Along with being a wife and mother to 5, Aimee Brown has been a second mother to hundreds of others- and indirectly- to thousands! Her influence stretches far and wide, because that’s always been her posture- open and welcoming to anyone and everyone. She seems to give away an overflowing basket of love to anyone who brushes her space. She poured that love into me when she and her husband pastored my youth group growing up. She’s always seen beauty in me even and especially when I couldn’t/can’t see it in myself, and a good deal of who I am today I owe to that sight and the encouragement that accompanied it.
I just know you need to hear her words today. Hear from a true artist of love, one who has made motherhood into an art.
Welcome to my front porch!
Come on up and make yourselves comfy. I’ve got coffee brewing and muffins fresh from the oven for you to enjoy. I want you to feel loved and accepted here, so just take a load off for a moment to be encouraged on this beautiful journey called mommyhood.
Let me remind you, precious Mama, that you are treasured and highly regarded by our Loving God. That you are a difference maker in the lives of your children-that yes you are doing a fantastic job of loving them well, especially on those days you feel as if you have utterly failed them.
What I originally thought would be a journey of heartache (being told I could not carry babies) has instead become my very joy and delight; my grandest adventure. Mine is the majesty of raising up this ruckus bunch (did I mention we have four boys?) into whole-hearted folks who love God and love people with all that they are.
I remember holding my oldest, my Jack, for the very first time. I remember thinking ‘ah. This is why I have arms-to hold and protect this beatiful, perfect boy’. I recall thinking if Jack could never form words, if he could never call me Mama or tell me he loves me that everything would be okay; my love for him was enough. I whispered my thanks like a prayer….I’m so glad it’s right now.
As Jack grew, discovering his world and forming a huge imagination, I savored every moment. He giggled often, asked many questions and ran everywhere we went.
A couple years later, along came our second son, our Eli. What a gentle, kind addition he has been! He champions the underdog, he loves people so well. He is a discoverer; he loves to figure out how things work. He provides levity, he’s a peacemaker.
Our third son, our Camden, he’s a fighter. Born 6 weeks early, we were told he wouldn’t make it through childbirth. I hoped, I prayed, I begged my God in heaven for his life. Our tiny boy, our hilarious Cam- what a gift he is to us! Both tough and tender, spirited and gentle, he is brave and honest and good. He has my heart and my gumption. In those first days, when premie clothing was way too big and his suckle reflex wasn’t quite what it should be, when I was trying to make sure he received enough calories, that he was warm enough, that he would thrive…in those days as I held my sweet baby, sleep-deprived and weepy, I would whisper ‘I’m so glad you’re here, Cam; that you’re alive. You are strong and good. You will do great things……… I’m so glad it’s right now”.
Ahnna Caroline, our beautiful princess, full of such gentleness and kindness, humor and generosity. An artist, she sees beauty everywhere. Sharing with others is her second nature. I asked the Lord for a daughter one sunny afternnoon, my arms elbow-deep in soap suds in our old farmhouse. Oh the joy she has brought us! A snuggler, she just wants to be near, and I love that with my whole heart.
Our baby, our curly-headed, animal-loving, kind-hearted, darling boy, Asher. Big and deliciously chunky when he was born, instantly loved and adored by his siblings, sweet and quiet. He is a seer, he notices when someone feels left out or is shy. He loves to wrestle with his daddy and his brothers, loves to snuggle with me.
Our babies came nearly every two years (some closer together, others further apart).
These child-bearing years were the best kind of busy. But I remember. I remember taking our time, never rushing the sitting up, standing, walking. I knew these things would come. I remember the late night child-wonderings, the questions, the chats, the prayers. I remember chubby hands and messy spills and always running late (I’ve never minded being late to things, so this was never a big deal)
Don’t be in a hurry; pause so you’ll remember always the beauty of these ordinary extraordinary days.
I want to encourage your spirit of adventure Mamas, because Motherhood isn’t a pause button; it’s not an in between where your goals and dreams rest.
Motherhood is the adventure!
I’ve lived more fully in the last seventeen years because of the wonder of my children. I’ve nursed babies in downtown Mantattan, on beaches, in national parks, in restaurants, churches and everywhere in between.
Doing real, actual life with our children allows them to feel intrinsically part of this world, to know for sure they belong in any situation. Sometimes this inclusion has lead to idealic, easy breezy situations, other times we’ve had to back up and start over regarding behavior in certain settings. Always, we’re glad we choose to include our five.
If I could look each one of you in the eyes, I would tell you to trust your gut, girls. You are hard wired to know exactly what your child needs, where they should sleep (crib or co-sleeping with you), how they should be educated, which activities best suit your life, etc. True rest may be found in motherhood when we parent according to our own instincts instead of swimming around in the pool of public opinion.
The most beautiful parts of our family life occur, not on social media, but privately just among us seven. Our story is personal, sacred to my heart. Sometimes the very best moments can get lost in a haze of filters and angles. Being private doesn’t mean having a lack of authenticity, it just means I’m holding my children’s stories closely.
They enjoy having memories to recount, weaving their own takes into experiences we’ve shared. They have beautiful voices that I never want to overshadow with quick snapshots, with casual references of my own.
Our oldest, after having spent years looking back to make sure I’m right there, is now only looking ahead. He’s checking out colleges, studying for the SAT. He’s perched right on the edge of my nest, ready to fly. He’s a man now. I have to look up to see his face, his voice is deep, confident.
Our second born will soon be driving. Tall like his brother, he calls me shorty.
I am loving these days with teenagers and deep life talks. There is absolutely nowhere else I would rather be than right here with my people. They need my attention, they need my ears to truly hear.
There are few things I would do differently. I’m so glad I’ve paid attention, was present, savored.
You are enough just as you are, dear mamas. You’ve got what it takes to love your children well. Put away that imaginary measuring stick, those unreal expectations. Look your babies in the eye, smile, tell them how glad you are that they were born. Love them big, cheer for them loudly, champion them, hold them close. You are exactly who they need, especially when they push you away. These really are the glory days.
Someday in the future I may get a phone call from one of my babies recounting a grand adventure they’ve had on their own. I’ll listen, I’ll marvel, I’ll savor that conversation. Then I’ll whisper it again like a benediction….oh Jesus, thank you. I’m so glad it’s right now.
Thank you for sitting awhile on my porch awhile. I’m glad you stopped by.