Pondering These Things In My Heart
I grew up on a fruit farm in Northern California. I had a summer job since I was old enough to be able to work at my parents small fruit stand. Over the years the business grew into a larger farm with a farm animals, a playground and pond open to the public, a bakery, and a much larger facility to sell fruits, vegetables and pies. I remember fondly running around the farm as a child, and walking in for lunch covered in dirt, sweat, and random bruises and scratches from playing on old farm equipment.
I married a city boy, and we live in Phoenix, a VERY large city, so our boys do not have the same access to outdoor mischief as I did. However, we have a good sized backyard that is basically just a dirt patch and the boys go out there and get filthy. I love seeing them covered in dirt with pink cheeks. Recently my oldest, Oliver, was out throwing dirt in the air, playing barefoot, being super cute. When he came in for lunch we went to the bathroom sink to clean him up and after we washed his hands and face I noticed that his feet were filthy. I decided to wash his feet, so I sat him on the edge of the sink, and placed his little feet in the sink. As I covered them with warm water and sudsy soap, a lump formed in my throat. I was suddenly very aware of his littleness, and imagined how Mary must have also washed Jesus' feet when he was a little boy. She must have also washed between his toes, like I was doing now, and stared lovingly at his little pink cheeked face. Oliver caught me staring at him and I smiled wide, so that I would not dissolve into tears. I think my face must have radiated so much love for him because he smiled back at me and kissed me.
Sometimes motherhood is so exhausting because of the sheer amount of service that is required. Filling water cups, changing diapers, making lunch, cleaning up after lunch, changing outfits after lunch, (there is a LOT of lunch-related service in my house), and it can seem like serving others is all we do and that can feel so draining and I know that I can choose to be resentful or loving about that. I am learning that the reality is that I GET to take care of two little precious boys every day. I get to wash between their toes, and kiss their boo boos. I get to play with them and feed them, and pray with them, and snuggle them. When I changed my thinking from "I HAVE to", to "I GET to", smiles came easier and moments like the one Ollie and I had at the sink are not lost or wasted.
I have been thinking a lot about Mary and all the things she must have done with Jesus, especially as he was a little child. I imagine her bathing him sweetly, washing his clothes, and patiently showing him how to bake bread. I don't know how theologically correct any of my imaginings are, but I like them just the same. Sometimes I lay with Oliver before he goes to sleep and he nestles himself into me, his little spoon to my big spoon. I imagine how snuggly Jesus was with Mary, perhaps she also buried her face in his hair, smelling little boy and soap, her heart swelling. I remember hearing the verse, "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart-Luke 2:19", but I never understood it, at least not fully, until I laid eyes on my freshly born babies. I have found that I am pondering a lot of things in my heart, on a daily basis. Mostly because our baby, Emilio, is almost 1 and so close to walking he can taste it, and I ponder. I do not want to waste time being annoyed that I have to change their diapers...again. I don't want to lose a moment of the goodness of this vocation to my own shortcomings. I want to savor, and ponder, and hold those moments that make me tear up close. I know that I fail at this pondering constantly. I am, annoyingly, NOT super mom or even close, but I GET to be THEIR mom. No one else in the world will ever get such an honor. So, I will try each day to be like Mary, and lovingly, and quietly, ponder.
I pray that you have an open heart today with which you can ponder the wonderful moments with your child(ren) so that those little moments are not lost or wasted.