(If you aren't familiar with Jenny, you may be familiar with the picture of Pope Benedict kisses her baby boy that went viral last year!)
Anyway, she writes beautifully about a rough night with her little boy and how it ends with her recognizing Christ in disguise in her little
(Of course, just as a side note...I always think of my poor mother raising twin girls and wonder how she did it?! My parents always made our childhood sound so lovely but I'm sure I was ten times more frustrating than either of my daughters!)
I love sharing what we do each day with Andrew. He enjoys hearing all the funny/clever/ridiculous things his daughters did each day. He appreciates the beauty in the day-to-day. But when other people ask me, "So, how have you been?" I always hesitate. "Good!" I'll say. But then...I don't know what else to say.
Back when I was an undergrad, or a grad student working in a parish or pretty much any stage of my life prior to this one, I always had things to share with people. I was still kind of shy about talking about myself, but I had things to say. Now? I often don't know what to tell people. I can fall back on sharing the news about any writing endeavors, but other than that...do people really want to hear about my days?
I don't say that insecurely. I just say it knowing that what I do every day - in list form - is not the sum of what I do. The whole is so much greater than the parts.
The only thing I can compare it to is what it was like when I met and started dating Andrew. Prior to that, whenever anyone asked me about the latest guy I was infatuated with - and what exactly I liked about him - I could always wax poetic about what made him so great. I could come up with a list of what made a given guy worth my time of day.
But do you know what? That list...it was really me justifying why I thought that particular guy was right for me.
Then I met Andrew. And suddenly, whenever anyone asked me, "So, what exactly do you like about Andrew?" I didn't know what to say. Sure, he was (and is) a brag-worthy guy. I am so incredibly proud of his accomplishments and of his awesome characteristics. He really is a winner in my book. But, honestly...even if I described all that to you, you wouldn't know why I love Andrew. You wouldn't know how I knew that my vocation was to marry him. Because it's something more, something deep I could never put into words. I love Andrew just because he's Andrew. And what makes my vocation to him so precious to me is the way we journey to heaven together. I could list for you the many ways that he and I have helped each other grow in holiness - but it's bigger than that. This vocation is a gift, and no matter how I tried to quantify that in list form...it just wouldn't come close to describing the reality of it.
So it is with my vocation as a mother.
I always feel kind of baffled when people ask me what I've been up to and they are impressed with something I did writing-wise because...I am not a writer. I mean, I try to do free-lance writing on the side because that's the way I can best continue to flex my theological/ministry muscles but...I honestly don't spend a ton of time writing. The writing I've done has been done in small chunks of the day or week - a half an hour here, an hour there. So yes, talking about working on a book about some ministry related topic sounds impressive...but it isn't. Because it doesn't make up the sum total of my days. Do you know what does? My work as a mother.
If I described my work as a mother, it would seem terribly boring. There is a set sort of rhythm to our days and weeks that I've worked hard to establish. The girls thrive on that. But - being that they are 3 years old and 10 months old - it's a pretty mundane schedule. A walk to the park every morning. Daily Mass when I (or Andrew) can manage to take them. (He is a rock star and has been taking them to the 7am Mass up the road from us several mornings a week! Be still my heart.) A morning nap for the baby, lunch for all, daily chores done - cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc., preschool or storytime twice a week, other outings on other days, reading books for our library's summer reading club, a little Netflix or PBS kids when needed, naps for all...it isn't the most thrilling thing in the world. And even though I'm busier and work harder than I ever have in my life - that's not what makes my work matter. Therese and Maria. They are what make it matter. Forming their little hearts and souls, loving them, delighting in them are what matter. But no amount of words could possibly describe what that looks like and why it matters.
Like with my vocation to Andrew, though, I have a deep peace knowing (insofar as it is possible to know) that I am where God is calling me to be right now. Even if that may seem boring or mundane to the untrained eye...it doesn't matter. For goodness sakes - God emptied Himself and became a baby. Is it really all that condescending for me to stoop to the level of a toddler?
I think often of a quote from G.K. Chesterton,
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” ― G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
I pray that God may work through these little ones to teach me how to "exult in monotony." I think it takes great holiness to know how to do that, to be able to see beyond the "just another day" mentality, you know?
And now, time to link up with What I Wore Sunday. (And I have no idea why that big girl's dress is so wrinkled. I promise it was hanging up nicely and all, but...ahhhh...)
First the baby of the clan...
And then...well, just watch our little Stinky's face. She is such a ham, and makes it her personal mission to keep her parents and baby sister laughing. Andrew and I looked at these pictures Sunday night and were in absolute stitches! The best part is that we didn't even notice what she was doing at the time. I don't know if she'll ever know how much joy she's brought us. :-)
We might need to zoom in to get the full effect...
I have absolutely no idea where she gets it from, either...
I get so excited sometimes when I realize that she's my daughter, and I get to watch this fun little person grow up. :-)
Have a lovely rest of your week, friends!