Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep
I read this poem for the first time probably 4-5 years ago. For some reason, lately, the last two lines of this poem play over and over in my head:
"So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep"
Lately, anytime something happens that is trying my patience (in mothering), this poem replays in my head. Maybe it is because Luke is rapidly becoming a boy. Or that Caleb is starting Kindergarten. Or that Chloe's voice seems to be changing.
Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: I am realizing, on a deeper level than ever before, that babies don't keep. Truthfully, it has made me a better mom.
When Luke wakes up in the middle of the night, I used to get annoyed....counting the minutes until I could be back in bed. As of late, I have been soaking up every second of it, praising God for those moments....because it won't be long until he'll be too big to rock.
Not that I am perfect at this, but when my kids are tugging on my legs to play (while I am cooking or cleaning), instead of dismissing them, I have stopped my chores and play with them.
When their behaviors are frustrating me and my patience is long gone...this may sound ridiculous....but I picture their rooms empty and them away at college.....and all of a sudden, the frustrations seem trivial.
Like I said, I have not arrived into utopia parenting. But truly realizing that "babies don't keep" has inspired me to enjoy every single moment of these little years.
I have a feeling I will look back on this time and just laugh.....things that seem such a big deal will be so trivial in the scheme of life.
I feel like God is teaching me to keep an eternal perspective. Watching Oprah a few months ago, one thing she said stood out to her is when a guest on her show was dying and he said, "In the end, it all seems so easy." He meant that so many of life's worries and problems seem so insignificant when life is nearing it's end.
I really don't want to wait until I am on my death bed to really enjoy life. I want to get busy living.
Obviously, I still have responsibilities that I have to get done, but I am working to keep a more eternal perspective. To value things that matter and not value things that don't.
God is working on my heart and mind in this area so much that I could probably write all day. I actually am loving seeing life with fresh eyes. Keeping an eternal perspective makes life more exciting. I worry less and enjoy more.
I definitely have not arrived, but I am so thankful to understand more and more how extremely blessed I am to raise these three little kids and to spend my life with the man of my dreams.