Some days are heavier than others. Especially for mamas.
It was one of those days where the little things that go wrong pile up so high you are tempted to count them, list them, roll them between your fingers like a worry stone in your pocket.
The day had exacted an emotional tax that left me bankrupt by 4:30pm.
I remembered reading about the math of gratitude, the counting of good rather than bad. My scales were tipping all the wrong directions. Fractions and decimals included.
I noted the yellow wildflowers on the side of the road. I mumbled thanks for them. I wondered how many thanks I would have to count before I felt less loaded down.
That’s when the tears started; hot and warm. Silent and undesired.
I covered the side of my cheek so my 13 year old wouldn’t see them. The grocery store crept closer.
“Mama? Are you crying?! What’s wrong?” She noticed anyway.
My mouth was a damn and I couldn’t answer her or a river would break through. I wondered if the other drivers in the parking lot were noticing my breakdown as we pass each other by on a Tuesday evening.
“Someday when you are 40, maybe you’ll understand,” I tell her.
There are some things a teenager just can’t comprehend.
Like the last, and fourth baby… no longer in a womb that has swollen six times.
Like the weaning beginning the end of breastfeeding.
Like being in the middle of your life and the end of your checkbook.
Like the pain of watching your little ones – flesh of your flesh – get long needles in their legs to prevent some future illness you can’t even imagine. How their cries burn your heart and their eyes declare you a traitor for helping the doctor hold them down.
Like the feeling of knowing you are not the rock your family needs you to be, but rather a battered leaf in the gutter, washed away and torn.
Like knowing your parents are fragile, and one day they might not be there when you need to hear their voice.
The last thing you should do on a day when heavy thoughts are crushing a frail heart is to blog about it. But maybe those are the times that feel the most real. The times when your senses are so overloaded they spill over through your finger tips onto the keyboard?
Either way, there will be heavy sleep tonight.
There might be another dream of your elementary friend finding out she’s pregnant, having a beautiful baby boy with the same color curls as your youngest son. Or blissful, deep sleep between nursing sessions… and floppy, sweaty little arms (with rubber-band wrists) that reach out to make sure you are still there, even while he’s dreaming.
I smile. A mother’s smile of bliss. For surely there is no sweeter bliss than a mother’s.
I don’t have to mumble a thanks for something like this. This tops the yellow flowers on the roadside. It tops the entire day off like whip cream and cherries on a Sundae. It melts piles and piles of emotional woes; fills a mama’s cup back up with hope for a feather-lite tomorrow.
Maybe it’s all about making a difference? Maybe that’s all that matters.
And you’ll never outgrow a job like that.
Not when they stop snuggling next to you in the night…
Not when they stop kissing you on the lips because they realize you’re a girl and not just a mommy…
Not when you hand them the keys to your car for the first time…
Not when they hand you their own swaddled baby to admire and spoil as a grandchild…
Yes, making a difference.
– – – – – – – –
Lord, let me be present even in the pain, always in the waiting – just like at the doctor’s office and during the shots.
Let me hold on and not give up or give in. Show me my purpose this day anew.
Let me count blessings, even when I feel like I’m at the bottom of a pile. Because You have offered to bear my burdens.
Remind me of the cherries and whipped cream on top, that I may savor them entirely.
Help me to make a difference for You… and to see how HUGE (and how small) that might look in each moment.