I was mopping my son’s floor for what seemed like the hundredth time that week when a song came on his DVD player. The tune caught my attention, and I looked up at the TV screen. I saw the woman I envied, singing with her husband.
The couple’s names were Joey and Rory Feek. They had been married quite a few years and had no children. They travelled singing and ministering to people with beautiful songs of God’s love and forgiveness.
Joey had an exotic beauty to her. With her long, shiny, black hair, dazzling white smile and slim body, she looked like a runway model.
My son Kyle has severe autism. At the time he was twenty-five. He had been going through a couple of tough years. I was wiping up his feces many times a day that he spread throughout his bedroom. We had bought him a new Gaither DVD, and I had never heard of this couple before.
As I stared at Joey’s beautiful face, envy seeped into my heart. She was everything I wasn’t.
I looked down at my poop smeared clothes and my mop. I saw my reflection in Kyle’s window and looked at my muffin top silhouette, my frizzy hair I had since birth, and my tired face.
Kyle had kept me up every night for twenty-five years. I usually slept for 3-5 hours.
“God, why can’t I have her life?”
It was looking pretty good from where I was standing.
A few years later…
Last night I couldn’t sleep it was 9:30pm. I got out my Ipad and searched Netflix…nothing. Then I went over to Pureflix (click HERE to check it out).
Immediately, To Joey, With Love, showed up in the choices. I clicked on the movie and watched Joey’s life story.
It started at the beginning with Joey pregnant with their first child, and she was almost forty years old. I had heard years before that Joey hadn’t wanted to have kids. Rory explained more in the movie. Joey was at her midwife appointment, and Rory’s was narrating. He said Joey’s choice was because she thought she wouldn’t be a good mother.
My heart squeezed. I had never had that feeling.
Somehow I knew I would be a good mother and had my first baby at age twenty and my fifth one by age twenty-seven.
Rory said he had a sense that he was to start taping their life and that God had a story to tell. He began filming weekly while Joey was pregnant. They lived on a farm, and he filmed life on the farm as they waited for their baby.
Then the big day came, and Joey delivered at home with the midwife’s help. A sweet little baby girl named Indiana made her appearance. Joey hardly made a peep as she calmly went through labour.
Then they got the news Indiana had Down syndrome. A few tears, some hugs, kisses, and prayers and then acceptance, and they moved on with their new life. Watching their journey in the movie was beautiful. Joey and Rory wanted what God wanted. They saw Indiana as a blessing and gift. Their baby was quiet and adorable and she hardly ever made a peep.
Joey was a loving, sweet, and tender mother. She loved her baby. I saw her walk around her farm with her sweet Indiana, go on trips with her baby and attend family gatherings.
They had a beautiful life.
Then tragic news: Joey had cervical cancer. After treatment and removal, they were filled with hope. Joey seemed overly joyful to be given a second chance. She went home and enjoyed every moment with her baby and husband.
Then she began to feel tired, was losing weight, and had constant pain in her stomach. Tests revealed she was once again battling cancer. More treatment and surgery. But the cancer was aggressive and wasn’t giving up the battle. Joey decided to forgo any more treatment and spend her last days enjoying her family.
I sat watching her story unfold before my eyes, and a pang of guilt came over me. Joey had appeared on my son’s TV screen, a few years ago. I had wished I could have her life of leisure, travel and excitement as I held the mop in my poop smeared clothes.
Joey and I really didn’t have much in common. We had lived polar opposite lives.
- Read my story, Beauty from Ashes: CLICK HERE
But if I could have sat down with her after she had Indiana, we would have had plenty to talk about. She and I both had special needs children, both our first born. Joey had loved a child the world hadn’t valued. She had known what it felt like to have a little human utterly dependent on her to live.
Joey had been given a baby who wasn’t perfect, yet was perfect for her.
She had realized the world had lots to offer but nothing that felt or looked like motherhood. Joey had realized she was a good mother.
She was also deeply in love with her husband, Joey and I could have talked about the men in our lives that were amazing fathers and husbands. We both had marriages that we cherished dearly.
I wish I could have sat and spent time building her up, instead of spending the time I had – envying her life. (Read: Ten Ways Women Can Build each Other up)
Somehow as Joey was dying, I got the sense that she would have loved to have stayed on this earth a little longer. Maybe if she could have been standing in the bedroom with me as I was holding my mop, she may have said to me, if she had known her future, “I wish I could have your life, Cindy.”
I was given five beautiful children I loved dearly and was able to raise them until they were grown. I didn’t leave this world early.
How about you, are you THAT mom? The one wishing you could have the magazine-worthy life?
Did you stand in the grocery store this week and see the photos of perfect faces and bodies lounging on beaches, on the front covers of magazines, and wish you had that life? Maybe you even looked down at your dishevelled clothes and mom-body comparing yourself.
But if you look into the eyes of your little ones, they see beauty in it’s purest form. A mother who loves them and sacrifices for them every day.
Motherhood in all its ups and downs is one of the most beautiful moments in time you will experience. The joy you can experience with your family in the everyday mundane tasks is indeed a gift.
We don’t know what other women are going through even if their world seems glamorous from the outside.
Embrace the little people you’ve been given because you are blessed to have them call you Mommy. Be honoured knowing you’ve been chosen to be their mother, tear drier, boo-boo kisser, cheerleader, hope-giver…and mopper-upper.
*Follow Rory Feek on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roryfeek/?ref=br_rs