Friday, May 24, 2013

When little lips speak of things buried inside a mother-heart

My little girl is in tears, in the arms of her daddy. 

I have gone to bed early, before my husband, before even the oldest children. My body simply gave out, and I had no choice but to lay down.  I am frustrated that my body refused to live up to the standards in my head. There is a frying pan covered in hamburger grease in my kitchen, and I hate that I will wake up to it tomorrow. 

Daddy sent the girls to bed, but one did not go quietly. Teeth brushed, she rushed back into his arms, in tears.  It's bedtime, but she has two more math problems to do.  She thinks her father is heartless, unfair, for making her go to bed with things undone. 

He and I have talked about this- how her wonderful work-ethic pushes her near perfectionism. 

He sits with her on the end of our bed.

"Honey, it's ok to go to bed with two problems left undone. You will have plenty of time in the morning."  She doesn't believe him, though the problems are simple.  Leaving loose ends, even if they can be tied in under three minutes, is torture to her little soul. "Your body needs rest my dear. It's OK not to have everything done. Daddy still loves you, and mommy.  And Jesus loves you too, and he wouldn't love you any more if your jobs were done.  Go to bed, dear.  It really is OK.."  

She sniffs and nods.  
She tries to believe. 
She hugs her mother and rushes off to bed.

I imagine her crying small tears while she waits for those words to take root in her heart.

I love my husband and those words of comfort he speaks.
But still, I almost ask him if he wouldn't mind going back into the kitchen and cleaning that disgusting frying pan.  But I know he would laugh, thinking I must be kidding. How can such a request come after such a lesson?  

Motherhood, like taking your heart out of your chest and watching it walk around, indeed.  These walking hearts of mine, they say things I couldn't say. Is it pride or the forgetfulness of age that causes me to keep these things buried? 

I put my head back on my pillow, and I wait for those words to sink down into my heart.


  1. Oh Emily, I know what you mean. Thank you for this good reminder, this wonderful lesson. May I offer understanding, though, from a shared perspective? I hate going to bed with a dirty kitchen. I don't think it's because of leaving a job undone. I just do not like entering my workspace with yesterday's leftovers greeting me in all their disgusting glory.

    1. I absolutely agree. A clean kitchen is part of my Standard Operating Procedure. It even makes serving healthy breakfasts easier (ok, possible! I don't think I would do it otherwise!)

  2. "He wouldn't love you any more if your jobs were done." Wise words.

  3. I'm with y'all on the clean kitchen before bed thing. Otherwise I'm a huge sulking grump in the morning. There's always something to clean or get done at my house, those things eat at me, it's very hard for me to rest my body and mind. Usually my lazy side wins for my body, but in my mind the battle is more difficult!

    Also hard to hear my girls who, looking into the closet full of clothes whine "I don't like anything" and the "I'm not pretty" talk has already started. I don't think I've shown them these dirty sins of mine but perhaps the things in my heart aren't as "hidden" as I'd like them to be.


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