You do not like them, so you say;
Try them and you may, I say!
I have Dr. Seuss running through my head tonight; I have had a moment something like the epiphany at the end of Green Eggs and Ham where suddenly what I was running from makes sense.
I had a heartwarming moment, or rather a chain of moments today, and I feel like that feeling -- that heart-hug feeling -- is a gift from God and I am grateful for that gift. It's something like this:
On the way to the store today in the car I was suddenly struck by how amazing, miraculous, beautiful, fantastic it is that when I drive to the store I have these two amazing little people with me... it's hard to explain in words, I just suddenly felt how fully miraculous C and N are, and I felt so lucky to be their mom that I teared up a little and had to get ahold of myself so I could drive. So it was sort of a random gratitude attack. Nothing wrong with that.
Then, tonight, which I am ashamed to say is only the second night that I have ever prayed with C, I am realizing that there is something going on in those lessons, some kind of strange spiritual alchemy -- I show him how to pray, but the things that he says, hearing from his own mouth what he chooses to say thank you for, they just floor me. He remembers things from hours and days before, little things that he liked, that he enjoyed. He seemed relieved to have a forum to say thank you for these things; he seems to genuinely enjoy listing his blessings, and there is real gratitude there as well, so sweet and innocent but very instructive to me; I spend a lot of time listing out the things that we need or want but we don't have yet -- a back porch, a fence, a college fund -- and I forget about all the really amazing things that are all around me. For example, this house! I complain about its little quirks, but it is larger, cleaner, and sturdier than any other place I have ever lived in my life. How can I complain about that? I feel like I am learning so much more about how lucky I am by teaching C to verbalize his thanks for the little daily things he loves so much.
Then, the final touch, N was having her nightly bottle and I looked down at her and she was grinning at me, this huge, toothless, milky grin. It had real understanding and real mischief in it -- so much character in that little smile. My girl is only almost three months old, but I feel like I know her so well already, I feel like we have talked and had conversation even though in reality she has only wailed (and in the past week, begun to coo! Which I love so much).
Somehow in the combination of those three little happenings I felt what I have been missing and praying for, and which I feel lucky to have received -- something tangible from God, some little point of connection. And I felt in that moment for the first time since N was born that I really am a good mom; seeing both of my kids showing such sweet, empathetic impulses makes me think that somehow I must be getting some of what I wanted to teach them out there and into their minds. It was like a shoulder squeeze, a little word from God that was so much kinder and gentler than what I expected to hear. I have a long list of the things I have not been doing right lately, but instead of any of that it was such a positive message, a "you did good" message. It makes me think that God is not the legalistic punitive figure that is sometimes presented to us; that maybe it is true what I have suspected in little bits from time to time -- that God is so much bigger than what we can imagine, and that somehow (paradoxically) he never seems larger or more all-encompassing than he does when he appears in those tiny daily details, those moments behind the wheel, during nighttime prayer with a toddler, or in a gleeful milky grin from a little girl so fresh from him.