Both my children take after my father in that they like oatmeal for breakfast, my son especially. I learned from my mom to mash a banana into it and a little honey too. Admittedly, it is delicious. I make the oatmeal in a large glass bowl in the microwave; I divvy it up into proper portions. This is all rather pleasant sounding, but when I look up from stirring second helpings and see Sully’s pajamas covered in oats, Talitha attempting to pour apple juice into the bowl (and failing), and clumps of oatmeal hardening on the floor already (probably some of yesterday’s still there), my Little House On The Prairie fantasy is dashed to pieces and I wake up.
All of this to say, I thought I had patience when I had my daughter. I wouldn’t call it pride, but false confidence. When my son was born I thought I had patience. Without question it was pride. Now with all three I admit that I have no patience and know that no real patience comes from anywhere but heaven.
Almost every morning I am reluctant to wake up, not to mention get out of bed. I can usually persuade my infant son back to sleep with warmth and milk. My daughter, on the other hand, is not so easily satisfied.
When I was a little girl my mom tells me I used to say goodnight by saying, “See you when the sun comes up.” Out of nostalgia I started saying it to my daughter. She’s taken it quite literally. I try to lay in bed for a few more minutes. Using my best powers of three year old reasoning, I attempt to keep her quiet and still, to no avail. Her whole body rises with the light and she comes to tell me, “Mommy, the sun came up!” She giggles loudly as if it has told her a joke and asks if she can climb in to my bed to cuddle. I wonder if I should pray that the sun stays down. Somehow my two sons stay asleep.
This is only the first light pinch at my perceived perfection. I wake up thinking if I sleep a little later I will be fine. That because of that sleep, I will be a perfect mother. That isn’t true. I know this because even when I do get that extra hour of sleep something about their behavior is bound to spark a fire in me. The way she crunches her dry cereal in her fingers or the way he eats his oatmeal with his hands. He can never wear the same pajamas twice.
Every day the justifying voices swarm inside my head. They buzz about my rights to feel the way I do. I should be allowed to feel annoyed and impatient.
Those voices are wrong. I call my children the excuse for why I am not close to the God who loves me to death. I blame them for the relationship I neglect. It’s not their fault because they are not in the way or talking over Him. They are speaking for Him. They are showing me exactly who I have become by breaking play-doh and park promises. They are witnesses to my failures, yet they forgive me, kiss me good night, and ask the next day. They echo His voice calling from eternity to wake me up to the child I must be to be fathered by Him. They are calling me not just for help or to request something but instead to display how I should come uninhibited to my Father for all things. They show me how I should approach my Father and when I don’t, they show me what happens as a result. They are his picture, his voice to me, that I am truly in need of Him every day. That he loves me every day by waking me up with the request of a child to snuggle. He is patient and his mercies are new every morning. He never gives up, and He reminds me each day, “Mommy, the sun came up.”