And it's been a long day. Every day is a bit longer these days not so much because we are approaching the beginning of summer, but because I have to wake up pretty early these days. Anywhere between 4-7am depending on the Troublemaker (aka, the baby). She goes by Troublemaker because she is the biggest troublemaker you can imagine. Payback for the terror I was to my parents when I was a kid. Seriously, if you give this teething kid a choice between a teething toy, a teething blanket, and and a binky...guess what she will try chewing on? Her socks. Welcome to motherhood.
Needless to say, I am truly blessed to have her. With all of my reproductive system issues, my prayers were answered and my life has been permanently altered for the best. So many things have been changed by this baby and all for the better (the family dog may not agree, but she puts up with it as best as she can with the help of pity treats on my part). My prayer life is no longer as regular as it used to be and more sporadic than I would like for it to be...but motherhood has become the CCD teacher I never had.
Stained Glass by Gorham and Company (1922)
Saint Paul's Cathedral in Denver, Colorado
I get so many things now. I am beginning to understand God's love for His children. His longing for our attention and our affection. I am beginning to understand Christ's sacrifice and why he allowed himself to undergo so much pain and anguish for the sake of humans that simply will never understand the profundity of his love. I look at the Troublemaker sometimes (even when she is terrorizing the dog or screaming because her bottle wasn't made 5 seconds ago) and all I want is for her to look up at me and smile. That's it. That tiny little smile or even that tiny little laugh of hers is a joy in and of itself. Just as, I am sure, our acknowledgment of God's love must be a joy to Him. Something as simple as that must mean so much to Him. Motherhood taught me that.
I am beginning to finally appreciate why prayer is so important...even if I don't have much time for all of the rosaries, chaplets, etc. I used to pray. Even so, my soul's longing for conversation with God has not gone unnoticed. I find myself sending up quick prayers throughout the day. In moments of exasperation (Oh good God have mercy! Not another spit-up!), I turn to God...hoping that He doesn't consider these moments as using his name in vain. In moments of peace, I find myself repeating the prayer of the desert fathers (Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner) or a series of "Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy" prayers without even realizing it.
Don't even get me started about my life as a Marian Catholic. Mama Mary has been a pillar in my journey through the scary wilderness of motherhood. The worry for my child echoes her worry when she and St. Joseph lost their son. The joy of hearing my child's squeals of delight at the simplest things echoes what it must have felt to see her son's joy in the conversion of sinners. Then there's the deep theology of the "theotokos." How one human can take part of God's plan for humanity through motherhood. My child is not the Messiah or the son of God for that matter. But she is a child of God with a soul and a life ahead of her and her very own guardian angel. She has a future in this world and in the eternal world. It boggles my mind that I gave birth to a part of God's creation. This little Troublemaker...who began as we all did...as two cells coming together to make one individual.