June 4, 2015

On Second Thought, I AM a Saint.

I have spent countless hours parenting my daughters. We have three of them, and they all vascillate from quite pleasant and low-maintenance to "buckle up she's coming!" depending on the moment. They are girls. And they are MY girls. So, there is really no way of knowing who is gonna be doing/saying/feeling what from one moment to the next.

I have spent countless hours grooming them... the bathing, the clipping, the ballet-bunning! I have carted them from one activity to another. I spent long nights nursing and rocking and re-tucking all three of my precious angel baby heads. I have snuggled, and disciplined, and taught and trained, and blown it a time or  two. Or maybe more.

I have sat in waiting rooms during ballet classes, and tap, and hip-hop and contact improv, and doctor's appointments and pre-school evaluations. These girls have had stitches (okay, just London) and blood transfusions (wait, just London) and one maaaaybe fell in a fire that one time. (you guessed it, #London.) 

Diapers. Wiping. Accidents. Nightmares. Boo boos. Mean girls. The TALK. It's been a lot of exhausting time and labor-intensive grunt work. I mean, applying the sunscreen alone! 

Do you know how many times I have been called a saint for parenting my biological girls?


Well, that's a lie. I make Tom call me a saint at least once daily. But unsolicited!? Not a single time have I been praised to the point of sainthood for being a "regular mom" and doing regular mom things.

I have done all of those same things for my boys. Just replace ballet buns with coconut oil and corn rows, replace dance classes with football (and putting back removed hearing aids, which is Jay's preferred extra-curricular activity to date) and replace the roller coaster of emotions with... wait, no, let's leave those in.

You get the picture. Lots of work, lots of good, lots of hard, lots of hair, lots of normal mom stuff. 

Do it for my girls? Nothing. Just normal.

For my boys? Instasaint.

Let's clear up one thing... I am not a saint. (Okay, theologically speaking, God calls his children saints because of his unbelievable grace. In that grace and mercy, he has chosen to see ME - total non-saint - through a pure, holy, and sanctified lens because he sees Jesus when he sees me.) Wow right? And also... huh? But that's not really what I'm talking about. I am not talking about biblical sainthood, I'm talking about the fact that people only view normal momming as saintly when done for a child who did not come out of my birth canal.

And I know the right position to take here, I am supposed to say that I am not a saint, and that it's a privilege and a joy to take care of ALL my children and I don't want to be praised and nominated for sainthood just because some of my kids came to me via adoption. I am supposed to say it's no different, and if I'm not a saint for momming my bio kids, then I'm not a saint for momming my boys.

I know that's the right answer. But guess what, I'm not gonna say that answer. I am not going to sit here and be outraged that people view what I do for my boys as saintly. Instead, I'm gonna go ahead and hop on the other side of this argument.

What I wanna know is this, why ISN'T anyone calling me a saint for momming my girls!? 

Have you even attempted to do a perfect crispy ballet bun? I don't wanna trash talk, but I don't know if Mother Teresa had the stuff to get it done. I am just saying. 

I know what I should say. Humble church lady mom would say "I'm not doing anything for my boys that I don't do for my girls, it doesn't matter that they are adopted. Please, don't call me a saint." 

Well, I'm not saying all that. Instead, please DO call me a saint. I love it. Every time I manhandle Tom into showering me with praise, it feels great. I agree with humble church lady about one thing, I am not a saint for properly caring for my adopted children. I want saintly props for properly caring for all my children. Less humble, less church lady... but, c'mon, people call foster and adoptive parents "saints" because people do truly recognize how hard it is to care for kids (especially those who are hurting) and adoption and fostering highlights the fact that they are doing all that loving and caring by choice. 

It's always a choice though. All parents have to choose to respond patiently or not. All parents have to choose to show up emotionally or to check out. All parents have to consiously choose to be gentle and soft or to blow a gasket. 

It's always a choice. With adoption the choice may appear more obvious, but real, active, engaged, conscientious parenting day in and day out IS a choice. So, go ahead old white lady in the waiting area, I AM a saint for sitting at my son's six and a half hour neuro appointment. 

But not because he was adopted. He's my kid, and I would do it for any of my kids. So would any good parent. 

It's just what saints do.