Whether you like it or not, when you become a mother…mommy happens. Some days you feel prepared and if you are lucky you get sunny days just like those they sing about on Sesame Street. Most days, however, you get what you get and as time goes on you figure a few things out.
Like what to do when your kid wakes up sick in the middle of the night. It’s not always immediately clear and you may initially stand, wide-eyed into your problem like a deer in the headlights thinking:
“That’s a car, it’s going very fast, it’s headed my way, I should run…or something. Wait. THAT’S A CAR! RUN!!!”
It’s fun to watch.
Just ask my husband when either of my kids throw up in the middle of the night. I just stand there and say “OK, OK” while I try to figure out my next move – get kid in shower, grab buckets, remove bed linens, keep self from barfing, etc.
Time stands still for a minute and then my brain catches up.
Here’s the thing, motherhood does not care how prepared you think are. It doesn’t care how many books you have read (if only), how much sleep you think you need, how well you can or cannot cook or clean, if you have a weak stomach or not and it doesn’t care whether or not you are entirely ready – clearly.
Every day that I get with my children is a blessing. I know this. I feel this and yet it doesn’t keep me from getting short with them or frustrated with them, and it surely doesn’t keep me from barfing when they barf (if only). Even though I am painfully aware of this blessing, I am also painfully aware that there are no guarantees in this lifetime.
Because when I became a mother, MOMMY happened to me. I didn’t get a lot of choices about how it was going to go down and I didn’t realize how much I would have to carry in my arms and in my heart until I started to see myself in the world in which I would raise them.
The adjustment takes a time.
I went to visit a friend in the hospital on bed rest and saw two of the most precious newborn twins all snuggled up with each other in the same little bassinet.
“What a lucky mommy!! Look at those sweet little babies!” I thought.
Moments later, I found out from a labor and delivery nurse (who was unable to have children of her own) that those twins had been born drug-addicted and dependent and their mom had no idea she was even pregnant when she wandered up to the hospital. While I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing at those sweet little bundles, they were headed to the nursery and their mother was downstairs smoking a cigarette arranging to leave the hospital.
I wanted so badly to take those babies home, but they were required by the state to go home with their “mother.”
And I must watch the news with only one eye open, because if I start full force into that talking box for too long, my hope can begin to flicker. Enough to stay informed but not too much as to be consumed.
Sandy Hook is the most recent example. One act of evil that took the lives of so many innocent children. The act of violence and hate and evil that shook so many mommies, a community and a nation to the core. Shook them in ways that they could never have been prepared. Mommies from every corner of the earth are mourning those children even if they never saw the news or the horrific images from that day.
The kid who performed the unimaginable? Of course, he has a mother too. My brain never knows what to do with that information. Truth is, I never really fully grieve the reality of this kind of tragedy or stop thinking of all the mommies who have mourned and grieved in unimaginable ways, never letting go but moving on nonetheless.
But, there’s this one mommy who sent her perfect child to the cross to bear all of our sins so we could have a place in heaven. So we could have hope despite all the evil and suffering in this world. So we could learn to live like her son and love all people.
Mary, did you know? Were you ready for what you saw?
Prepared, no way.
Yet, even, for the mother of Jesus, MOMMY happened.