i cried, the other day, over spilled milk. it was tuesday, and two out of four boys in their high chairs and thomas the train choo-chooing across the screen.

i turned to the television, baby in arm, to adjust the sound and that’s when he threw it–jin–he threw his sippy cup and it broke across the hardwood and i stared at the white, all of that white, and i broke too. baby in my arms.

and perhaps this was a mistake i muttered wiping, in the corners of four o’clock and the day one of those never-ending. then the other came up the stairs telling me he was hungry and i don’t think i have enough food to fill his hollow, nor enough love and i was spent all aching and long-suffered.

but this is love. this long-suffering. and even when all four kids were sick this week and us, up multiple times with Tylenol and cold cloths and warm arms and tucking of blankets and stumbling back to bed praying for even half an hour’s rest; even when i got sick and circled the toilet and said, “this is so hard,” to trent, we knew. we knew, and we know, we are doing the right thing.

because of them. because of him, with his goggles and his special red bag which holds his treats and his life. because of the way he doesn’t cry for mommy anymore each night, and he prays for the meal before we even sit down, and he talks all of the time about batman and robin and “i’m a soldier” he says, and we nod politely.

and because of the other, who smiles like the sun when he sees me in the morning and lifts his arms and spends hours outside toddling around in his little blue snowsuit and spiderman toque.

it is not easy. but a village is raising these children. literally.

starting this coming week, we have people from the church taking turns babysitting so i can write and hug tight my own boys and stop crying over spilled milk.

and there is an end in sight; there is november, when their mother will finish school and she’s told us she thinks she can take them back then. that she’ll be strong enough by then, and this is good.

i doubt sometimes, i do. when they’re all four crying and me, with just two arms and a headache, but then i see birds and i’ve seen so many this week and i know you’re praying. their wings lifting me, and i know, it’s okay to feel weak.

because Jesus is all about being strong.