None of the Above

Tears in the Kitchen

Elle and D dance together daily. Sometimes they slow dance, sometimes lots of twirls. Either way it’s the absolute sweetest thing to watch. Tonight he had a song on repeat that he’s practicing for leading worship at our church this Sunday. I happened to be holding Jay in the kitchen so I figured we’d join in. Within five seconds, Jay started kissing me. He does it constantly; I’ll be holding him and he wraps his arms around my neck, starts squealing “mama” and kisses my cheeks over and over. We have quite the love affair going. Anyway-we’re five seconds in, he’s kissing my cheek, and I start SOBBING.

There is this intense love that is reserved for mommies and their boy babies and I was in the middle of all the feelings. I was just dancing with this sweet baby and picturing us in 20 or 30 years dancing at his wedding. Oh, I pray that God would allow me that joy one day! Ill likely be sobbing then, too and remembering today, the first time I slow danced with the second boy who stole my heart and just wrecked me in all the best ways.

  (Elle asking D to dance with her. Yes, she’s wearing a Minnie Mouse dress. She picks her own clothes out now! If you want to hear what torture sounds like try to put a pair of pants on her. “I want to be a giiiiiiirl, I need a dress, I want my tights. I want my yellow tutu”. The list goes on.)

Anyway, I was reminded for the millionth time since having kids that my life is a series of blinks. I blinked and Elle was walking, then talking, then a thousand other things. I blinked and Jay was born, I blinked and he started kissing me, I’m going to blink and be dancing at his wedding. My whole childhood felt like an eternity and the end goal felt like it was to marry my hubs. I snagged him then blinked and we’re six years, two kids, and two houses later.

I think what I’m getting at in a quite longwinded way is I’m desperate to get to the blinks because they contain sheer joy but at the end of my life I think I’ll be more worried about what I did for the tiny milliseconds that my eyes were closed. The space between.

Over the past several months I’ve been pondering in my theology what it would look like to love strangers the way I love my kids. I’m convinced that is the closest I can be in living like Christ. My kids could literally do nothing to make me love them less. No choice, lifestyle, opinion could make me love them less. Not an ounce. Needless to say it’s changed my political beliefs dramatically but I think it’s also changed the way I look at people.

Over the past few years I feel like I’ve gone through a transformation regarding minimalism and living simply, through learning to be a parent to babies and what it looks like to live missionally as a mother but now it’s reaching who we invite into our lives on purpose . How can I love strangers? How can my life look different? How can we be more generous?

It’s also made me think more strategically about my role in life as a woman. I’m not the biggest feminist in the world but I certainly am all for equal rights whether that’s in the work place or in a relationship. At the same time, I’m not promised the same luxury as my husband in many situations. He told me yesterday he purchased dinner for a homeless man while he was getting gas. I told him I can’t do it but I’m so glad he did. I don’t live in a world that I feel comfortable buying a (male) stranger food when I don’t know his mental state. Will he think I’m flirting? Will I make it back to my car safely? If my kids are with me will he say something to me that I’d  consider innapropriate and what will their experience be?

It’s a bizarre thing being a woman in this time in history. Wanting to do more than is safe, wanting to teach my kids to love strangers by example but constantly measuring the cost.

The only thing I’m sure of in this rabbit trail is that our blinks don’t match up. My kids and husband and strangers we have yet to meet are all remembering different things, experiencing different turning points, and I don’t want to be caught in fear or contemplation and not be present in a blnk. I want to be an active participant, loving well, having an open home and checkbook no matter what. My kids may feel like their childhoods were long and I hope they remember them sweetly, and like their mommy contributed to the blinks.

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