The short explanation for my absence from this blog is that the end of pregnancy involves a lot of figurative and literal navel gazing. Then I was sick with bronchitis for six weeks while juggling a newborn and before I knew it the holidays were upon us and I was overwhelmed with the shopping and magic making expected of mamas regardless of circumstance.
My friend Laura from MOPS asked me to write an article for the MOPS newsletter a few days ago...no real prompt...and the following words just poured out of me. I wanted to share them here as well.
On Christmas Day I missed my mama something fierce. My mother passed away unexpectedly in March 2014 - I couldn’t just call her. So I excused myself from the presents and cookies and relative chaos for a few minutes, prayed for peace, and imagined what it would be like to hug her right then.
I started with her physical presence. Her delicate bone structure that I envied, her soft skin, her long, thick hair, and then dwelt on how she smelled. It's getting harder and harder to remember that part. I hoard her beauty and hair products because they remind me of her but they aren't completely HER scent. She smelled like warm baths, chicken and dumpling soup when I was sick, and cuddles on the couch...she smelled like comfort and warmth and everything good about my childhood.
I remembered how her arms wrapped around me and how she tended to stroke my back. As I tried to remember how my body actually fit against hers...how I would tuck my head into the soft depression between her armpit and collarbone...even when I was just as tall as her and had to stoop to do so…I suddenly remembered how her breastbone protruded rather uniquely from her chest and that uniqueness is what finally brought me to tears.
1 Corinthians 15:41 “The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.”
My mother hated this part of her body and always covered her décolletage because of it. On this Christmas Day though I wept and celebrated this part of her body because it made her uniquely her. It made me wonder about all the times I heard my mother lament this or that aspect of her body and appearance.
As her daughter, I just thought she was beautiful inside and out.
Lord knows, we aren’t perfect mothers in either appearance or conduct, but this episode reminded me of the reverent and comforting space our still small children hold for us. We don’t need to be so hard on ourselves. How I wish my mother hadn’t wasted her energy dwelling on her physical appearance!
My mother often fretted about various aspects of her body but it was she who helped me feel better about a finger on my right hand that doesn't bend. I was born with a joint fused and my mother always explained it to me that God had sneezed when knitting me together in her womb. Sneezes are natural and God is perfect so I was made just the way I ought to be.
Psalm 139:19 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.”
Why couldn't she extend that same grace to herself?
For 2017, I have several resolutions – one of which is to lose the baby weight - but in light of this episode on Christmas Day, I amended it. I will be a good steward of the vessel God gave me – eat healthy and exercise - but I will also give myself grace and not criticize myself out loud or in my head. I don’t want my children to remember me lamenting the way God made me and I want to honor God’s creation, which does after all include me.