Baby, You Made My Decade

Sara's Dress sculpture

On the Fridge

Sonia's Flower Gift

Sara's Greenhouse

She stopped eating. Just like that. The childcare workers were frantic. Babies don't go without food for ten hours straight. But my girl did.

The doctor told us, "Some babies will go on a hunger strike if they're unhappy. Then the doctor asked, 'Has something changed in Sara's life?'" Well, yes. I'd gone back to work, and now, in her baby way my girl was saying, "Mommy, come home." Seven months old and she forced me to stand at the crossroads and choose: let her suffer, or quit my job.

How could I explain what she was asking me to forfeit? Could her infant heart understand the concept of identity and passion, needs and wants? I was a teacher. I loved my job. I went back to work, because I couldn't imagine life without this career I'd prepared for, prayed for, struggled to obtain.

For two weeks I faced the awful truth: my baby wanted me by her side and I could not be there if I kept my job. It was one of the hardest decisions I'd ever faced. But in the end, I couldn't ignore her plea.

I wish I could say that I quit my job and everything was joy from that day on. But no. I missed work. I missed my friends. I missed the social respect that came with having a "real" career. For three years I faced a new kind of loneliness that was only partly balanced by my love for my little girl.

Now the years have gone by, and today I am a home educator. Yes that's my refrigerator (above), cluttered with Greek and Hebrew letters. The feathered dress sculpture and the greenhouse are the work of my Sara's hands. The forsythia placed on my mug and photographed lovingly is the artistry of my second daughter Sonia.

It's been twelve years since I left my job as a teacher; but no, I didn't leave teaching at all. Still, I didn't know this when I stood at the crossroads and chose. I didn't know that encouragement was on the way and that sometimes it takes years to unfold. But I can say to my girl today, "Baby, you made my decade. Thank you so much for calling me home."

This story is offered to welcome the new site InCourage. Check it out; maybe you have a story to share too. The story is also told (albeit in a different form) in Stone Crossings: Finding Grace in Hard and Hidden Places.

More dress sculpture photos here.

Photos by L.L. Barkat. Dress sculpture and Greenhouse made by Sara B. Forsythia on Cup by Sonia B.

Coming into Wild Roses, at Love Notes to Yahweh
Nothing in Return, at Seedlings in Stone

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Blogger Children of Eve said...

A very touching post. The rewards are great with the path you have chosen. You are blessed.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I love this story...it tugs at my own heart so, just now.

12:58 AM  
Blogger Glynn said...

This is one of the stories in Stone Crossings that really stuck with me. It would be easy, and I think wrong, to use the word "sacrifice" here. I think the words that work better are "love" and "ministry."

8:22 AM  
Blogger kirsten michelle said...

i want to take this story and tuck it in my pocket.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

found this story through {in}courage~ absolutely beautiful & inspiring!

loved it.

amber (http://hutch5.xanga.com/)

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Holley Gerth said...

What a beautiful picture of how love works--that when we open our hands thinking we are letting go so often instead we are preparing to receive. God's mysterious, wonderful ways. Thank you for sharing this and for stopping by (in)courage!

8:04 PM  
Blogger The Writer Chic said...

Here from (in)courage....there are already 50+ post linked up, so I'm just hitting random links before turning in for the night.

God led me to yours, I have no doubt. You have blessed me this evening. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for listening to the call all those years ago.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

she called you home. this stops me in my tracks.

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Bernice Shupe said...

I am so thankful you listened and stayed home! Good for you! May God continue to bless you for listening to the heart of a child.
I took out my retirement from teaching before I was married to a farmer at age 30. Wanted to have a large family, and no one else was going to raise them! God sent us 7 sons - giving birth to the last at age 46. How blessed I am! They went to a Christian school and a Christian college almost 1,000 from home, but God has continued to bless. What an impact I could have on Christopher, Peter, Paul, Jonathan, David, Aaron and Andrew! And hopefully will be on our grandchildren, as well. I know how blessed you are and I rejoice with you! Ann Voskamp will be Keynote Speaker for our 29th Christian Parenting Day on May 2, 2010 in Pigeon, MI. All are welcome to attend! Day is free with child care available up to age 12. What a God we serve!!

5:38 PM  
Blogger Monica Sharman said...

Anyone with vibrant Hebrew letters on the fridge has GOT to be TOO COOL.
Yes, you are TOO COOL.

11:23 PM  

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