I bet she doesn’t have diapers in her purse. That’s my first thought as I pull my mom-mobile into the parking space next to her. Her hair is long and shiny and her outfit is cute and fashionable and her car is small and not full of ground cheerios or books about outer space.
I drop my keys in my diaper-laden purse (at least they’re clean, right?) and gather up all my belongings– heavy, overfilled backpack; purse; large binder sporting a drawing of a pig on one of the front covers; coffee mug. She is getting into her car with a cute little day planner and some keys. I tug at my shirt– why won’t it ever lie straight?– lock my van, and huff away under the burden of all those school books.
It’s planning day for me, Wednesday, and I come to work where I usually have very few people needing me, spread out all my teacher’s manuals and my fingerprinty laptop, and scribble out plans for next week’s school. I kind of need a wheelbarrow to bring all my stuff in. Instead I heft it up like a pack mule and envy the cute little college girls with their cute little day planners and cute little cars.
She said to me that she sees God in my writing, and you know I love to hear that but it mystifies me a little, because sometimes He seems so very far away. And I wonder how He can be here, on this blank page, if I can’t feel Him here in the room with me as I write. Sometimes I feel Him strong and near. But sometimes it seems like He must be way up in heaven, sitting on His throne, taking care of all the important stuff. While I am down here, decidedly unimportant as far as most people are concerned, typing out words and not planning lessons like I should be.
Sometimes I have to write.
I remember college. It wasn’t so long ago, although it can seem that way when I see it through the haze of children and mini-vans and washing machines and crow’s feet that has gathered around me through the years. But I do remember. I remember wanting so badly to be married, to be a mother, to have a family. Sometimes I wanted a career, but usually I just wanted a family. Just.
I forget sometimes, you know? The blessing that they are. How much I wanted all of it– from the dirty laundry to the smelly boy socks to the fine coating of crumbs all over the interior of my vehicle. I wanted those things because I wanted these people, this family.
I tease my kids all the time. “You want a spanking?” I ask, when they’re doing nothing wrong at all. The answer is always no. Sometimes they’ll say no but they do want a kiss. Those are the best moments of all.
Today I told my Stinky boy that I had determined I was not going to allow him to turn seven next week; he was just going to have to stay six for a little while.
“Mommy?” Squeezy piped up. “You wanna spankin’?”
Even she knows that I can’t stop the growing. And He knows how much I need the moments of giggles and laughter when they say such silly things. And so I am reminded that He is here, even when I’m too busy or too distracted or too selfish to see Him in every little detail. He is always here, always in the writing, always.
I bet she doesn’t have diapers in her purse, I think.