It was at 13 I first laid eyes on the embodiment of my life’s lack of significance: Kirsten Dunst. She was the female lead in Interview With A Vampire and her very existence – my same age, beautiful, famous, talented, accomplished – barely lifted an eye in passing my boring, middle class, suburbia, braces, bangs. I remember laying on the couch in the sitting room we never used and feeling I was already so ordinary. No acting, no modeling, no sports prowess, no ballet classes, no significance. Not a kid prone to dismay or depression, this was the first time I’d really experienced feeling like I was way behind where I should be in life and why hadn’t someone told me and why didn’t my parents know what Kirsten’s parents did and sign me up for acting classes at age 3 and what was I gonna do about it? I cried there on that couch and resolved to make things right because I never wanted to feel insignificant again.
This morning my nine month old and I enjoyed our lattes together at the local coffee shop – his more organic than mine. And if pressed to recall the details of my day I’d list a little something like this:
- Woke at 11:32pm (last night) and 4am and 6am – the first to return my sweet 2 year old (Boss) to his bed and the latter two occasions to plug a bottle into the sleeping, but growling mouth of said nine month old. He growls – go figure. Must be a boy thing.
- Awoke officially at 6:15am – changed two diapers, stripped soaking sheets from toddler bed, fixed another bottle, grabbed coffee, watched Octonauts – the amazon adventure one (for the thirteenth time) my 3 year old (Chief) loves and snuggled
- Dressed Chief with relative ease. Chased protesting soggy Boss around and WWF’d him into his clothes again reminding him that it is -2 degrees outside and improper nakey weather. Partially loose battle and pack his pants in purse to replace his orange gym shorts at a later time. He did look so cute in his Superman cape and knee high striped socks.
- Deposit Boss and Chief at preschool.
- Post coffee with Goose (9 month) head to insurance office to dispute a $1k increase in our flood insurance. Thanking God it was an error.
- Grocery store where I receive a call from dentist that next month’s root canal will cost five hundred dollars more than projected. Pray for help.
- Return groceries to home, vacuum, laundry, play with Goose, dishes.
- Pick up from preschool and attempt car wash – so badly needed this time of year. Car wash fails mid-wash and stops working. At least I got my $8 back
- Return home finish dishes, vacuum and mop entire house – filthy. Baseboard heat exists as a result of The Fall. Intermittently make snacks, fold laundry, pump breast milk, find lost precious articles such as the Batman car/paper airplane/Dusty Crophopper and so on. And all with a 25lb teething baby strapped to my back. So used to it I actually like having him there.
- Fix two dinners – one children’s at 5pm and one adult at 6pm
- Wrestle, chase, love, answer innumerable questions, diaper, wipe, and so on. Its now 9:41pm and all the men are asleep including my husband who is currently in the top bunk of Chief’s bed not to be moved. My pink bathrobe uniform and I are snuggled in my bed and the snores of Goose in his neighboring crib compliment the artificial rain track on my phone.
I began watching the Oscars tonight and felt that faint sense of insignificance rising up in me. Look at all these beautiful women and their accomplishments and gowns and makeup. Though I was grateful for the brevity of the emotion, that girl crying on the couch no one was allowed to sit on except for prom pictures was right next to me. I nearly simultaneously remembered that I cherished the luxury of the day I just waded through. I sang Boss to sleep looking right in his sweet face and said, “Jesus loves you. I’m so proud to be your mommy.” He said, “I happy mommy.” I made Goose laugh a deep, gurgling laugh only babies have. I asked Chief how many kisses he needed today and loved that his response went from five to seven to 100 because he delights in that question and my answer so much.
Three little beings orbited around me throughout the trappings of my day – or I them. With certain assured confidence I made three young men feel they were significant, loved, wanted, and safe for the last 24 hours. The weight and glory of being the universe for these tiny humans – its fleeting and simple and wonderful. And yet there was a time roughly ten years ago were I couldn’t have imagined a less terrible way to spend a day – a day without significance or accomplishment. I can see that 22 year old version of me saying, “Really? You do this everyday and feel good about it?” To be sure I revered the call to motherhood for other women, but had thought I knew I wasn’t one of them. I remember nannying for two families on their vacation and after one sunrise to sunset with five little ones saying, “So you guys do this like every day?”
Is it irony to say I revel in a job that the world views as one of the least significant vocations available? That the young woman who swore she would never, ever be a full time parent is now grateful for the extravagance of not going to an office or factory daily, but spending her hours and herself on those who possess her heart?
Each night I pray over my boys that they would have deep peace and confidence in their identities as sons of God. I tell them I am so proud to be their mommy. What I didn’t know that day was that my significance has been paid for, is unshakeable and so beautiful. I can’t earn it or create it. I may fill my time with efforts and accomplishments beyond compare, but only He can fill the desires of my heart – even the desires I might feel certain I don’t want. Sometimes its so very good to be wrong. My deepest desire is that on the day I see His face, He will say, “Well done good and faithful daughter.”
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.