I didn't know what I was going to call this post, because it was just a thought. Really, just one thought, all about a mother's heart.
It's been a week since I blogged last and that is getting to be a habit. It's not that I don't have anything to say, it's that old "if you can't say something nice" thing. But there's a line from Steel Magnolias that I always loved, "If you can't say something nice, come sit by me."
It seems like every week is real penance these days. Yes, it's Lent, but it's also life. Life with a teen. I know every family doesn't experience teen angst amongst the children, and if you are one of them, get down on your knees and praise God, and thank Him for His infinite mercy. But, I think most every mother, even if her teens are really good kids, has her heart broken every now and again. Ginny, at Small Things, really struck a nerve in her post last week.
She said, "There comes a day when you realize that parenthood is going to break your heart, again and again."
Oh, boy, does it ever. I have "chatted" with Ginny about that fact. And the fact that you just don't realize how badly your heart can break until it is broken. It hits you like a Mack truck.
Since I have been a mother, at least prior to the last year or so, my heartbreak was limited to a few really devastating times. In the last year, however, my heart is breaking on a rather regular basis.
Our hearts, fragile as a robins' eggs, break so easily, I think, because these little people that God gives us, that we give birth to, and feed, and change their diapers thousands of time, and teach to walk and talk...we think they are pretty close to perfect. God gives them to us when they are so close to perfection, and when they are helpless, and they worm their way right into our hearts just moments after we see their perfect little faces, or even months before.
God does that for a reason, as I'm sure you know. So that we grow to love them so very much our hearts could burst, and then one day, our hearts do burst. Because those perfect little beings are not perfect. We learn, one awful day that they are human and they are weak, and they will fall. And we have to watch them fall. Just as Our Lord fell with the cross, three times, and His wonderful mother watched. Except he fell from our sins, not his own human weakness.
I remember when the two oldest boys were little, and I had an infant and a two-year-old, and most of the time I was in love with life and these two precious souls, but some times I thought, "Wow, this is hard work." And I truly had no idea. I don't think anyone knows how hard mothering can be until you're on your knees begging God to please, please, please fix things. Now, I am one of those "older women" who says, "Enjoy them while they are little, when they are so easy to just love. All they want is love and you can fix their problems, and they are all safe in bed at night, and you can rest your head and know that everything is ok." When someone tells you that, just believe them, because they know. And you might be cocky and think, "Mine won't turn out that way" but really, you just don't know. The best parents can raise the worst kids, and mine aren't even close to the worst kids, but they still break my heart.
At my grandma's funeral recently, I saw a man and woman from my childhood, the mother a women who had her heart broken over and over again, and she is one of the most wonderful women I have ever known. She did things right, but, still, her children broke her heart. I remember when my mother told me that her son, an older teen at the time, struck her, and I thought that was the worst thing a child could do to his mother. I still think it is one of the worst things a child can do, but I realize now that a child can pierce your heart with a sword and never lay a finger on you. When I hugged her at the funeral, after not seeing her for many years, I realized she was one of those women who knew, who would tell you just to love them when they are little, when love fixes every little problem. She knew that the peace you feel when they are under your roof at night, all tucked in their beds, that is a peace you will not know forever.
I don't have an answer to the problem's of a mother's heart, so I guess this post is really of no great help to you. I think one of the greatest difficulties in having a large family is that when the older children are breaking your heart, you have the younger ones to love, but you know they will break your heart at some point, as well. A friend texted me last week to tell me how hard it is to raise teenage boys these days. Yes, it is. But this friend had a baby and a preschooler to go home to, to love, to appreciate their perfection at this moment. I think that's a real bonus. I have only raised boys to their teen years thus far, and Faith is right on the cusp. I can't say I am feeling very brave about entering the teen years with her. I can see now why younger children get away with more. You're just worn out by the time they get to the "age of trouble."
Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for us.