We celebrated Asher’s 14 month birthday this week with a bang…another ear infection, cutting not one, but both bottom one-year molars and a week of intense fussiness. Each morning or naptime, when he awoke, it was like dealing with a bear just coming out of hibernation, and it took almost every ounce of self- control for me to not just leave him in there to fuss at the walls around his room. I didn’t want to deal with another day of not getting anything done around the house, of not being able to leave him for two seconds, or of having my legs grabbed constantly while I fixed dinner. It didn’t help that I wasn’t feeling well either…with a sore ankle swollen beyond recognition and a cold starting to dance its way into my head, all I wanted was to sleep and live life on my terms.
Top all that with Asher’s newfound awareness of climbing as being something fun to do, and his discovery that anything that has an outside opens up to an inside full of wonderful things like cell phones, wallets, lipstick, diapers and wipes. I couldn’t go into a room for two minutes without Hurricane Asher leaving unbelievable carnage in his wake. After a week of tripping over emptied purses and diaper bags, almost killing myself on pots and pans spread all over the kitchen floor, and skidding on make-up brushes and hair accessories scattered all around my bedroom, I was at a veritable clutter breakdown.
You can only imagine my state of mind when you couple all those things with finding footballs in my kitchen cabinets, goldfish crackers in my purse, and socks in my camera bag. I would walk into the living room or my bedroom to find piles of Kleenex pulled out of their box and strewn recklessly about. It didn’t help that I had married the king of clutter himself, and I found myself angrily picking up after Brian nearly as much as I was picking up after Asher.
Needless to say, thinking of motherhood as a wonderful calling was the last thing on my mind. But then I re-read something that struck a chord deep in my soul and brought me back to the reality of what a joy my calling really is…that being Brian’s wife and a mother to the most beautiful boy in the world was something that I never wanted to give up. Nor was being a wife and mother about me, about my needs or about what I wanted; rather it was about sacrifice and serving God by serving Brian and Asher.
The quote was from a book I just finished reading called Romancing Your Child’s Heart by Monte Swan. In it he was telling the story of how he was at a conference one day and was watching out the window as a little boy sat in a mud puddle by a soccer field splashing himself and his shoes and socks, so meticulously removed to keep them from getting dirty. Monte smiled to himself as he watched the boy, then he realized that the boy’s mother was standing next to him watching also. Basically, he asked her what her secret was–why it didn’t matter to her about her little boy’s mess. She smiled sadly and said how since she had lost the boy’s brother to leukemia things had taken on a whole new perspective. “I have learned,” she said, “the difference between things that matter and those that are incidental. [My son] is with me and we love each other–that matters. A little dirt and water don’t. He is just a boy loving God’s creation in a way that makes God smile–in a state of innocent wonder. Who am I to rob them both of this pleasure?”
Need I say more? And as I stand next to Asher’s crib at night with Brian’s strong arms around me, and we gaze at our little miracle, I realize that my sweet boy, even when he seems to be such a little terror, is only finding joy in discovering the life that God has given him. He is doing what comes naturally to little boys…learning by doing. Picking up toys or pans or make-up brushes two or three times a day is nothing compared to eternity and the few short days I will have with Asher before he heads off into a world of his own…one where I pray he will cling not to my hands, but to the hand of the One who has given him life, and there he will just continue doing what comes naturally to little boys…discovering life.