The Chambered Nautilus
"Deep calls to deep..." Psalm 42:7
...uncurling and growing into the wonderful grace of God.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
My Little Women
My Little Women: Abby, Anna, Katherine and Olivia
my first Mother’s Day. My first child was only hours old. The nurses made pink construction
paper tulips with Happy Mother’s Day written in faded magic marker ink. They
taped this homemade flower to the glass bassinet where my daughter slept (I
still have it).
I spent my first
Mother’s Day in the haze, wonder, euphoria and weariness of birth. After twelve
hours of Pitocin exacting labor I thought the hardest part was over, and I also
believed I had reached the pinnacle.
times I repeated this extraordinary wonder. Four times I looked into these
little faces and wondered who these little people would become, what would they
do and what they would look like.
there was a moment when I held them in the quiet—when the nurses pushed that
little bed into my room and it was just them and me. I held them. My fingers
traced the downy line of their hair and the swivel of their tiny ears. I
stared at the outline of their perfect little mouths memorizing every curve.
They looked at me with those dark eyes so deep and eternal and I came undone.
I couldn’t get
enough of them (still can’t).
fear rising up through the center of me. This quelling, frightful feeling
pushed up through my throat. I’d swallow it down trying to identify it as I
did. Why fear? Why this metallic taste in my mouth? Why this shadow in the happiest
times of my life?
the depths of me I knew I’d fail with these four little girls. I’d disappoint
them, let them down or simply not do something right that would cause a
deficient. I feared inadequacy. I knew the mistakes were inevitable, but I didn’t
want to make any. Any at all.
Do any of
fought that battle for twenty-six years now.
failed many times. I was not wrong in my assessment of my abilities. I was not
mistaken that my efforts would be inadequate.
not for cowards. Or the weak. Or the fearful. Or the timid. Mothering is not a
hobby or part-time pastime.
someone observed that when you have children you wear your heart outside your
I agree. Yes,
you wear your heart outside, but this heart is not stationary. No, it moves around
and away. And the strands of this muscle are stretched and torn.
I made too
many mistakes in my mothering. Far too many. I look back and there are things I
would do differently. Situations I would have chilled more. Circumstances I
should have unsheathed my mama-bear claws quicker. Events I should have
understood were far more pivotal than I realized. Conditions I should have
asked for help in my inadequacy.
In spite of
me these girls are now beautiful women grown.
this mother’s heart. He heard the cries I whispered over them in the hospital
and over the years when I held them close and rocked them to sleep. He heard
the urgent pleas in the deepest places for his grace to make up for my lack.
For his grace to fill in the gaps. To fill up the deficits.
Today I look
at them with the same kind of wonder and awe as I did when they were born. Often
I shake my head at the loveliness of them.
come home often. They come in and hug me and kiss me.
And I bless
them for this gift.
In spite of
my failings and mistakes they still come home. They still come back.
grace, this beautiful grace is so reflective of the grace of God.
thank my four daughters for making me a mother. It is because of them I get to
celebrate this day.