“Come on, Mommeeeee,” she plead, stomping her little foot.
“Alright, alright.” I wiped the counter furiously. “Just let me finish cleaning up in here and I’ll be right out.”
“But that’s what you said an hour ago,” she pouted. “I want to plant the roses, Mommy.”
Her father had given her a rose bush for Valentine’s Day. It was gloriously full of dark green leaves with five or six scarlet buds on the verge of their bloom, a fine addition to her garden. I sighed, stopping for a moment to measure what was left on my to-do list. She watched me hopefully. There was the laundry, at least four loads, a sink full of dishes, the sweeping, the mopping and oh yeah, the toothpaste globs clinging to the side of the bathroom sink. I was just about to tell her we’d plant the rose bush tomorrow when she interrupted.
“Ok, Mommy,” she said, reading my face. “I guess we’ll just do it later.”
Her small frame slumped in defeat. She stared down at her sparkly pink sneakers. I leaned back on the counter, staring at the crown of her little golden-haired head. When she was a baby, I’d watch her sleep, studying the curve of her round face, anticipating the rise and fall of her tiny chest, seeing her long black lashes flicker as she dreamt. At times, I’d have to be torn away from her crib. In those early days of motherhood, I’d rush home from work, barely throwing my purse down before burying my face in her soft bloated belly, exhausting myself, chasing that baby giggle high. I’d spent hours wondering what kinds of things she’d say once she learned to express her thoughts. I couldn’t wait to interact with her on that level and now…
When had my priorities become so twisted? It seemed she was so accustomed to being put off, she didn’t wait for me to say it anymore. How long would it be before she just stopped trying? Would I have even noticed?
Psalm 127 says “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”
How could I have forgotten that? God blessed me with this thing, motherhood. I was not giving this role the respect it deserved. My children are my reward, something that should be cherished and savored. Standing before me was my life’s greatest assignment, begging to be nurtured, struggling to claim first position over every other thing distracting me.
I thought about the story of Martha becoming so consumed with the household preparations that, in her mind, were needed to host Jesus and his disciples. Her frustration overtook her when she saw her sister, Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, doing nothing to help.
But Jesus said to her,
Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Suddenly, I realized the house will never be clean enough. While I was busy raking up leaves in the midst of a hurricane, my daughter was getting the “second best” message loud and clear. I put down my sponge and knelt in front of her. I pressed my nose to hers.
“Let’s go plant the rose bush, baby.”
The dishes cried out to me from the sink but I led her past them without a word. The pile of dirty laundry whined at me from their tangled heap on the floor but I paid no attention. The dust bunnies crept out of their living room corners, daring me to chase them. But I wasn’t playing that game today. And when my husband got home from work, looked around and gave me that questioning look, I shrugged. What did I do today? Today I paid deference to motherhood.
This months post was written for the Hearts at Home Third Thursday Blog Hop daring us to “Unleash Your Power to Respect.” Click here for more Third Thursday Thoughts from the other Hearts Bloggers.