My Moments of Redemption

When life gets really, really hard, I often find that a small, teeny tiny moment will appear in the haze and give me just as much encouragement as I needed at that exact time. Enough to help me buck up and keep going. Do you know what I'm talking about? Have you experienced that before?

I've had it happen many times in my young adult life—which I'm by no means saying I'm not a young adult anymore, the 30s haven't hit me quite yet so slow your roll!—whether it was in the midst of a treacherous part of my teenage years, a tumultuous part of my early 20s or simply the challenges of a my post-grad college student days while trying to make my mark on the world. I would feel defeated or lost or inconsolable, and then a moment would happen and it wouldn't fix everything but it would lift my chin just enough so that I could see the goal again.

photo from a 2010 trip to spain
Thank God for these moments, right? I mean, life wasn't meant to be a walk in the park—even when we feel like everyone else's life is a walk in the park, whether that's truth or not—and it's perfectly normal, hell perfectly acceptable, to be down in the dirt once in awhile. Those days happen. They happen to the people who are seemingly a mess all the time and they sure as the dickens happen to those perfect people that seem to have everything tied up in the prettiest of bows. Whether you choose to let people see that side of you, that difficult, overwhelming tidal wave that bears down on the best of us, is certainly a personal decision. But just know that we all get them and it's okay. Then look for that silver lining, because I promise it's coming. It doesn't always happen right away but it'll come. You just have to wait for it.

As it's overtly documented, my life is swallowed up by my constant reality that I'm a mom to toddler quadruplets and they consume every waking second of my life. Sometimes they even intrude on the unwaking seconds, too, and that really tries my patience! But God decided that I could handle it and I can't even begin to count the number of days that I truly wonder if He thought far too much of me. I have dealt with some pretty heavy stuff in my life and some impressively heavy obstacles from a young age, but having quadruplets has been the most difficult thing I think I've ever experienced. Yet God doesn't make mistakes and in His infinite grace and wisdom, He has given me the strength and endurance I've needed to survive it all. From the difficult pregnancy to our NICU journey with the babies to my continuing recovery more than two years later, He's never left my side. It's like a trail of bread crumbs, if you will, that simply leads me from one step to the next. Never faster, never slower, just one step, one day at a time.

In the beginning of our adventure with four babies at home (they were two months old once they all graduated from the NICU), we were sleep deprived beyond belief and challenged beyond measure. Many of you know that story well by now and I appreciate that you're still here reading! The husband and I—as well as our parents who so graciously helped us through—experienced many days during which we felt like we couldn't take anymore. Then a baby would roll over or smile or laugh, or we'd get a rare break to go out for dinner together and reconnect or a chance to sleep for an extra hour, and somewhere deep down we'd find that ability to muster and do another bottle feeding or change our 24th diaper in as many hours.

Now, at two years of age, our sweet quad squad is challenging us and themselves more and more. There are the littlest of moments that keep me going on a daily basis for which I am so grateful. Like the afternoons when all four monkeys decide to stop climbing the walls and actually sleep...at the same time....for more than two hours. And then I go to check the mail and find it full of new reading material and Netflix DVDs.

Or the solid 30 minutes I get when new toys are introduced and they're all infatuated and play contentedly before screaming like hyenas because she touched my arm and I pulled her hair, mommy. I value the menu of sure-fire meals that the quads will inhale when I don't feel like playing the guessing game about who's going to actually eat their scrambled eggs this morning when I made extra last time by request and no one touched them. I love the moments when I've had enough of the bickering and complaining and wonder just how long the teething is going to last, when I look in the play room and spot a completely naked toddler putting her pots in the play kitchen's oven and cooking up a storm without a second thought.

A perfect weather day is very treasured when we can spend time outdoors sans any ear-piercing screams or encroachment on personal space, and also not worry about triple digit heat, overzealous mosquitos or the two-minute sunburn. And thank God, thank the sweet Jesus, for Bubble Guppies, Paw Patrol and, dare I say it, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse—they are responsible for peace keeping and sanity saving on a near-daily basis. They are also often the reason that the laundry got washed or the dishwasher was actually emptied. (But don't judge me on the fact that clean clothes never get put away, they seem to simply get pulled from the basket until it's empty and ready to refill!)

I think the majority of my consolable moments happen at the beginning and end of each day. That's a pretty perfect place for them to occur, too, since I'm always excited and happy to see my babies in the morning and, after an incredibly long day, I feel nostalgic and motherly as I put them to bed. Logan will pat her mattress and say, "Now lay down, mommy," when I turn out the light and I'll lay with her beside me and Trystan on my stomach while we watch their projector light dance on the ceiling for a few minutes before I kiss them goodnight. Or Harrison will say, "Mommy rock you?" on nights I'm tucking them into bed and I cuddle up with him and Kailey in the rocker, those two long-legged kiddos that started out so small, overflowing from my lap and their heads on my chest.

It's hard to keep a brave face on all the time, which is exactly why sometimes I think I hit a low spot so that I can be on the upward curve again. There's power in feeling rejuvenated, even if it's just for an afternoon! The littlest moments can have the largest impact—on my life, on your life, on the life of someone you barely know. As I've matured into the person I am now and as I've learned so many compacted life lessons in the past two years, I know that I take joy in those fleeting seconds of complete determination and hope they'll help me coast onto the next phase, the next challenge. It's like a calm in the eye of the storm...
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  1. Amber, please do consult your mother on this. I am all IN with your writing only not having them four at the same moment. But my message is you will one day think yourself like the best praised woman ever! Just keep on having the attitude you have.
    No if you pls this was just for you and NOT for everyone. 💐

  2. Amber you never cease to amaze me. You are so right, life is not always what we had hoped, and there are days where you wonder God why me. I pray that you continue the wonderful attitude you have. Each stage of the Quads life there are going to be times that are going to really try you, but as they do now, they will make you laugh, smile, and shed a tear at their accompliishments,
    Thanks for sharing, and I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers that everything goes well with your surgery tomorrow.
    ps..Love all the pics of the kids:)

  3. Those moments make the tough ones so worth it!

  4. Beautifully written. And yes, I know the feeling of that moment of relief or encouragement when God lifts you up and, all of a sudden, you can carry on. Restoration. Great post. The kiddo's pictures are darling - Jamie Oliver has nothing on your "Naked Chef."

  5. Amber, I loved this, and will put the Proverbs 31 women over your head....you do it all, and with style, love and grace. Wonderful written, and read with smiles and tears in my eyes. So glad I met your mom in blogland, and then you and your wonderful family.

  6. You're amazing. Exhaustion will make even the strongest person crumble for a spell, then we pull it all together and move on. I appreciate your honesty and it will encourage lots of Moms. I hope your surgery brings some much needed pain relief for you.

  7. Beautifully written! I don't have a clue how you do everything and I certainly can understand the overwhelm that can happen. You are just one person with 4 little ones most of the time so see if you can pat yourself on the shoulder and say, "Good job!" Your mom is a treasure and I know you had a great example.


  8. Oh how I understand these sentiments. Not a day goes by that I don't wonder why God thought quads was a great idea, but then little tidbits remind me just how perfect they are for our family. Keep finding the moments of redemption and savoring the little things because these years are flying FAST. xoxo, Amber

  9. Amber - what a wonderful sentiment, and so beautifully put. My twins are four months old, and things are finally settling down just a bit, but I do need to remind myself excactly what you've said - that God knows exactly how much we can handle and would never give us more (although I too have had moments where I thought he believed I was capable of a little more than I actually am!). You've done so wonderfully with your sweet crew of babes - double the size of ours!


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