Sunday, November 4, 2012

Old Mom, New Mom

I sat in a different pew this morning in church. My two little girls seemed especially squirrely and they were just beyond my reach. There was no pew quickly available to me, late arriving, to fit into with the girls and they were already tucked in beside of their favorite pew buddies. My goal was to sit as near to them as possible so as to administer the "big eyes" as was sure to be necessary.

I landed, after two attempts, in a pew across the aisle from my wiggly gals and their keeper and a few pews behind a small group of mammas who were actively juggling their young children. These young moms probably didn't realize that they were seated in such close proximity to one another because each one was seated among her own family members tending to them as moms are want to do.

At different moments during the service one young lady or other would capture my attention as she participated in worship. I wondered, as I observed from my perch behind them, if each knew what a fine job she was doing. I wondered if each of them knew that she was, at that very moment, fulfilling her calling, the one only she can fulfill...mamma to those precious, wiggly, beautiful, potential-filled gifts from God.

I remember in the early days as a parent, when it was me sitting there in that pew worried that my children would disrupt or call attention to themselves, or cry causing everyone to look my way...then it dawned on me that I was operating under that exact worry even now as I sat in my different pew shooting furtive glances across the aisle at my own farmed-out children.

I also remember that in those early days the mere act of getting to church fully dressed with the children also fully dressed, was huge! It took two fairly sleep-deprived, college-educated adults over two solid hours to get two small children ready and into the car on any given Sunday morning.  One would think that after such an achievement I'd arrive in my pew triumphant.

Not so.

Not ALL.

When I finally collapsed into my pew in those days, I'd begin to beat myself up a bit, the internal dialogue louder in my ears than the praise music, "You are a young healthy woman, what is so wrong with you that it was so difficult to get to church this morning?"

Then, I'd look around at my friends, also young mothers, who were sitting peacefully, or so it would appear, in the choir and in the pews around me. Their hair looked clean, their teeth looked brushed, they were all dressed so stylishly and their clothes fit their trimmer-than-mine bodies beautifully. Not one of them smelled of the spit up that was beginning to warm and ferment on my shoulder.

After all of the effort it took to reach my place in the pew, I was less than thrilled to be there for a while during those early years. Eventually, it got easier. Eventually I learned...eventually. I learned that this being a mamma job was NOT an easy job. It was the absolute most difficult task I'd ever been given and it was NOT easy day in and day out. I'm not sure why I'd expected it to be but those expectations were as unrealistic as my perception of my peers.

So today, as I sat in the pew watching the young mammas at work, I just wondered if they knew that their job is hard ESPECIALLY when they are doing it well. I wonder if they feel alone in their tasks sometimes, like I did. I wonder if they think that everyone ELSE has it all together and that they are the only ones who don't.

As a young mom, I knew when I got to my pew on Sunday that I had worked hard, very hard, but now, as an old mom I know WHY it was such a chore...SUNDAY MORNINGS ARE HARD WORK not because I am messed up or incapable or because I have something wrong with me but because SUNDAY MORNINGS ARE HARD WORK (just like Monday mornings and Tuesday mornings...). They are hard work for everyone and whether they look all fluffed and lovely or not, 98% of my peers have worked like crazy people to get to church just like I have.

Frankly, it's only out of sheer effort of restraint that when I arrive at church these days that I don't take a running, hooting, hollering victory lap of celebration around the sanctuary. Such accomplishments really should be celebrated. Next Sunday, do you think it would be appropriate for me to take a lap round the room to give all of the young mammas a high five during the greeting time? 

They deserve at least that!

"He will tend His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs in His arms;
He will carry them in His bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young." 
Isaiah 40:11


Sudeana said...

Love it!! Next week I'll mentally take that victory lap with you from across the miles :)

Becky said...

I'll be lapping the room too! We have all needed it at one time or another!

G'ma suz said...

Victory on you not-so-old Moms!!! Don't forget to include the honestly-old Moms who have only dressed themselves and may appear okay to "glances" but as they arrive home they will perhaps have a few outfits or seven to hang up as some were too tight, some too short, some too long and none appear just right as the time to go drew swiftly nigh. Just saying' slip the old gals a high five too as you make that victory lap! Been there and as I look back LOVED THAT View on Sunday morning when three little girls were shining bright and my PJs looked good too. . . Love, Mom

Tiffany said...

Thank you for this post! We've had a rough few days here, and, once again, it's good to hear that this is "normal" and not forever!

Janet said...

I want to be there for your lap and high five. ; )
G'Ma Suz I'm with you.
The fitting into and hanging
up the clothes. The wonderful times of having the whole family in the pew. Those are precious memories. Cherish those times, young girls.
(nothing precious about the fitting into the clothes part)haha

Waffle-Wednesday said...

I love this. I remember dropping my son off at his adorable artistic preschool with a baby on my hip, feeling completely unkempt and crazy. Another mom, whose hair and makeup were perfect, reassured me by saying, when your youngest is this old (patting her son on the head) you will have time for you again. It's true! They grow up and eventually we get to go out in public not looking ridiculous. You are so sweet to give new moms high fives!

Lori said...

You know what I would do Gretchen? Obviously God has put it in your heart to recognize these moms. They probably need the physical pat on the back as well so why not pop a card in the mail to let them know how great they are doing and how much you appreciate their hard work. not ten cards a week, just one here or there. It would be a great blessing. Its nice to be recognized. Love you my friend

Gretchen said...

Thanks you! I remember "being there" so vividly and take for granted how much easier (in some ways) it gets! Thanks for your kind words and further encouragement to these precious young mammas

Gretchen said...

Good plan know whereof you speak!!

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