You are the original. You birthed the world through your very being, sending light and land, water and wonder, flesh and spirit into a whole new frontier. In the task of motherhood, we seek to imitate your original work – accepting the role of nurturing, caring for, and cultivating other beings entrusted to us.
On this day as the earthly role is celebrated, we remember all human mothers who follow your lead. For mothers willing to walk the journey, even in imperfection, we give thanks.
Somewhere deep within me, life is growing. Distinct and separate it will one day be. But as for now, it is one with my life. That which I consume, it consumes. That which I enact, it joins me in participation. We are fused beings whose physical union is temporary but whose relational union is eternal.
The external world will be changed, just as any life brings effects to the people, earth, and time with which it lives. Brothers will shift in relationship as they seek to include another sibling. Parents will shift in patterns as four arms now care for three lives. Extended family will have one more to hold and to name.
Friends are being grown alongside this one, all school peers still in wombs around the city and beyond. Future teachers might not yet have found their callings. Future professors are college students with dreams and a lot of hard work ahead of them.
All will change. But for right now, I hold the change within. Continue reading
She has always been a gift to me. Never in an official role, she has always been the bonus prize.
When befriending her oldest, I got the chance to gain her by virtue of being my friend’s mother. She exemplified what it meant to love Bobby – to both help him from falling and to be there for him when he did. Her persistent love for her son through the ups and downs showed me what it was to be a mother, before I was even trying to learn. Her persistent love for her son since his death has reminded me to cherish the days as they pass, to hold them gently and loosely, and to be a good steward of the lives entrusted to me. For nothing remains forever, other than the love shared. That always remains.
Cheek-to-cheek, our faces squeeze together in the dark as I comfort our youngest in the last bedtime ritual of the night. Ever since he was old enough to rough it in his room alone, we have had this moment at day’s end. The room’s darkness only makes all the other senses increase. He relinquishes any control over his body and simply lets me hold him.
At first, as an infant, he could rest solely on my chest, with my arms just as extra support. Now, almost two and a half, his arms wrap around my neck and his legs haphazardly fold around my sides. My arms squeeze him tight as I rub his back in the quiet.
He whispers, “mommy,” softly in my ear.
Hey brother. Hey brother. Hey brother.
Wherever our two brothers roam, these words show up. Spoken from the mouth of the oldest, they are words meant to unite them upon observation of an interesting thing or participation in a daring act. They are the words meant to allow the oldest the joy of inviting another to take part in shared delight. They are the words our youngest have heard from day one as the main words of orientation around this new and foreign world before him.
They usually come in repetitions of five or more because the youngest either hears white noise due to their regularity or simply to attest to the power of the youngest’s focus on what is before him. But eventually they catch his attention (spoken right into his ear with oldest waving arms before his face) and upon registering the invitation, the two brothers become one being. Continue reading
Amidst my two weeks of travel, a bird has set up its nest right outside our back door. Perched atop the lamp post, with bits of mulch and sticks and even a little recycling, Momma Bird sits atop her eggs waiting for their lives to come to be.
I can’t help but wonder if Momma Bird regrets her choice of nest location. For at least five times a day, the door opens right by those fragile little ones in order to send our beagle out back to use the bathroom dig holes.
It’s not only vulnerable. It’s risky. It’s dangerous. It’s almost painful to know how much life’s security and future hangs in the balance every time.
To my dear friend on your first day on the job,
I can only imagine how it felt this morning as you pulled up to the church with two kids in the back. Dropping them off with the “goodbyes” and the nervous “be a good listener” before you walked those hallways and stairwells to your office on your first day as senior pastor. I’m sure a beaded necklace adorned your chest and a smile spread brightly and permanently across your face as you walked through offices giving your usual good mornings. They were always a staple in my life for the past six years. I’m glad a new crop of people can start their day with your abundant welcome.
After pleasantries, you arrive at the much-anticipated moment. The door closes and you sit at your empty desk. The job description suddenly becomes less a document of certainty and more a question of discernment of the logistics. The massive office must have felt so foreign after living in your closet-turned-office that people passed on the way to the restroom each day. The desk and seating area must have felt so ominous and expectant.
Where once he lay quietly while staring at me and discovering this world, he wiggles and lurches and almost tumbles off. I wrangle clothes on him and stand him up on the changing table to pull his pants up. Before I am even ready, he lunges into me, wrapping arms around my neck. Squeezing me, he exclaims joy in his indecipherable words straight into ear with his wet kiss staining my cheek.
I set him down on the ground and he bounds towards the toys. He plays with abandon. As I move rooms to continue the morning routine, he follows me. He brings me objects of interest – balls, trucks, airplanes, and markers left on the floor by brother who is furiously composing his next book (Mater Tales, part 4). Desperately trying to speak, he waits for me to confirm the objects’ name and respond with his ritualistic, “right.” A verification that he’s on the right track. Or perhaps a quiz to make sure mommy still has it to together.
My two boys,
A spring Saturday with Daddy on call on Louisville’s most accident-prone days, I knew it was a day for the three of us. I indulged myself with a 6:45 am alarm. You slept in enough for coffee to be made, eggs to be scrambled, and my eyes to open enough to greet the day happy at its arrival. I vowed that this Saturday, I would try to truly honor a Sabbath. I would not attempt to accomplish anything other than be with the two of you.
This is not to say being your mother is a restful task. You failed at sharing within moments of playing together and you squealed when things didn’t go your way. As I make my way through this journey with you as your mother, I give of myself, my personhood and my body, my daily tasks and my daily worries as means to grant you life, sustain that life within you, and nourish its growth.
Ain’t that good news? Ain’t that good news.
I received it as good news. I still had it together. This community was holding me together. The choir’s words washed over me, a tired mother covered in my ministerial robe as if that could hold me together. And yet here I was, I was making it. Ain’t that good news.