Usually I ask my children to do me a favor and without hesitation they step up to the task. That’s always nice. But sometimes…well, maybe more than sometimes….they sigh or roll their eyes or say hold on.
In those moments, I’m not exactly sure what to say or how to respond. I’m never really prepared for those reactions. But I’m thinking maybe I should make a plan for the next time it happens because if I don’t come up with anything more graceful, I might explode in sarcasm with something like this:
Hold on? You want ME to hold on? Son, I’ve been holding on…for 13 years in fact. Holding onto the protruding burdensome belly that carried you, to the bedrail as I labored you, to daddy’s hand as I birthed you, to the spoons that fed you, to your hand for like two million of your first steps, to every last word of the judge who got to say whether you were forever ours. And then I held on tight to Jesus in those sleepless nights and endless days, and he held tight to me. And if I hadn’t have clung to chocolate and iced lattes during those years of discipline and training, I might not be here today. So don’t tell me to hold on. I’m already doing it. Every day. All. Day. Long. Clinging to Jesus and to every moment of your childhood because it’s passing so quickly.
And the sigh and eye roll? Yeah, I pretty much invented those. In fact, I do them way better than you…..see? That’s because I sighed my way through exhausting days of feeding, cleaning, wiping, holding, tucking. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be doing those things. I absolutely did. But you see, you were chiseling away little bits of me each day with your total dependency and messiness, enrapturing me with everything about you. So those sighs were simply me exhaling grace in a season of life where I was becoming someone new, someone who lived for others, someone who lived for you. And sometimes those sighs were deep prayers for peace. Like when you fevered in that place where people died all around us. So I stayed awake. All night. Watching you, holding you, eyes rolled up to the Father, who I increasingly depended on in my own messiness, and he enraptured me with his faithfulness, always making me new.
And here’s the deal, darling child of mine. Yesterday, I picked up your bloody, wrinkled up nasty Band-Aid off my bathroom counter. Along with the wrapper from the one that I’ll more than likely be picking up in a few days. And today I drove you to dance, which is thirty minutes away and costs a million dollars – but since you love it, how about we do it twice a week? And remember that vomit I cleaned up on my 15th anniversary get-a-way? Yeah, that was yours. You better believe my eyes rolled a little bit then. And you – you with the darling black face. I washed your bedding three times this week. Three. And I’ll be placing bets that it will be four by morning.
I won’t even mention the skate shoes I bought you that cost $100 and look absolutely ridiculous with your skinny jeans. Ooops I mentioned it. And the meal that took you three minutes to eat? Well, it took me an hour to grocery shop for it and an hour to prepare it. And have you ever wondered how the tortilla chips miraculously appear back in the pantry after you devour them in one sitting? Well, guess what….I’m the pantry fairy! Surprise! I forgot to mention that when I told you Santa isn’t for real and it was me all along shopping and choosing and wrapping and sneaking and staying up late preparing and getting all excited for you to open everything and make exclamations of gratitude toward a bearded guy who did nothing. That was fun. Actually, it really was. You see, there’s something satisfying and sweet about secret generosity. About not getting credit. About doing something without profit. Kind of like motherhood in a way. I feel like I’ve given you my entire life. And what I get in return is not nearly what I deserve. And yet it’s everything I’ve ever wanted and more.
So in light of all this…this living my entire life for you thing…I was kind of thinking it was okay to ask you to take the garbage out. What do you think?
*Joanna Young, inventing the eye roll and doing it better line is for you, girl!