It’s 2AM and I am jolted from sleep at the sound of my son’s cries. I fumble around for my glasses then swing my legs out of bed to find him, eyes peering out from under his covers. “I scared,” he tells me. I swoop him up and sit in the rocking chair then sway back and forth for what seems like forever. I am like a ship passing in the night. I no longer receive that compassionate look from knowing mothers who once held newborns into the wee hours of the morning. This, here, doesn’t feel like a badge of honor. I’ve seen pictures of mothers, serenely rocking their children to sleep, like a champion of tenderness and concern for the small humans in their life. I do not feel like these women. He lifts open his eyelids and looks up at me, and I can feel his body relaxing into mine. Somehow, I am the source of his comfort. His fears melt in my presence. If you looked into my window you would see me half asleep, holding a toddler some may say is too big to be held, but I am building compassion and trust. I am holding a safe haven over this small child’s head.
It’s the middle of the afternoon and I step on a lego that I swear I’ve picked up a thousand times today. “What that?” my son asks me. He knows what it is and has asked me this question at least 50 times in the last hour. I have resorted to answering this question with other questions, such as, “What do you think it is?” “A lego.” He says, matter of factly, as if his initial question was some kind of a strange test of my tribal toddler knowledge. “Yay! I did it!” I hear his tiny voice proclaim. My son has taken the legos that I stepped on just moments ago and created a tower. His eyes are lit with accomplishment and intrigue as he points to the different shades of blue, red, and green. I smile at him. “This one orange!” he proclaims, pointing to the brown lego at the bottom. I sigh, walk over and kneel down next to him. “No son, it’s very close though. This one is actually called brown.” “Brown?” he responds. “Brown.” His hold world is on the very tip of my tongue.
There is beauty here, in the insignificant amount of times I’ve sung Jingle Bells in May (it’s a lot), upon frequent and adamant requests while I prepare the food that nourishes and grows the future. It is in the insignificance of teaching someone how to count, or how to share, in the endless driving back and forth from daycare and work and everywhere in between, and I could spend my life waiting for a grand and exciting interruption, but if I did, perhaps, I might miss the moment of significance that is hiding amongst the mundaneness of everyday life. If I did I might miss the look on my sons face when he pauses, for just a moment, to listen to music that is very slow or how I can physically see his excitement at the sound of a train passing by. No, I have found that I cannot afford to miss this beautiful season of insignificance.
My husband came home and asked what we did today. I looked around at the toys strewn about, the chores not finished. “Oh, nothing too exciting” I replied with a smile as my toddler played happily with his trucks on the floor.
[2 Thessalonians 4:9-12]
Shepherd’s Pie, my son, Finn’s, favorite. It is tedious and annoying to make, chopping a gazillion vegetables and I use every pot in my kitchen. It Is not fancy but he asks for it frequently. It is the perfect dish of insignificance.
Music: To Make You Feel My Love by Bob Dylan
Loving Father. It is easy to run laps around my life, to allow my life to be defined by the hustle. Forgive me for the times I’ve been so focused on goals or getting there, that I have failed to miss the blessing of the journey.
Take a moment and reflect on your life. Are you always looking to find the next thing? Do you pause to reflect on the goodness of the life you have now? Do you take for granted the things that feel insignificant to you? Find 5 insignificant parts of your life and practice the discipline of gratefulness. Thank God for them every day for a week, and see how that changes how you see them.