The last day of daycare for my little girl was when she was just a week or more than two years old. I vividly remember picking her up and saying good-bye to the wonderful people who had loved and nurtured her while I was at work each day. The joy that I had in putting her in the car seat and telling her we were going home to her newborn brother was incredible. A year later a sister was born and we could only be described as a tangle of arms, legs and giggles in the floor.
Our days were spent managing chaos with friends in similar situations, all of us learning from each other. I wish I could be that mom who is able to say that it was such a fulfilling time of life, but it mostly wasn’t. I felt so blessed to be able to be home with my treasures, but it was hard to get in there and stay in there, to be the jungle gym they played on and the one that they cried and vomited on. So many times I wanted to pull back and declare my independence from small people for a while. But I couldn’t, at least not for long. My job was to be accessible to my children; in the morning, at lunch, after naps, during the crazy hour, through dinner and baths and reading and through the flippin’ night. It was my privilege and my burden at the same time.
Through the years those sweet babies grew and started school one by one. My life changed with them, I had time to offer Bible studies, to encourage other moms and to help out when they needed a sitter or a hot dinner. I started mentoring some teen-aged girls and eventually even went back to work part-time, helping a friend get a business off the ground. There wasn’t some grand plan for me, I took the days and weeks as they came, and tried to be accessible to as many women as I could. During this time I walked with women through pregnancies, miscarriages, divorces and infertility and many other issues; I didn’t have all the answers or expertise, but I had the time to give.
Nowadays I have three teens that are very capable, and our plan was that by now I would be well into a career again. My guy is completely supportive of whatever I want to do, so there is no pressure to work, but it seemed like the obvious next step. Except it’s not so far. What God placed in me more than 16 years ago was a willingness to be accessible to others and He hasn’t removed it yet. That gift has plunked me in awkward situations in police stations, in hospitals, court houses and doctors’ offices and in many living rooms.
Most of these events are pivotal moments in someone else’s life, and for some reason I have been invited into the room to bear witness to the life changes. Many have been hard to watch, and are things that I cannot discuss the next day or even the next year, out of respect for their privacy. I have a friend who does similar work, and she says that we are in the ministry of accessibility. I like that. I don’t really expect anyone else to understand what I do, because I stumble around when I try to explain it, and often I don’t fully get it, either. But at the end of each day, I do believe that I am doing the work that God made me to do.