A day in young motherhood.


It's a chorus. 

laughter swells until it breaks, cries fill the empty space. A five second pause. Then a hand over foot canter as my name is called and I am found. The pitch  of the cry decides its severity, the duration correlates to the number of band aids needed.

"What happened, love? Recount it for me. Can we make it right again?"

It's a science experiment. 

 Kleenexes all over the floor.  Lego piece explosions, unwanted chap stick art.  How quickly can ice melt? how much mess can we make while we wait? look how many pieces a goldfish cracker crumbles into! watch this mom! The twinkle in the eye informs us of its level of mischief.

It's a reminding.

Sitting amidst a stuffed-animal forum, a tiny body waits to hear the footsteps of mine or their fathers as we take on the role of pastor, of fellow sinner, of hopeful saint. We engage to remind them. Time out to remind them. Speak firm to remind them. Ask questions to reinvite them.

It's the garden of eden

 all over again in that four-walled, sticker-filled room. Their little hands have taken the symbolic fruit, their little hearts have experienced the ache of the effect; the teddy bear snatched, the shove of their neighbor, the spiteful word of distrust, the eye roll... They cannot see the lie they are believing until seconds after and now they taste the experience of it turning bitter. They want to hide, but we insist that they be found. We know how our souls act in the dark.

He and I remind because our story is the same. We've eaten too. Yet, this story has the cross and the nails and full reconciliation and it is theirs too, if they'll have it. We invite them back in again and again, through the door of repentance back into our community. Good news narrative on repeat for their souls and for mine. Our Jesus came for this very thing and now we all can be made right again.

"Do you understand, sweet boy?  Here is how we apologize, here is whom we were made for. Let me remind you who you really are."

It's a keeping. 

Brush the hair, yes I know you don't like it. Tidy the room or we don't need it. Pick up the pieces because we're good stewards. Be faithful with our little so when the time comes, you can manage much.

Look at how well God made you! Look at those eyes! what a gift to be so strong as you! Consider it kids, this body well made, for us to keep. Yes, you have to take a bath. Yes, you stink. No, you cannot wait till tomorrow. Yes the naked dance is funny, but lets keep your shimmies confined to the bathroom. Wow! you do run so fast!

It's a lesson 

The basics of math, the cleverness of words, the  phrase that can have two meanings, the patience of building, the disappointment of brothers smashing. The triumph of rising up again, the folly of apathy, the payday moment of a task finally accomplished, the horror of glitter gone wrong...

"What did you learn? What do you think? Was it okay for the swan to steal the trumpet? What story do you want to write? How does it make you feel?"

It's perceiving. 

The homeless man who smiles genuine as my little girl waves brings questions I struggle to answer. The stranger who spoke ugly for no apparent reason brings a struggle as well. The world on display for feasting, six little eyes gaze at it all in its beauty and its horror. I know the power of perceiving. So I frame and shape and tell their brains the story they need to know. We must shape our seeing, so we can understand the glory, and thus who made us. Otherwise, all we see is confusing, like the blind man, seeing men as trees walking. We need to have our sight restored, made clear.

"Everyone is His image bearer, some of us have not yet been reminded. It's our job to love wild the people we get to meet. Not all can hear the call of home quite yet, but we can tell them and see."

It's a humbling.

Tears swell up in their little faces as I show my own ugliness. The guttural noise my own throat just made in chastisement surprises my own ears as I hear it.  The oldest saint in the room, revealed as the most desperate and chief sinner. They see it plainly, this need I have for a savior.

Teaching how to apologize by voicing my own 'I'm so sorrys'  time and time again is a major marker of my motherhood. My children know full well the cracks of their mothers character, but my desperate hope is that they may know He who makes us well. He promises to finish what he began.

"It's okay mama, we forgive you."

It's inviting.

to be the main star in their tiny solar systems for a breath. to be the witness of their days for a few short years and I accept the invitation. As I am given more years to grow into their mother, through tears of frustration and failure and laughter in all of its blessed hilarity, I see how fortunate I am. This is a very short season, although intense. How fortunate to have been invited to listen for the second, the minute, the day, the years to the chorus of the laughter as it swells until it breaks...