emotions those trips developed in me.
I can’t explain to you what it’s like as a mom to leave your children at home and visit your other children in another country 3 times a year and have to leave them every single time. You love them deeply. You yearn for them to be home with you and your husband and your other kids. You literally ache for their bodies in your arms when you are not there. It is a crippling experience that I hated and many times found myself asking God “why me?”. Why us? We love you. We serve you. Why are my kids not home?
THIS IS NOT FAIR.
I realize now that in my finite little mind things seem unfair, but in the big scheme of life they are part of a bigger plan by God. Each of my “life’s-not-fair” moments in life have been hard for sure, and at the time seemed unbearable, but in the end life goes on and God brings good from each of those things.
I believe that just when we start to feel as though this just isn’t fair, God has a lesson, or a reason behind what’s happening. I may never know why my kids had to wait for 2.5 years to come home, but I am learning little by little to truly believe in God's ways and trust his ways over mine. That is hard, but in the same way it feels very comforting to know that he's in everything. Nothing is new for him or surprises him.
The other day after my kids were going on and on about “this isn’t fair” or “that’s not fair”, I thought I would turn the tables on them. I thought I would prove to them how awful they sounded and see if it got them to think about how silly they sound to be saying something’s not fair, when in fact they have a very nice life.
Of course I lied to them. How else is a mom supposed to prove her point?!?!?
I told them that I had a “friend” and she told me that her kids never argue or talk back. I went on and on about this and then I went into the whining of “life’s not fair” I wish my kids never argued or talked back. They all looked at me as if I had just said I wished I had her kids and not my kids.
LIFE IS JUST NOT FAIR
They moved on and I figured I had just done a lousy job of parenting and probably screwed them up even worse. I forgot about my analogy until the next day when my oldest came to me and we had this conversation.
He said, “Mom you remember how you said it wasn’t fair that your friends kids never argue.”
“Yes I remember”
He then said, “well what if her kids aren’t as cute as us, or what if her kids don’t rub her head when she reads books to them, or what if her kids don’t like to snuggle with her … do you still think it’s not fair?”
Oh my gosh I stopped in my tracks. He was right. There was good in the situation. He took what I was telling him very literally and thought I was really upset that my kids weren’t as good as hers (I know I probably screwed them up for life, although I’m pretty certain that has already happened) and he was bound and determined to find things that they did that her kids didn’t. He listed some of our favorite things to do together. We love to read books together, and they always comb my hair while I read (you know you do this too!) and we snuggle in bed together, or while watching a movie.
You see life wasn’t unfair to me all those years when I was feeling as though it was. It was just my journey. It was my story. I was given that story for a reason, and I’m proud of the pain and suffering and sorrow that I went through to get to my kids. They are worth every single time I wrongly thought, “life isn’t fair” because I’m so glad for the person I am today because of my journey to motherhood. God never left me or abandoned me, he was there all along even in my moments of thinking “life isn't fair”.