Ohhh. Every time I sit down, I feel the bruise from this morning’s accident. This morning was one of those blessed days I got to spend with the two new loves of my life, Sophia (4) and Isaac (1.5). It was one of those mornings I forgot about myself. After running around all morning with the kids, I’d let everything go, until I was in the car and suddenly realized my stomach was growling. I was thirsty. Man, did I have to go to the bathroom! I also noticed a shimmering piece of glitter stuck in my hair, which was now speaking nothing of the fact that I had brushed it AND curled it at 7:30 a.m.! Kids teach you like no one else can how to be selfless, giving, and sacrificial to the point of self-forgetfulness. This morning reminded me of the lesson. Here’s how it happened.
First, we made a beautiful mess. Sophia and I spread out construction paper, scissors, glue, ribbon, fake flowers, stickers, crayons, markers, glitter, you name it, it was on the table… and soon to be on ourselves. I had come prepared, bringing some of my own materials to add to her mother’s stack. One of the materials was a jar of glitter. Sophia promptly dumped the entire contents on the table, creating a dazzling, remarkable display. Then we went to work. Sophia cutting, cutting away in a sort of scissor frenzy. Me trying to think of creative ways to involve Sophia in the process of making valentines that would look like valentines to their respective recipients (as nanny, I was supposed to assume some level of responsibility in their outcome). By now my scissor-frenzied artist was involved in making a massive knot with all the ribbons she’d pulled off of their spools and admiring this entangled pink blob with glowing pleasure. I recruited her to wield the glue stick in forging things together and sought her expert advice on which stickers were of preference. We succeeded and survived, crafting four beautiful valentines.
By then, Isaac’s nap was over, and so I headed to the table with him, so he could have a hand in making a valentine. While he loves to hold crayons in his hands, he hasn’t quite figured out how to use them. So to get the job done, I had to guide his hands over the paper and apply the needed pressure.
I knew that these valentines would soon be given away “from the kids” to their loved ones. I knew that I wouldn’t get credit in the end, but they would, and should. To love requires we forget ourselves. To lay down our life for a friend is the greatest gift of all. What are a dozen roses, a perfect card from Hallmark or a romantic dinner without the foundation of self-giving love? Love is selfless, it expects nothing in return, it loves, and then it loves some more. As Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, “Love until it hurts, and then there is no more hurt but only love.”
I picked up Isaac, holding his back to my belly. I was preparing to sit down in the chair by the craft table when I missed the chair. Instead of a safe landing, the chair, Christina, and Isaac all came tumbling to the floor. I took the brunt of the fall on my rump, pulling Isaac on top of me and cushioning his fall. Ah my rump hurt but Isaac didn’t even whimper or cry. He only looked at me in wide-eyed surprise. I was angry at myself for having missed the chair, but so relieved that he was safe! After such an epic fall, you’d think I’d have remembered to tell his mother upon her return, but I forgot. One loves and then loves some more, not counting the cost or adding up points. Love is not complicated. In the end, it’s about how much you are willing to go and risk your own life to save another.
In the afternoon today, I received a package from a friend. Inside was a card and a box of chocolates. It read, “For you, friend. Happy Valentine’s Day.” Then my friend added, “Happy Singles Awareness Day!” I began laughing out loud and cried a few tears at the same time. Wondering how far my friend had gone out of her way to do this for me, I felt loved and rescued by grace in one singular action. Now it's my turn to stand in wide-eyed gratitude.