Rain pummeled the roof at midnight. Thunder rumbled angry and proud, startling my six-year-old from peaceful slumber. She crawled under the covers beside me.
April showers, I thought, as I drifted back to sleep. How lovely.
We woke at sunrise to discover the world had frozen overnight. Sometime in the wee hours, a cold front seized our portion of the state and crystallized every tree branch and power line for miles around. Birches and oaks transformed to chandeliers, glistening with teeth-chattering layers of rain. And all our hopes for budding leaves and tulips and hopscotch games—they froze, too.
Dang ice storm.
Welcome to Wisconsin.
The dairy state is my home sweet home. But on days like these, it feels more like a cage—oppressive and merciless. Everywhere on the city streets, glossy spears hurled to the ground, threatening trepid cars at random. I watched from my living room window while ice chunks dislodged from burdened branches and pelted our frozen lawn. Down the block, a neighbor’s chainsaw whirred, severing a cracked and once-mighty willow.
Where oh where is spring? In other parts of the country, I imagine children run barefoot in the yard, chasing butterflies and dusting sidewalk chalk off their knees. Here we can only dream of that kind of liberty while we scrape car windows and salt the driveway for the hundredth time since fall. Somewhere else, people are free. Somewhere else, people aren’t suffering like me.
I think about motherhood that way sometimes.
When I’m frustrated by too much noise and not enough quiet.
When kids bicker and cry, pasta boils over, permission slips go missing, and floors collect dirt and stray socks and Lego shrapnel day after day after ever-loving day.
In those hours when all I want to do is plop my grumpy self in a chair with a bowl of popcorn and a Lark Rise DVD, but the TV is stuck on Bubble Guppies.
That’s when my house starts to feel like a cage. And my eyes wander to the window, where I’m convinced other women on the outside are living free.
As if I’m not supposed to be here, frozen in this perpetual mom thing.
Oh, please. How easily I neglect the obvious.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made,” (John 1:3).
Do you want proof that you’re in the right place? Just look at your kids.
Only God creates people. My children are his design, given to me by him and him alone. Sure, I decided to get pregnant. I decided to pursue family life. Just like I decided to buy a house in the Wisconsin tundra, so suck it up, right?
Not quite. When it comes to parenting, my choices can only go so far. Ultimately, motherhood wasn’t really my decision. God chose for me. He chose to bless my hopes for children. He chose to make me a mom.
And God never makes mistakes.
Parenting is what I am supposed to do. It might not be all I’m supposed to do—the balance is different for everyone. And yes, there might even be greener, blessedly unfrozen grass somewhere else on the planet. But it’s not for me. It’s not for you. If we have children, we have an assignment from God, written specifically for us. Nobody else’s life, nobody else’s kids, and nobody else’s thawed back yard is better.
Wisconsin has its merits. I love our summers. Just like I love the laughter and hugs and ice cream runs of family life. They paint over the gloomy days and remind me that this life—this beautiful, ordinary life—is more than worthwhile. It’s exactly where I’m supposed to be.
God says so. And I believe him. Do you?