This afternoon I opened an email from a friend and it contained a slide show.  Sometimes I don't take the time to open these attachments, but today for some reason I did.  It wasn't anything amazing, nothing new, but it caught my attention long enough to watch it, think about it and decide I needed to write about it.  I cried when I read it, but that doesn't mean anything because anymore that's just what I do.  I couldn't even tell Jonathan's teacher how much he admires her without tearing up yesterday at the Catholic Schools week open house.  Following is basically what the email slide show said...I've edited some of it based on what really meant something to me:

On the 6th day God created woman, but it was complicated because He had to meet so many criteria.
She must be washable, but not made of plastic, have more than 200 moving parts which all must be replaceable and she must function on all kinds of food.  She must embrace several kids at the same time, give a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart and she must do all this with only 2 hands. 
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day.  She is soft but I have also made her strong.  You can't imagine what she can endure and overcome.  She can think, reason and negotiate.  Tears are her way of expressing grief, doubts, love, lonliness, suffering and pride. 
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.  She holds happiness, love and opinions.  She smiles when feeling like screaming, sings when she feels like crying, crys when she is happy and laughs when she is afraid. 
She fights for what she belives in, stands up against injustice.  She doesn't take no for an answer when she can see a better solution.  She gives herself so her family can thrive.  HEr love is unconditional.  She cries when her kids are victorious.  She is happy  when her friends do well.  She is sad when the ones she loves are hurting.  She is glad when she hears of a birth or wedding. 
There is just one thing wrong with her:  She forgets what she is worth. 

I'm not sure which part of that hit me most.  I was encouraged because I thought, "God made me this way.  HE gave me strengths and gifts...these that this "story" refers to in a woman.  He gave them to me because  I need them to be a mother.  I've expressed before how this is the hardest job I've ever had...definitely the most emotional.  Trying everyday to make the right decisions...those that are best for my family and every day wondering just how much I may have screwed things up with the decisions I've made.  With seven kids, there seems to be a milestone achievement or meltdown at every turn.  The harder I pray it seems the harder things get.  I know Satan doesn't back down easily.  We're always in a "phase" with one of the kids.  It is Jakob's turn again.  He's reaching the age of some pretty big changes.  Those that make me so glad that Tim is here to talk to him and relate to him...I hope I can do the same with the girls, although I'd love it if he (Tim) would just take charge of that area in general with all of the kids!  He (Jakob) is expressing himself in ways that are incredibly inappropriate...blurting out things that are disrespectful, "joking" with everyone at their expense and maintaining that it is only a joke when it starts to dig too deep, then topping it off with "they just can't handle it".  Everything is stupid, a waste of time, unfair, someone else's fault...it's tiring and it has only been bad for a few weeks.  He hasn't done his chores, wakes up late, doesn't make anything a priority, is purposefully slow, bossy...This morning I was really ready to throw in the towel, wondering what criteria must be met to enroll your son at Boys Town, knowing Tim would be upset with me for even thinking that way.  It would be much easier to just tape his mouth shut and drop him off on the curb at school except that his teachers are wondering what in the world is going on with him these last couple of weeks too.  Now, I probably make it sound much worse than it really is, but none-the-less, it is quite tiring and discouraging. 

All of that being said, this media of God's "criteria" to create woman was a timely reminder that God has given me the tools to endure this "phase".  Motherhood is the vocation He intended for me and He wouldn't give me something that I can't handle.  No one ever said it was going to be easy. 

A side note:  Joe threw a big fit for Cash on Sunday...one similar to those that I am accustomed to on a random basis.  It was one thing to hear about it, but actually hearing him crying and screaming in the background made me feel helpless but with a huge desire to be the one to make it better.  I couldn't.  Not from 450 miles away.  I couldn't be the one to hug him, to hold his hand, to wipe away the tears.  (I also wasn't the one who was so frustrated that I would just want to tell him I could give him a good reason to cry!)  Not this time anyway.  It will still be another week that Joe will be gone.  We will be ready for him to be home again.