02 Apr Momspiration Monday /// Tova’s Story
When I was growing up and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I had one answer. I wanted to be a mom. Some people would often have a follow up question – “How many children would you like?” I would say 18. 18! Who says 18? The point is this……I had one dream – and that was to be a mom.
I married my high school sweetheart in 1999 – and 6 months later was pregnant. This was the beginning of all my dreams coming true.
Until all those dreams were shattered.
For the next five years I would be pregnant 4 times. My first pregnancy ended at 8 months with a stillborn. My second pregnancy was a miscarriage at 10 weeks. My third pregnancy I gave birth to the most beautiful boy that ever lived – my precious Charlie. Charlie was born with a very rare metabolic disease called mitochondrial disease and died in my arms 8 months later. His smiling sister was born a little over a year later with the same disease. Louisa joined her brother in heaven at 8 months old as well.
I had been pregnant four times, buried 3 children and wanted more than anything to die so I could just go to heaven and be with them. It was 2005 and I walked around in a complete daze without a purpose, desire and absolutely no fight left in me. The sadness was overwhelming. Just getting out of bed felt like running a marathon barefoot in quicksand.
My body couldn’t make a healthy baby. I resigned in those moments that my dream was over. I was never going to be a mom again. I shut the door to their room and walked away from the one thing I felt like I was created for. The only thing I ever wanted to do was taken from me – stolen – ripped right out of my arms – and was never coming back.
Friends and family were devastated for me. And so naturally, they would try to help me find solutions….”You can adopt!” “What about an egg donor?” “A surrogant?”
I was not amused.
In 2009 I went to Africa for 10 days to work at an orphanage and I saw them. I called my husband, hands shaking, and said, “Honey, we have three children in Africa.”
A year – blood, sweat, tears and a story that would rival War and Peace – later my children were home. The twins – Carter and Anna-Prin were 6. Their biological little brother George was 5. I remember the day they arrived we were all sitting in the kitchen eating strawberries and peanut butter and jelly just looking at each other. I am confident everyone was thinking, “Well, now what?”
The first year was blissful – and I promised myself over and over and over again that I would NEVER EVER take them for granted. I would soak up every moment, be fully present, create joy and never miss an opportunity to laugh and giggle and say I love you. Joy filled our home in ways I hadn’t felt in years.
But just like that new shirt you swore you would never grow tired of finds it’s way to the back of the closet – I got “used” to being a mom. Something I swore to myself I would never do. I had buried children – I mean NO ONE knew more than me how precious THIS moment was and how lucky I was to be in it.
Until….I started to forget.
Everything I was doing – that I used to jealous of that other moms were doing – things like making breakfast and reading books and cuddling at night all started to feel hard and tiring and overwhelming…….and the joy was slipping. I could feel it. And my children could too. Their innocent eyes were often wondering, “Which mommy are we going to get today? The happy one? Cranky one? Tired one? Overwhelmed one?”
I knew what I was doing. I just didn’t know how to stop.
Until one day I read something so simple – yet so profound.
“Joy is a choice.”
I just stared at it. Those words poured over my soul like warm milk on an empty stomach.
Joy is a choice. Joy was MY choice. I was just choosing not to make it. And that’s when everything changed.
From that moment on I decided to make JOY my choice as a mom.
Joy became my mantra.
And I never looked back.
Every morning I wake up and before I get out of bed I pray for God to be my partner. My JOY PARTNER. I turn on happy music – sometimes it’s Madonna from the 80’s – other days it’s Rascal Flatts – some mornings it’s Jesus music – but I blast it and dance around my kids rooms (they are now 14 and 12) to wake them. They pretend to hate it. If it ever ended I’d bet my life they would protest and when I die I swear it’s what they are going to talk about the day they bury me. Then I head to the kitchen and bounce around while I sling bacon and eggs. I turn the music down while they are eating so we can read devotional and make Jesus goals for the day. I clean up while they brush their teeth and grab lunches and on the way to school we talk about how we can be praying for each other for the day. When I pick them up after school the first thing I do when I see them is throw my arms up and smile like they just made the winning touchdown at the Superbowl. Seeing them again is the best part of my day. I want them to KNOW that. We talk about the hard and best parts of their day. When they get home they usually scatter like rats to do homework or decompress. I fight hard for family dinner. On the nights I win we do trivia and never talk about anything hard or stressful around the dinner table. I want dinner to be happy, safe – and get this……JOYFUL.
To be honest, most days this has become an incredibly easy way – a habit. On the mornings my old self creeps in – I fake it. I fake it til I make it. Why? Because joy is a choice. I only have 3 ½ years left with my twins and 5 ½ with George. Then it will be their turn. It will be their turn to create their life – their space – their homes. I pray they remember what we created together and fight for the same choice in their home. Never forgetting how blessed we are to be here. I pray when given a choice – they will always always always………..chose joy.
Tova Sido was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. After graduating college in 1993, Tova worked 10 years in corporate America as a Marketing Director for companies such as Intel and The Cooper Aerobics Center. After having a still born, a miscarriage and then losing two children – Charlie in 2003 and Louisa in 2005, Tova’s dreams were shattered. Jesus quickly pulled her out of quicksand with a call to ministry. For 10 years Tova worked as a Youth and Family Pastor as well as Campus Pastor of Cornerstone at Highland Park United Methodist Church. Tova now speaks, teaches, and is the author of several devotionals as well as Borrowed Courage. Her favorite job is being mom to three adopted children from Ghana – Carter, Anna-Prin and George.
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