I thought I’d get a chance to watch TV last night. At least that was my plan. And in truth, I relish those precious moments at night. I savor sweet moments of quietude when the whole household is asleep. Not a soul stirring. Not even a mouse. No, it’s just me. My time to veg out. And read a book. Or perhaps watch a mindless sitcom. Life on pause as I catch my breath. Yes. As a busy mom, I long for moments of respite. They usually come at night. And despite what looked to be a promising evening of solitude, my plan was thwarted early on.
My son was in bed just after 9:00 pm. I read a chapter of Levi’s book, said a prayer over his head, turned on the fan and lava lamp for white noise and comfort, and gave him a peck on the cheek. And then, out the door I went. A bag of 220 calorie popcorn beckoned me. I eagerly split the cellophane and punched in one minute fifty seconds on the microwave. And in the ensuing minutes, I went to the potty, fed my cat and checked our doors to make sure we were secure. And then, after the beep, beep, beep, I sat down to a steaming bag of bliss and my eyes became glued to Law & Order. Finally, I rested. The breath I’d been holding came out. I exhaled. And an hour of me time stretched out before me…
By 9:20, I was completely engrossed in SVU and popped corn. However, within minutes a rustling from my son’s room vied for my attention. Yes, sure enough Levi was up by 9:25. He said he couldn’t sleep. After I vehemently told him to go back to bed no less than four times, I employed more threatening measures. My voice escalated as I asked, “Should I go get Daddy?” All to no avail, though, because Levi simply wouldn’t budge. His size three’s firmly cemented to the center of my living room. Finally, he told me the truth. My son was scared. His tears were real. Still holding tightly to my plan, though, I tried to up Levi’s comfort level. I placed a red t-shirt over his lamp in order to create warm glow and hurried back to the couch. Alas, extra light didn’t work.
By 9:30, my son cried out… Mama, will you please come lay with me. And so, my evening plans slipped through tightly clenched fists. And I did the only thing I knew to do. I turned off my program and threw out the popcorn bag. Instead of indulging in me time, I rose to the occasion and fulfilled my duty. As mom, nurturing and comforting fall to me. So I unfurled curled fingers and lay my hand over my son’s trembling body. There I went to sleep. Holding my son.
… do you love Me more than these? John 21:15
The words of Jesus came to me as I roused from sleep this morning. Do you love Me more than these? He posed His question to Peter, but He inquired the same of me just before daylight. Do you love Me more than these? Instantly, I thought of my children. It’s because of what my son said. As we lay in bed last night he said my life would be easier without him. Because he’s too much trouble. And he echoed his insecurity this morning just before boarding the bus… Your dream is coming true, Daddy’s going to work and I’m going to school. What???? Let me repeat that. WHAT???????
Before you think too harshly, let me explain. My son and I had words yesterday. More than once. And I was stern. He got in trouble. And this was on his mind last night. Nevertheless, his remarks make me sad today. I am his mother and yet somehow I’ve conveyed to my child I want other stuff more than him. Like preferring to snuggle up with popcorn and the couch instead of with him. I believe this is what Jesus wanted me to take note of this morning. Being alone a few minutes at night, or food, or TV are things I want. And come morning, it’s sleep I crave. The sleep that holds me. And I cling tightly to all these. I love these me things. But Jesus says, “Do you love Me more than these?” I have to say yes. Sure I choose Jesus over popcorn. But the real question before me today is, what about my kids? Do I choose them over popcorn, too?
After saying this, He told him, “Follow Me!” John 21:19
I dreamt about my hand last night. It was wrinkled and looked so old with my shiny ring upon it. It caused me to stir. And before drifting back off, I thought of how they’ve changed thousands of diapers. And how they’ve wiped little noses countless times. I thought of all the meals and games and projects and baths and sports and washing I’ve done. I thought about this season of my life and what it really means to be mom. Because it means sacrifice. It means laying down my wants and desires in order to put the little ones first. That’s what momdom looks like. It means loving my children more than these whatever these may be.
This is my life. It’s where I’ve spent the past nine years. In the land of momdom. And oh, how hard it is to continually lay down my life and my wants. It’s a constant struggle for me to put my desires last. To put others first. Because I can become possessive of what I consider to be mine. Like alone time at night. And a mindless show. And a bag of popped corn. Because sometimes I just want to put me first. If only for a little while. Like say an hour… But Jesus says otherwise. He said, “Follow Me!” And so that’s what I try to do.
Yes, I did my best to comfort my boy last night. I told him my life would be empty without him. That him and Annabelle and Daddy mean the world to me. That I wouldn’t trade anything for them. And I meant what I said. I really did. Shortly thereafter, Levi drifted off.
The thought that comes to me today, though, is that last night was more than me taking care of my son. And only in looking back can I see what really took place. See, there was transformation. Because as my hand rested upon Levi’s waist, it began to take on the appearance of Jesus’ own scarred one. Because I crucified my wants. In a sense, I laid down my life as I put my son first. And all I did was turn off the TV. I chose Levi over the alone time I so desired. And you know, this is exactly what Jesus wants me to do. In this season of my life, it’s how I can follow Him. It’s how I show Him my love. Because truth is – in the land of momdom – when you love your little ones more than these, you’re really loving Him, too.