Wednesday, December 27, 2006when all seems too much
So I was having one of those familiar "I'm-so-overwhemed-that-I-can't-understand-how-God-can-possibly-want-me-in-this-vocation" kind of days just last week. My husband had gotten off work and quickly left again to help a friend repair his roof damaged in the wind storms. So I didn't get the kind of reprieve that is typical of a well-rested, functioning household. The kids had major cabin fever... were getting into every kind of trouble imaginable. And that's fine enough, but my number 2 child was extraordinarily whiny that day and it was only intensifying my already aching head. Finally, in an act of desperation I sent him to bed early where he promptly wailed his displeasure with me. Then, my four year old was dilly-dallying around and I felt incredibly annoyed and I didn't want to take it out on him so I sent him into bed too... yelling. I was too proud and angry to go and say the nightly prayers with the boys and was simply trying to calm down and pray for patience and guidance and encouragement. I felt completely unequipped as a mother, and rock-bottom low in spirits.
Suddenly I get interrupted from my pity-party as I start to notice the noises coming from the kids' room. Leo is still whining and crying. But Xavier is taking the initiative to console him. He said in his four years of wisdom: "Leo you have to just calm down. Close your eyes and take a deep breath like this [he demonstrates]." Then if that didn't put some salve on my heart, he told his brother that they should say their prayers. So they recited the normal nightly prayers we do and then went into their own spontaneous reflections, praying for baby Dominic and "that we don't break Papa's glasses" etc. It went on for a few minutes until they just talked quietly with each other... big brother comforting little brother, until they fell asleep.
I felt ashamed at my anger with them at this point. I realized what treasures I've been entrusted with. How deserving they are of my love! What a struggle it is to not be blinded by temporary overwhelming feelings or angst and frustration at motherhood. The big picture is what we need to always focus on. Because these little things are all too common and they undercut our ability to see our vocation as one that is beautiful, challenging and full of dignity. I hope mothers everywhere can zero in on this truth.