I knew while holding on to that sweet little boy, all car sick and sweaty, that I was giving him the grace of my presence and that is mommahood. It’s the shedding of self, setting aside of preferences and sacrificing so someone else can thrive. It’s loving the unlovely moments and moving little people towards the people they are suppose to be, recognizing their inherent worth as children of a kind God. It’s holding on to them in the ugly, hard moments when you’d rather walk away. Motherhood. The problem is I’m not always very good at it.
Throw up is NOT MY THING. It makes me gag. I’d rather run for the hills and when dad is home I do run, far away. But as that quintessential stay-at-home momma with two little boys who need a momma hug when they feel at their lousiest, daddy isn’t always there to step in and deal with the dreaded pukefest. Sweet Cade was feeling bad because I wasn’t a better steward of our time and capabilities.
Doesn’t that happen sometimes? We set ourselves up for failure with unrealistic expectations or hopes and then grumble about it or wonder why it worked out the way it did. Aren’t we often the problem?
I chose to drag two sick kiddos on too hot a day too far in the car too close to naptime. It was my own darned fault it was tantrum central.
They burned so much energy trying to find the perfect apples while sweating bullets in a rare swelteringly hot New England fall day, that they both fell fast asleep in the car in about 2 minutes flat. And if you’re a momma you’re shaking your head right now…you NEVER want a kiddo to fall asleep in the car if you’re hoping they’ll nap later. It’s a recipe for disaster. But more importantly than naptime woes, I had totally forgotten that if Cade falls asleep in a moving anything–car, airplane, etc. he gets motion sickness.
Epic mom failure. And that’s what brought us to the land of puke. Poor kid. He was feeling so lousy but had to go to the bathroom so badly that while he threw up, he was also wetting his pants and sweating. Talk about a winning trio. And all because I wanted to replicate those sweet happy memories from our adventure LAST YEAR! Good grief momma, get ahold of yourself.
So we peeled off his clothes, him crying, me comforting–all that bare-butted nakedness and he said, “momma do you love me” and it hit me like a train–we don’t know it but we are loveliest in the moments we are the filthiest but recognize our need to just let that raw love love us. A love that cares not for how we look or sound or act but love that grabs us out of our dirty selves and just exists with us. Cade thought in that moment that my love was dependent on him being something but what I hope he walked away with, from that moment of complete exposure, was that I had him-completely covered, enveloped, hugged and LOVED with a fully saturated love.
Sweet friends, this is God’s love for us, His never giving up on us, always ready to love us love. We all know we need this. We preach love, where love on charms, praise people when we see them doing what we think is love. We seek it out in books and go see it in the theater. We’re infatuated with the idea of love but what we need to know is that we are extravagantly loved in our ugliest, whether we are three or almost 33. We are loved and precious not because we smell good or have our act together, oh no, we are that insanely loved when we’re our sickest, striped bare of good intentions, seeming kindness and all those walls we build so others don’t see the true ugliness that exists in every soul.
When Cade was settling down into his quiet time I had this feeling that I needed to apologize to him. After all, I had been the one to drag his poor sick self to an orchard on too hot a day. And I had been the one to forgot he gets car sick when he’s asleep. So that little moment at naptime turned what was a down right, no good, dirty bad day into a beautiful moment of restitution–of him seeing my failures and remorse and him getting to be the one to extend forgiveness. This is love and it is lovely.
His sweet forgiveness came in a simple arm draped over my neck squeeze. And it was just what my heart needed. A little person squeeze. Oh momma hearts, those little mistakes we make, see them not as an opportunity to beat ourselves up but as an opportunity to show our babies our humanity and their ability to give the grace of forgiveness. Let these little moments of unloveliness allow you to see clearly how loved you are.
“For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.”