Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make new friends but keep the old...

join in there, come on, you know the words! Okay, yes, that is a rather hokey way to start the day!
John and I attended a reunion yesterday of the paramedic crew he worked with when we first met and stayed with for a few more years after that. What a crowd!

The guy who was John's best man, Doogie, threw the party. Doogie was a character and I take great comfort in knowing some things never change!

I have to say, after seeing the stove in the kitchen of Doogie, I did think of leaving John for it, just for a minute, but yeah, that is one great stove!

It was fun to catch up and remember stories and to watch watching him talk cop/medic.

But the BEST part of the day, and I do mean the best part of the day was watching John watch "the baby".

There were other babies at the party but Regan stole our hearts on Facebook before we got there. She is the perfect baby girl of old friends, Lisa and Danny. Great recipe guys! She is precious!

Watching John watch Regan made my whole day. He had that "we need another one" look on him that I know so well! I don't remember seeing it when we were still in the baby making season of our lives but I do see it a lot now. Maybe I don't remember seeing it then because we always had a new one. I loved that season with all my heart.

Letting go of it was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

After Maggie was born, the doctor made it very clear that she was it. There would be no more children born to Maryellen. I would need extensive surgery to repair me after so many babies...yeah, lets not discuss it. Bad enough my nether region was on the prayer chain at the time!

I cried a lot when the reality of not having any more babies settled onto my heart. I was so sad! I had to take a long honest look at my "why" for that heart ache.

The answer was all about Me, Myself, and I...the three of us became the un-holy trinity of self absorption for a few weeks. I didn't spend a lot of time with God except to tell Him how hurt I was.

...and then I was so sick of the three of us that I turned to the only Three that matters. "Okay God, I have a wonderful family. I have five perfect children here. We adore them and this is a pretty darn good life. What is wrong with me?"

God being who He is didn't let me struggle on this answer for long. There are seasons the "why" comes slower and sometimes not at all. But this one came quickly.

I had always taken my identity in what I was doing: Maryellen, Ellen Brennan's daughter/caregiver. Maryellen, nurse. Maryellen, John's wife. Maryellen the young mom with all the babies....

I remember clearly struggling like crazy after Mom died. I had been her caregiver for so long it became my identity. Even though I was a nurse and I made my living caring for people, it was not the I got a new identity:Wife.

Soon after I got another title: Mommy to Liz...Caity...Brennan...Jack...Maggie.

I spent my days in the chaos of wifedom and mommyhood. I didn't contemplate who I was. Honestly who could have had the time? Life was busy and good and when things got to the normal stage, we would have another baby and then life was busier and gooder~er and I got to walk in a bit of pride as I told people that we had so many children. I was the mommy chasing someone with a baby on my hip.

...and then I had to realize I would not get to have anymore babies. I would still be mom of many but my identity would not be "young mom with new baby."

So who in the world is Maryellen?

God unwrapped the gift of the only title that matters to my heart one early morning as I sat before Him: Child of Mine.

I had loved Him since I was a little girl so how could it be that I only realized that I was His when I was 35 years old? I am not sure I can convey how important KNOWING that He called me His own was in that moment. But our conversation, sans the burning bush or the audible voice went something like this:

God, "If you lost John, would you still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "If you were no longer a nurse, would you still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "Were you still mine when you lost your mom?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."
God, "If you lost all of your children, would still be mine?"
Me, "Yes, Lord."

It took the air out of all my fears.

No title will ever matter and the only one I get to keep through all eternity, is "Child of God."

As long as there are people walking dirt side, I will be known as Maryellen Schlusser, mommy, RN, author, blogger, home owner, prayer, heck, I've even been called a good person now and a then (teachers note: did I use the right "then" or is it "than" this time. See, I don't care!) grammar forgetter, I am an American, a New Yorker, a staunch conservative, a red head, lousy speller So-and_so's Mom...

Truth is these are all things that describe me but my identity is in Christ. And nothing can separate me from that fact.

So, no more babies, at least not home made ones. We have come to enjoy the freedoms gained by raising our children and the joy that comes with not having a diaper to change or feeding to give or toddler to chase.

As John prepares to retire in a little over a week, I won't be a cop's wife anymore. I will become a retired cop's wife and I do plan to stress that fact when I get pulled over...if I were to get pulled over that is!

....the kids and John for that matter, may run into a bit of an identity crisis for a time. So I guess my job for the moment will be to remind everyone that our identity comes from Christ and that is all that matters.

In the meantime, I will try not to be a creepy baby freak when I see a new one in the supermarket...but I can only try!

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