Thursday, May 8, 2014

From Motherhood to Sainthood

I was laying on the floor playing with Lenny when he was about 18 months old. We were laughing and carrying on and having a good old time. Then he got his hands on Testudo. Testudo is the University of Maryland mascot. Specifically, in our case, he was a heavy statuette owned by my husband's Pop Pop and which came to him when Pop Pop passed away, since he went to UMD for his undergraduate degree.

That little turtle. I'm pretty sure it was made out of lead, or whatever is heavier than lead. Maybe the weight of my constant complaining? Anyway. Lenny casually dragged it off the side of the coffee table, and with a toothy, slobbery grin, he gave it the last little push it needed to fall.

Onto my head. And I snapped. I went from smiley happy mama to soul-sucking demon in a jiffy.

It hurt soooooooo bad. I mean, I wasn't knocked out cold but I definitely started tearing up. I knew I had to stay calm so I took a deep breath and counted to ten. 

And then I let out the loudest, longest string of curse words and strange noises this side of the Mississippi. It was bad. I yelled at Testudo. I screamed at the wall. I gave Lenny my worst and when he came up to me I pushed him away and went into the other room. 

Not a story I remember fondly. And honestly not the only time I've ever gotten raging mad at my kids. 

Motherhood definitely brings out the demons in me. All of them. ALL. But it's also seeping into my bones, sending roots down into every limb, every organ, even into my blood plasma, and I'm not really even sure what that is but I know for a fact that my motherhood is down in there. It's not down there with a skateboard and cigarettes looking for trouble. It's looking for the good. 

Motherhood finds all the good in you, down to the very last drop. And it tests you in the fire of whining, punching you in the throat, peeing the bed, peeing on you, peeing on the dinner table, asking for more milk a thousand times a day, pouring out the contents of every box in the pantry, throwing rocks at other kids on the playground, and waking you up at 4:30 in the morning. Or at any time, because who doesn't hate being woken up?

The sun is up! Get out of bed!!

Motherhood is a purgatory on earth. It tests you every day and tries you in the hottest blaze, and the flames surround you and won't let up and sometimes you feel as if you might die. Well, one day you will, but hopefully not today. And at the end of the day you may feel like hell, but there is a bit of good in you that is stronger than it was yesterday. A tiny bit of selflessness or patience or love that grew bigger and stronger because it was refined in the fires of your daily vocation, a tiny bit of good that is leading you down your own path to sainthood. 

The devil does not want you to succeed at this. Satan is always there, playing into your frustration and insecurities. When your kids are having a hard time going down for nap, he says, "They will never fall asleep. You won't get anything done today." When your husband sits on the couch after dinner* and the kids are running around, he says, "You must be so tired. It's not fair to cook and clean by yourself." Do not listen! Find a way to thank God in everything.  Thank you Lord that my kids have a bed to sleep in. Thank you Lord for the food we eat. It seems too simple but in fact it is very hard. To find the blessings even in difficult times, to be truly grateful, and to let the frustrations go, is not an easy task. But this is our calling, not just mothers, but all Christians. 

*Disclaimer: Chris never does this. 

Yes I am.*

*Second Disclaimer: Chris, the husband on the couch story is just for illustrative purposes. 
This ain't no auto-biography.

Thank you Father for loaning me your precious children. 

Motherhood is my path to sainthood. Should I follow the path God is calling me down, I know I will see the light of his face one day. Suffering stretches our hearts wide, beyond what we thought they could, so far that we feel it might break. And through this process our hearts grow, and are open to recieve the great abundance of the grace of God. Therefore we should embrace the trials of our lives, and the many little daily fires that purge us of our vices and make us shine. 

This is my cross and I embrace it. 
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