Jan 27 3 Comments

Mothering is like eating play-doh pizza—never dull

My three miracles

There are lots of things to like about motherhood. One of them is nursing a baby, another one is having a cup of tea with your teenager. Then between those two extremes are watching your child learning to walk, losing the first tooth, figuring out how to write her name, pushing her on the swing, going to endless soccer practices, making cookies, teaching her how to pick up after herself, reading Going on a bear-hunt at least 100 times, eating play-doh food and planning birthday parties.

Being a mother is this and a lot more. Being a mother is the occupation that we are the least prepared for, and the most rewarded for. I love being a mom more than I have loved anything else I have done in my life.

In the early days of digital cameras being a mother meant to dress your kids in the same dresses and go to church for Christmas. Glad the fashions have changed, aren't you?

Today I am celebrating my 15th anniversary of being a mom. Elise was born in Chiang Mai on a cool and breezy day 15 years ago. Then Steve and I had read all the books we found on parenting, and, like all other parents to be, we knew exactly how to raise a child. The first challenge we encountered was: How do we actually change a diaper? It only took a couple of nights with no sleep to realize that the books had left some stuff out. Babies have not read the parenting books, so they don’t know how the pros expect them to behave.

With Elise though, we got what we did not deserve. A beautiful child who slept on schedule at three weeks, who grew up to say things like: “Never mind, I don’t need any gifts for Christmas. I have everything I need,” when she was five. And who said: “I really hate it when I say mean things to my sister, it makes me feel bad inside.” She was a child who gives her money and stuff away to the refugees, and who is not able to tell a lie no matter how hard she tries. We got a child who is creative beyond her years, and who will put justice before comfort almost always (the only times that rule seem to not apply is when her sisters are involved, and some clothes they have borrowed.)

At five Elise decided that she wanted to give toys to the refugees for Christmas. Here she is at our first Christmas project.

At 15 she is showing me how to be a good neighbor, how not to judge other people and how to not be controlled by fear. She is also teaching me what is cool and what is not. That is important. I have, for example, learned that my knitted hat needs to have a 30 degree curve on the back, not stay straight up in the air.

I am so glad that we got Elise, and then Naomi and Kristin. How perfect that we got exactly the kids that fit with our family’s DNA. It would have been a real bummer if we had gotten the kind of kids we watch on Disney channel.

Being Elise's mom—so much more fun than having a Miley Cyrus.

Happy birthday to Elise. And happy birthday to me who have been a mom for so long that I can actually start teaching people about how to raise kids.


  • Elizabeth L. Baker says:

    Congratulations, Elise, Steve, Oddny and sisters!!!
    We too are happy for your family. Oddny, you express the joys and trials so well. In fact I’d just hung up from congratulating my nephew, Dave on the birth of his little girl about 9 days ago. I sent them this blog.

    Also, just yesterday a B&B guest commented on your picture with Laura Bush on my refrigerator. It gives occassion to give God glory for his work in your life and ministry. PTL!

    Love, Elizabeth

  • lynnie says:

    I still am confused as to how to give advise to new parents… My personal best “living life thing” I have ever had the priviledge to do was to have four of the most wonderful sons on earth. My kids have always taught me about life.They still tell me all about how I do not need to worry and how I did this or that right, but in my heart of hearts i look at all the ways I could have been so much better. I think it is because I started bearing children at the age of 18. Now at almost 62 i still remember each of the days of their birth as though it was THE most exciting thing that ever happened to me.
    I remember those red dresses…..They looked so cute. I love my granddaughters at every single age and if it were not for your love of mothering where would I be as a grandma? I love that you love best the same thing I always thought was the highest calling, motherhood.

  • Dorothy says:

    Happy Birthday Elise! Thank you for being the very first grandchild and officially adopting us a grandparents. We are so proud of you and we love you.