It began like most other days; I realized with great resignation that there were, as usual, many more items on my to-do list than hours and energy with which to complete them.
And then, somehow, I remembered it was the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, one of my all-time favorite Marian celebrations.
Encouraged, I did something I hadn’t done in ages: I asked Mama Mary to grant me extra grace in my vocation because, honestly, I needed all the help I could get. It had been a rough few weeks with no relief in sight. I hoped the Blessed Mother would take pity on her overextended child and throw me a spiritual bone or 12.
Wouldn’t you know it? The Queen of Heaven and Earth heard my cry and answered in the most gentle and powerful way. Throughout the day, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering simple promptings into my heart. The most peace, joy, and satisfaction that day happened when I heeded and obeyed God’s voice.
Now I know what you’re thinking: I experienced peace and joy by listening to and — gasp — obeying God? Yes; I get it. An amazing concept, right? But as I have likely proved via previous content in this space, I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Things just don’t quite sink into my stubborn head … until they do.
Our eldest just received the Sacrament of Confirmation, and the chrism oil smeared across her teenaged forehead transported me back to when she received the same glorious-smelling oil on her bitty baby head at baptism. Incidentally, teenagers don’t tolerate their mothers huffing their sweet-smelling heads as well as infants do. Truly, truly I say to you: The days are long, yet the years are short.
Now, as a young Mom, my skin crawled whenever someone observed my spirited youngsters and felt compelled to offer this gem: “Treasure every! single! minute!” I’d force a smile and bite my tongue to keep from pelting the well-meaning stranger with a litany of grievances. Did she expect me to cherish every blow-out diaper, each sleepless night, all ear infections and colicky episodes? How about the countless tantrums and the myriad other exhausting maladies of young motherhood?
Today, comments about how full my hands are don’t irk me like they used to. When the cashier at the store is mortified that I have the audacity to mother five—FIVE!!—children and declares: “That’s too many kids!” I’m neither shocked nor angry, and I’m certainly not losing any sleep over her ridiculous opinion. Rather, I laugh heartily and ask: “Which one would you like me to take back?”
With five children in three schools, plus activities, appointments, and work, my husband and I didn’t think our lives were crazy enough. So, we bought a dog.
Not just any dog, mind you. I may be biased, but I think our Lola Rose is the cutest little puppy ever. And it’s a good thing, too. Because I know for a fact that she’s been (more or less) absolved of a myriad puppy sins based on sheer cuteness alone.
While I don’t subscribe to the “fur baby/fur Mommy” culture that’s exploded in recent years, I understand how and why hyper-attachment to furry companions is a real temptation.
It’s been quite different having only one small child tagging along with me this past schoolyear. Young Sir K has been my shadow, my sidekick, and my adventure buddy. We’ve spent countless hours running errands, reading aloud, chatting about Legos and Paw Patrol and bugs. Simply enjoying each another’s presence has been so refreshing as I work on embracing a more measured pace of life.
I’ve found that, during this time of less doing and more being, God speaks to my heart in ways I couldn’t hear amidst the cacophany of constant noise and motion.
For example, something interesting happened during a routine trek to the grocery store the other day that compelled me to ponder perception, reality, and waiting on the LORD.
Small red basket overflowing, Sir K and I headed toward the check-out lanes. Since the self-serve stations were occupied, we high-tailed to the nearest open lane. What a blessing! I thought. There’s no one else in line! I figured we’d be out of there in no time flat.