Friday, March 25, 2016

Holy Week with Toddlers

I am pastor and mother. Holy Week and all of its emotions and experiences are very much a part of my life and psyche this week.  All the while, I am mother of two thrill seeking and darling toddlers.

We play kitchen, or as my oldest says "chicken" with the fake food, and when I am asked to hold the grapes, my mind wanders off to a scene of the disciples and the Last Supper.  We play outside on the swing and the slide and I reflect on what betrayal does to relationships, in Jesus' time and my time.  We bathe them, and kiss their tiny feet as we dress them for bed, and scenes of Jesus and washing the road weary feet of his adult disciples seems so far removed from the experience of giggles and soft baby feet.

On Good Friday, their respective childcare was closed and both sweet hubby and I were home.  We did typical things: watched Frozen, play in the "chicken," negotiated cease fires (over toys) with children whose language skills are not complex enough yet, we ate lunch, and put them down for their afternoon naps.  Now, a moment to reflect on the cross that is not broken up by cries for "Mommy" and "Daddy," or diapers to change...

I keep thinking about how I won't always be able to shelter them from some of the horrible things that happen in this world. My beautiful children will indeed experience heartache, disappointments, and pain.  One day I will hold them while they cry over the latest injustice or act of violence.  And then in the next breath I feel guilty because I can shelter my babies knowing that there are children throughout the world that are subject to horrible things.

Today, I reckon with the cross.  And its messy and not always focused, but I am grateful that God's grace is big and wide and welcoming.  And I'm thankful that Jesus loved us all that much.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

To the Gravy-Makers!

5:00am is really early.

The husband and I had an understanding early on--no speaking before 8:00am beyond pointing and brow furrowing.  Then, we had children, and those rules no longer apply as they once did.  This morning the youngest decided 5:00am was a good time to wake up, request some milk, Momma's undivided attention, and an episode of Doc McStuffins.

About 6:00am, it was time for some breakfast.  We are cereal people.  Or yogurt and some fruit when we are making an effort toward good health, and on our quickest days-- poptarts or cheerios.  But this morning, I had time.  Plenty of time.  So I made biscuits, and got out the iron skillet to fry up some turkey sausage patties, and while I was there I decided I would make some gravy.

I can't make gravy without thinking of my Papaw and the time he decided to teach me how to make gravy.  He was an expert gravy maker, but on that day with his life-worn hands and finger tips having lost feeling a long time ago, he managed to add powdered sugar rather than flour, resulting in one of my all-time favorite memories of him.

At 6:30am as I remembered that moment with my Papaw,  I smiled in my barely lit kitchen with the sounds of my youngest now playing with the train table in the background.  Oh, how he would have delighted in his great granddaughters!  Then, I began to wonder who taught my Papaw how to make gravy.  My Great Grandfather or Great Step-Grandmother?  His mother died shortly after his birth.  Maybe my Great Great Grandmother Gray?  She was the one who cared for him in early childhood. 

That's a lot of generations of gravy makers.  

As I looked out the kitchen window, gazing more into the past, the sun began to light the earth bringing me back to the present. Back to the gravy that needed my attention.  I stirred and added a little more milk, realizing that my reflections weren't really about gravy at all.  Its not even about the sleepless nights and early mornings and general lack of sleep--I'm telling myself sleep is over-rated anyway.  It is about the little one who is almost past the baby stage preferring some cuddles and attention from her Momma rather than being alone in her crib on a cold winter morning. Its about the gift of slowing down, reflecting, loving, and remembering. 

When my kids get a little older, I'll tell them the story of my Papaw that is safely cradled in my heart among my most cherished memories.  In the meantime, I'll treasure the sound of her sweet voice in the middle of the night calling my name, I'll memorize the smell of her tiny head, the way her cheeks indent when I kiss them, and those precious little hands.

Hands that will one day make gravy, among so many other things.