“His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” -Luke 2:51
By Joan Biddle,
Some of Jesus’s actions must have confounded his mother at first, but still she treasured each thing he did in her heart, kept the memories safe in the deepest folds of her being. Motherhood can be one of the hardest things in the world. You don’t always know what to do or say, or how to help shape your little ones for the future. Sometimes, their actions just confound you. Sometimes you can’t calm them down, and someone throws a stick, breaking a window. It can make your heart sink. You give them consequences, but then you hold them, letting them know that you are there. And then, much later, they might make you laugh or do something really sweet, or help you out. It’s a moment-by-moment up-and-down ride.
Still, we treasure these things. We hold them in our hearts. Sometimes we hold on a little tighter than we should, savoring the moments when they are little and coddling them a bit too much when we need to train them to be on their own one day. One minute we want independence for them, the next we want them to be small and for the baby stage to last forever. It’s an emotional journey for a mother. But there’s nothing else for us to do but love them, as Christ loves us.
Playwright Sarah Ruhl writes, “There were times when it felt as though my children were annihilating me (truly you have not lived until you have changed one baby’s diaper while another baby quietly vomits on your shin), and finally I came to the thought, All right, then, annihilate me; that other self was a fiction anyhow. And then I could breathe. I could investigate the pauses. I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing and much to do with life. And life, by definition, is not an intrusion.”
Being a mother changes you and challenges you, makes you new. So, we treasure the good and the bad, the frustrations and the joys, and the confounding parts of parenting. We live into it and we love, hopefully becoming truer.
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