Midlife crisis: Joy and Blessing

As I was working in the quiet morning, cleaning the kitchen, and packing for our camping trip that starts today, I suddenly thought about how happy I am. At this moment, I am so happy.

I’m happy with our wonderful children. We have two early-teenage girls, an 8-yr-old boy, and a 5yo girl. They bring so much happiness and adventure and fulfillment into my life.

It’s hard, but putting aside all feminist and complementarian/egalatarian arguments about the purpose of woman and man, roles, and all the cultural (Christian and secular) junk about self-fulfillment, gender roles, etc., I just want to say I’m very happy with motherhood, with homeschooling, with our home life. I’m happy with the result inside me that submitting to these things– submitting to them as God’s will for ME (not for all womankind)– has affected. I’m happy with all the wonderful, good ways it’s changed me as a person as I’ve submitting to following Jesus Christ in these things.

It’s a happy moment, and midlife (for me) is a time of starting to enjoy the fruit from the travails of the last 10-15 yrs.

I’ll give you one moment why I’m thinking about this. Yesterday our new mixer arrived. It’s a stand-mixer and pretty big. Andre was so thrilled about this huge box sitting on our kitchen floor–He loves the kitchen– it’s so much heat, electronics, pouring, mixing, machinery, knives, cracking eggs– what’s not to love for a boy?

I wanted to keep the mixer in the box until we came back from our camping trip, but … I’m also learning from Vitaliy how to actively enter into our kids’ interests and joys (I’ve often wanted to protect myself from that, perhaps because of the exhaustion levels of pregnancy and breastfeeding and co-sleeping and all that, but I don’t have those factors in my life any more, so generally I do have more energy) …

So I decided to enter into his joy and interest and get the mixer out. So we did– we examined all the parts– it’s a mixer, a blender, and a meat grinder all in one– We set up all the attachments, and he wanted to make frozen-banana ice cream in the blender … So we did that, too, adding milk, frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, strawberry syrup– I laugh about it now, how sugary-sweet our concoction was, but he was having such fun plopping and pouring things in, watching the funnel form in the thick mixture.

We had a fun time, and I’m glad I entered into his joy and fascination. I still feel the joy of that today.

He’s so tall; he’s made so much reading progress; he’s so growing up. It’s just amazing and it gives me joy.

“Being a mom is the best and most important job EVER,” this shocking thought went through my brain this morning.

I will remind you (and me) of what I USED to think, when my first two kids were little and I was struggling with all the sacrifices: “I will never miss THIS! Never!” That’s what I used to think.

Now I think this is the best thing ever. …. 🙂

So that’s something I enjoy about midlife. It might be the “long middle” (per Donald Miller’s analogy–that we don’t have the excitement of the push-off or the achievement of the end– we’re just rowing in the long, in-between dark)– so it’s the long middle, but the long middle also has it’s joys, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

I was thinking also yesterday, that transitioning out of the pregnancy-birth phase contributes to these midlife feelings– pregnancy and birth give a type of excitement, anticipation, something to plan for and be interested in, partnering with God in creation. But this phase doesn’t have that particular excitement or scheduling any more. So I’m thinking about what to switch to– What to LEARN TO enjoy and anticipate and mark as milestones in this midlife phase.

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