During a recent homily, the priest said that in order to fully appreciate and understand poetry, you have to slow down. The same is true for motherhood. If all we’re doing is racing around from one activity to the next, our days can easily become an exhausted blur. If we’re too focused on the messes instead of remembering the people behind the mismatched shoes, sticky counters, and scattered books, then we’re losing sight of what makes a home – and a life. Order is nice and certainly a worthy goal, but it should restore us, not control us.
I write all of this as a reminder to myself because sometimes the noise, especially when children are high on added sugar and extra excitement, gets to me. So do all the missing shoes and kids asking me where this or that is as if my sole job was to be my family’s GPS unit. Sometimes the schlepping to and from Christmas concerts and parties makes me antsy. But when I pause and remember that this busyness is a sign that my home is full of people who love me for me, I ditch the frazzled female attitude and embrace these children and this husband of mine who may make me busy (and sometimes crazy) but who also have taken my heart hostage and filled it with gratitude and joy.
What better season than Advent to remind me to slow down and to savor this life I’m living with a house full of little ones, including a baby who is just three months but filling out six-months clothing and growing up too quickly for my liking.
Like sunbeams dancing upon our wood floors in the early morning, smiles flutter across my baby’s sleeping, butterball face. His chubby hand grabs my finger as I lay beside him during quiet time – a time when it feels as if I can shield us all from the frenetic pace of daily living in a household with six people (and a dog and fish).
Slowly, slowly, my baby boy breathes, and he sighs those happy, peaceful sighs. He’s telling me this is exactly where he wants to be. This is exactly where I want to be, too.
He holds on tightly to my finger. I hold on tightly to the simplicity and beauty of this moment. And maybe because I paused and really noticed how this baby and his pudgy, little hand held onto my own and allowed the bond between us to shine, I’ll remember the moment and will forever be warmed by its afterglow.