I tied a knot on our busy morning by vacuuming the floor just before I laid the kids down for a nap. My daughter promptly came back downstairs to tell me the dog was playing with a toilet paper roll.
Eh, it doesn't look like a full roll, I thought when she handed it to me. Thankfully.
I assumed we dodged a bullet until I rounded the corner and saw a healthy pile of shredded tissue all over the black rug I'd vacuumed just moments before. I followed the trail and located ground zero in the bathroom upstairs.
When all parties were tucked back in bed and the dog wrangled downstairs, I proceeded to pick up all the tiny bits of white by hand. The article titled, Motherhood: The Big, Fat F*ck You, came to mind. I have no idea why. But to this thought I said, yes. And amen.
I'll raise you pet ownership, too, if we are, in fact, going to add to the list.
I'm sure you all have your own personal chips you could throw on the pile.
Some days the lack of recognition, the seemingly futile attempts to train the future generation, or the muddying of your hard work seems like no more than a big middle finger.
But other days... Other days you're sitting at the kitchen table painting your daughter's tiny toenails, while she makes her brother laugh in his seat. You marvel at the sun shining through the window at just the right angle, creating a halo-like glow in her silky blonde hair. Their eyes light up as they smile at each other and carry on, a blessing of the close bond of siblings.
Amazing also are the colors she picks out, each toe something different. Colors you'd never have thought to put together, but somehow, it works well. Your hand rests on her warm little leg as the polish dries and you study their little faces, their eyes and their smiles, how her head tilts to the side when she laughs just so, how he points with his cubby little finger, bringing it up to his pursed little mouth. You want to etch this moment in your memory so you'll never forget the lines of their faces, their Chiclet-toothed grins, the joy filling your soul.
Love and gratitude begin to well up in your heart to the degree that you realize this must be how God Himself feels when he gazes upon His children. And in that moment, no article in the universe could do more to convince you this is the absolute best job in the world. The rewards may not be quantifiable, but they are deeply fulfilling, and there's nowhere else you'd rather be than painting pink sparkly polish on stinky little feet.
I don't know what you contemplate while vacuuming, but today I thought about how motherhood, as with most situations or vocations in life, is a reflection of the mysterious "both/and" tension that orders the universe, and even our human hearts.
Cherish every moment, people say. They grow up so quick!
Now, I don't believe that every moment is cherish-able. Because sometimes? Motherhood is a big, fat F*ck you. Sometimes it just downright sucks. There's no need to sugar-coat it. In fact, I'll even go as far as to say it's detrimental to sugar-coat it.
But, it does go quick. I know there will be a day I'll brush cobwebs away and pull the etchings of their tiny, sweet faces out of a dusty memory vault, wishing so desperately I could be back at the kitchen table for one more moment.
Big middle finger/best job in the world.
This also applies to the human heart: Sinner/Saint. The beating heart of an individual is capable both of incredible atrocities and immense good.
God of Wrath/God of Love. Spend any time in the Old Testament, and you'll walk away with a view of God that may surprise you. Vengeful, jealous, and full of anger and wrath. It's hard to reconcile with the God portrayed by Jesus in the New Testament.
The one thing all of these both/and's have in common? The /.
Jesus is the / that makes it work. Only He is able to bridge the gap, to allow the two opposing forces to exist in a mysterious tension.
Because of Jesus, the drudgery and frustration of motherhood doesn't have the final say. Even on the worst of days, He can turn it around in a "slash" and use it for good if we let Him. When we have nothing left to offer, He is able to provide. When we're fresh out of mercy, He can calm the storm.
Even though Jesus took my place on the cross, I am still a sinner. But because He died for me, I'm no longer just a sinner. In Him, the sinners become saints and the wretched, redeemed.
God isn't a God of scarcity, limits and boxes but of abundance, possibility, and hope. And because of Him,
and no day
will ever again have the final say.