“I am my mother’s daughter.”
That thought ran through my mind as I stepped back from the clean, clear kitchen counter. For weeks it was missing under piles of mail, foster care paperwork, tax forms, calendars, stacks of bibs, mugs of coffee, iPhone chargers and other forms of clutter.
Two nights ago, in a fit of
dissatisfaction coupled with a longing for visual space, I attacked that counter with a vengeance, rearranging kitchen appliances, throwing out unneeded papers, sorting and saving important documents and assigning other “homes” to everything else. Then, after wiping the counter down with one final antibacterial cloth, I sighed deeply and enjoyed the clear space. It didn’t last long as Mike came home with the mail and unloaded the contents of his backpack and grocery bags on that counter. But for one hour I had that clear space.
Diligently I’ve kept an eye on that counter, cleaning, and sorting the items which end up on the clear surface. It’s only 10am, but twice today I’ve guarded and maintained that empty counter.
I remember the satisfaction my mom seemed to derive from a clean kitchen and clear counters. In fact, when we kids did dishes, part of the chore included unloading the drying rack before going to bed so that when Mom awoke to start breakfast for all of us she started with an empty kitchen. I understand that requirement a lot more now.
Somehow, with each member of the family we add, the house becomes a bit more difficult to maintain in pristine condition. When we had PIE + our puppy + two foster babies + people coming in to help my home seldom felt clean and organized. We had charts to keep track of feeding, napping and changing the three babies in the house, laundry piling up, and bulky toys for the kids throughout the living room. With only three rooms in the apartment, and two of those being bedrooms, our home felt even smaller.
That clear counter represents more to me than simply an empty space. It’s like an invitation to rest in the order, to think creatively, the breathe deeply.
Yesterday Mom sent a link about a stay at home mom who calls herself a “nap time abolitionist” and changes the world while her kids sleep. But even more than I loved the article, I loved that my mom sent the link to me. Perhaps she sent it as encouragement as I struggle to fulfill God’s call on my life, honor the way He made me, utilize my gifting and skills, maximize my time and love on the babies entrusted to me. I try to take advantage of nap times to help people take their next step towards fulfilling their Divine destiny even as I try to do that myself.
But this was modeled to me growing up by my mom. She served her family, looked for opportunities to grow her mind and use her strengths and develop new interests. She did all of this while raising four daughters, supporting her husband, crisscrossing the country as a Navy Wife (“The toughest job you’ll ever love!”), going back to college to earn her degree, and, later, caring for my dad through leukemia, chemotherapy and his heaven-going.
I’m so thankful for how she’s modeled stages in a woman’s life: motherhood, wife-hood, and widowhood. May I walk with grace like her, leaning into Jesus with each day, so that at the end of my life I can still say “I am my mother’s daughter.”