I love being a mother. There’s nothing in the entire world I’d rather do than be a wife to my beloved husband, Daniel, and be called mother by innocent little children who God trusted into our care. Yet life is real and we face real challenges and many times we find ourselves turning to a God who is also real, even though we can’t see Him with our mortal eyes.
Motherhood comes with a host of blessings, along with its challenges and responsibilities. Cradling a newborn, for instance, is truly a priceless blessing, a gift from God. But then I find the test of true commitment intensifying as my sleep levels wane and baby keeps squirming and crying with a tummy ache as Daniel and I pace the floor in an attempt to soothe the dear little infant.
At 21 months old, our son, Austin, and his mom and daddy sleep much more soundly than the first year after he was born. But, of course, there are still things to work on. Last night was a good example of one of those “real” moments in motherhood.
A nasty sore in his mouth kept Austin from sleeping like he usually does. Finally, after two hours, he fell into a restless sleep. I took him to bed with us where he snuggled beside Daniel. Daniel kindly took a turn patting Austin during his fitful slumber.
After several hours of refreshing sleep, I was ready to take a turn again with Austin who was fully awake once more. It was 3 a.m. I rocked him and sang to him and tried this and that. Yet nothing seemed to work. I fixed another bottle, walked back and forth throughout our living room and to the kitchen again. Throughout, his big innocent eyes wouldn’t shut. All was dark and peacefully quiet in the surrounding countryside as I kept rocking, singing and praying.
In his sweet little voice, he began saying “nack, nack,” meaning snack. Poor little fellow. He was probably feeling the results of having not been able to eat as much the day before with having a sore mouth. I was encouraged with the thought of his mouth feeling better if he was requesting something to eat. I was unsure what I should give him, not wanting to irritate his sore. I breathed a quick prayer for wisdom. I decided he should have something warm, not just a snack.
Remembering the leftover mashed potatoes, I reheated them in the dimly lit kitchen. Austin gulped them down. After a second and third helping, he spotted the cinnamon rolls I had made the day before. I debated whether to give him one. “He won’t eat a lot,” I decided, proceeding to cut one in half. Obviously he rated himself to be several sizes bigger than his little boy stature, as he reached for a whole one. Alright, he won’t eat it all anyway, I reasoned. After all, eating in the middle of the night is not routine policy in our household. I set the cinnamon roll on the table and he began eating the frosting off the top of it, animal style.
As Austin sat at the kitchen table, Daniel shuffled out into the kitchen, checking on us to see whatever was going on. I explained the middle-of-the-night feast to him, which he thought a bit comical. Turning to leave, he said, “If there’s anything I can do to help you, let me know.”
Laughing, I said, “Sure, you can take a turn!”
But I knew Daniel needed to go to work in several hours, so I wanted him to get his needed rest. After Austin finished his “nack” and his face was washed, it was time to give another try putting him to sleep. As the first streaks of daylight began radiating through the darkness of night, my dear little heart (what I often call my children) finally fell into a peaceful slumber. Daniel took care of his own breakfast before leaving for work, enabling me to sleep an hour longer.
On days such as ones following my eventful night, I keep meals quite simple simply because I’m more limited on time and energy. Also, I am thankful for my husband who is fine with a simple menu. Corn on the cob from the garden and fresh tomato sandwiches with onions and cucumbers are something we are enjoying these days. You might be surprised by one of Daniel’s first picks of a supper on an especially hot and humid day. It might not sound like a hit but, as my dad always said, “Don’t say you don’t like it until you’ve tried it!”
It’s the most basic meal at our household, in fact. Daniel always assures me that we don’t need anything besides it. (He never turns down a homemade molasses cookie with caramel frosting, though.) Try it, you’ll be amazed how satisfying and refreshing it is!
Peaches can be used in place of strawberries.
½ cup chopped strawberries, partially frozen
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar to taste
One sleeve of saltine crackers
Mix berries, milk and sugar. Crumble a handful of crackers into your bowl. Ladle strawberry mixture on top. Stir and enjoy.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.