It’s Mother’s Day. I have quite a big day planned! First, I’m going to wake up before the first light of day to nurse the baby. Then, I will coax a toddler to eat something healthy. I will cook breakfast for the rest of the gangly bunch. I’ll try to bring order to chaos by finding clean clothes appropriate for the boys to wear to church, and I’ll even make an attempt at sneaking into the shower when I am not needed—because feeling clean myself is part of my plan!
I will need to soothe fussing during Mass and redirect the attention of older ones. My day will continue with celebratory lunch preparations, while eager hearts with small hands want to find craft bins, help arrange flowers, and make sugary dessert. I will tend to the unwieldy needs of seven human beings, almost forgetting myself entirely.
Drinks will spill and words will spill louder. Crumbs will fall and countenances will fall harder. It will appear that all my efforts are rapidly being upended. Meal planning, sports schedules, music lessons, backpacks, homework folders, and work schedules for the upcoming week will all need to be wrangled into order as Sunday evening closes in. I will not be taking the day off. Sounds dreamy, huh?
Actually, this is my dream. Just under the veil of this very common day of mothering is the love I long for. Yes, sacrifice is the door, but this kind of self-forgetting, total gift of self is where I find the way to the truly deep, meaningful love that I’ve always dreamed of for my life. In the splintering crosses presented particularly on a holiday filled with expectation for the culmination of love, I am pressed to let go. Strangely, this pressing feels counter-intuitive to the need I feel pressing always within . . . it will feel like a small kind of dying . . . and dare I say from the outside, the crosses look altogether bloody sometimes. But, here is the very place I must remember to be open to life in Christ, the bridegroom of my soul. Jesus himself waits and longs to come in and continually refill me as I am emptied out—a sacred wooing. I must trust that as I “let it be done unto me” that I am simultaneously receiving a God who formed and knows the shape of my heart intimately—delighting over me with singing and just waiting to surprise me like only a lover can, taking my breath away by the sheer goodness found amidst it all.
He will surprise me with the tender embrace of infant arms and the sparkle that glimmers most real in my toddler’s eyes. He will surprise me with squealing laughter that erupts around the table—elicited by bonds of sibling relationships that have been decades in the making. He will surprise me while I wash the suds down the drain and hear a refrain of songs from the living room. He will surprise me when my only daughter says I am her best friend. He will surprise me when my ten-year-old slows me down with a smirk and says I look like I could use a hug. He will surprise me when I hear that voice of my adult son on the other end of the line say, “I love you, Mom; there is no one like you.”
These tiny and tall humans that call me “Mom” press me toward the big and bounding love of God that keeps coming—and who doesn’t want the dream of a loving pursuit like that?