As I sat in Church today [Monday, December 8, 2008], honoring Mary’s Immaculate Conception, I was reminded how her perfection isn’t something any of us will be able to achieve but, rather, is something that is meant to inspire us. And it’s a good thing, too, because perfection in motherhood is not something I’ve attained but something I’ve always admired.
A friend recently sent me a link to the blog of someone who seems to have perfected both her time and her talents in the “mother” department. Every entry was a detailed description of life with her brood (all captured in their coordinating outfits) and all the ways in which said brood behaved so well in a variety of circumstances.
“Hmm” I thought to myself. “It’s a good thing I didn’t have to read that blog when my boys were younger.” I could see why my young friend felt intimidated by the entries and saw herself as a “failure” in the motherhood department. I quickly reminded her that the only mother who truly could be portrayed as perfection was the Blessed Mother. I continued to soothe my friend with reminders that one woman’s inspiration wasn’t meant to be another’s desperation and she shouldn’t take it as such.
My friend, however, found little consolation in my words. “But…” she kept sputtering, “she was able to take them all on a picnic and they all found beautiful treasures in nature and they all wrote about it in their journals upon returning home and then pressed their leaves into scrapbooks…”
Now I know that there are many mothers whose lives are filled with graces in such a way as this woman was sharing, but I also know a great many mothers whose lives seem to fall short when compared to that blog entry. This, then, is for those moms whose lives aren’t picture perfect but are stilled filled with God’s graces.
This would have been my blog entry about 18 years ago when my oldest son (now 21) was 3. True Story:
Today Pam (my best friend) and I took the kids to the park. It was a beautiful, sunny day with the birds chirping and the winds mildly rustling the leaves on the trees. After finishing lunch and clearing the table, Pam had a wonderful idea! She suggested we grab a few bags of old bread and head to the park to feed the ducks. Between us we have 7 children which we piled into the station wagon. Each was eager to feed the ducks and enjoy the park [Insert picture of smiling kids in station wagon]. Upon our arrival at the park we unbuckled and gathered the children. After a quick head count and instructing the older ones to take hold of the hands of the younger ones, Pam and I each carried a baby and off we went. The grass was warm underfoot and our souls sang as the children romped through the playground. Soon we were at the water’s edge. Each child was given his or her share of bread and began to hold it enticingly for the ducks to draw near. The sounds of the children’s laughter mingled with the quacks of the ducks. Pam and I were smiling, knowing that we were creating a memory of a lifetime, when we heard a splash. Within seconds pandemonium struck as kids began shrieking and Pam and I ran the few feet to the children. Jared, my oldest, had fallen into the stream. A young man, on lunch break from work, immediately jumped in to get Jared and planted him firmly on the shore, a safe distance from the water. Tears gushed from my eyes as I sobbed my thanks to this man whose suit pants were now covered in mud. Shaking but incredibly grateful for this kind Samaritan, we all headed back to the car. Jared was crying because he didn’t get to feed the ducks and I was crying because God’s grace for all mothers knows no bounds.