Earlier this week we added a few friends to the bunch and had a play date party up in hurrr! It was lovely, crazy, and loud, loud, loud. It was fun to watch the girls at different ages and stages doing what they deemed best for bonding time with a friend and it was food for a weary mommy’s soul.
When we sat down to eat lunch the two youngest in the bunch wanted a full cup of milk in a regular cup because they were big girls and they wanted the cool character cups (who doesn’t amiright?). As I handed them their super mature milks I thought “This might be a stupid idea” because it could be a big spill with a large cleanup, but I tried to not be the overly cautious parent and instead live it up with trying new adventures. A few minutes later from the kitchen I heard the bang and saw the milk fly up into the air. As the “uh ohhhhhh” rang out I calmly grabbed the dish towel and asked what happened. Did it tip over I said? Or was someone reaching across? NOPE they said the whole cup just dropped to the floor, shot back up an then tipped and spun around. This meant we had milk up, down, and all around, reaching under furniture across the room.
I had them grab paper towels and clean up the pools of milk and then I came with the wet paper towels behind them and then the cleaner and supplies to tackle the beast. After they got up the large pools of milk I told them they could sit at the other end of the table and continue to eat lunch. As my tired, discouraged, and somewhat ornery self crawled under the table to curb the possibility of the whole room smelling like stale milk I looked and saw their cute toes swinging back and forth as they talked about genies and fairies and what it would be like to be to be a “real famous”. I was struck in the moment that this is really what motherhood is about.
I heard my daughter say “It’s okay, my mom says everybody spills!” and they giggled and laughed and put their arms around each other. They talked about all the things swimming around in their developing brains and they enjoyed each other. Sometimes in this following Jesus gig we look for the direct mirror image of what is laid out in the Bible. “If I am ever at a party and have the opportunity, I am going to wash disciples feet just like Jesus did.” Most likely, in my season it is not reiterating what a sacrifice it is for me to serve them as they grow and develop and drop milk, but to let them know everyone drops milk and grab my towel and help them clean it up.
At first glance it seems less majestic than what we imagine serving others looks like, but when you zoom in a little bit you see girls learning that they don’t have to be perfect and nail it every time. You see two little girls learning how to support one another and comfort one another when things go differently than they planned. You see toes swinging and imaginations stirring and joy oozing from people who know it is okay to be at their stage of development. I’m so glad I gave them the big ol’ character cups of milk because what I saw while kneeling beneath them with my towel wrapped over my shoulder is that this is indeed a privilege: to live and grow and help clean up the messes along the way.
Maybe the gift of motherhood is in the perspective it gives you from where you serve. Maybe you are tirelessly feeding a newborn and you are eating rice and chicken all unseasoned to see what is bothering that tiny tum tum. Maybe you are walking everywhere hunched over so two fists can cling to your pointer fingers and explore every square inch of his whole new walking world. Maybe you are duking it out in toddler tantrum marathons or falling asleep in your kiddos bed as they tell you all the things they only want to share at bedtime. Rest assured if you take a minute and peek at the swinging toes there is a message rhythmically chanting it’s life-giving words to your heart. This labor i worth it. Enjoy the posture of serving.