Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Things a Mother's Heart Cannot Do

One afternoon last week I had some alone time with my boys on the back porch.  The girls were still napping, James was on my lap and the bigger boys were next to us slurking on popsicles.  I squeezed James' legs (legs that are trying to be pudgy, but he's just not a roly poly baby...)  and made a casual comment about how much I love this cute kid.  

It sparked a conversation we've had before.  

"Mom, could you just think real hard and tell us which of us was the cutest baby?"  Dominic asked.

"No, I can't do that."  

They pestered me for just a little longer.  I smiled, but was adamant.  "No.  A mother's heart can't do that.   To a mom, all of her babies are the most beautiful baby she's ever seen.  They are all the sweetest thing she's ever held, the most perfect person she's ever gazed upon, the most amazing gift she's ever been given.  It doesn't sound like it makes sense, but it's just the way a mother's heart works.  A mom's heart can't choose a cutest.  God made it so that a mother's heart knows each of her babies is the cutest."

"Is that the same reason moms don't have a favorite kid?"  

"Yep.  A mom can't choose a favorite.  Each child she has is her favorite.  It's hard to explain, but that's how God made mothers - they can have more than one favorite.  They can have as many favorite children as they have children.  You're all my favorites."

Aaron continued, but Aaron doesn't ask questions.  He states things.  "That's why you love us all the same."

"I love all you guys with all of my love.  It's kind of a miracle that a mom doesn't have to divide up her love between her children.  A mother's heart can't be divided.  She's able to give all of her love to all of her kids."  

Aaron ended our profound conversation, "Yeah, I know.  That's why you are nervous when we do scary stuff, even though we don't think it's scary.   Like climbing trees.  You can't watch the kids that have all your love do scary things in case they get hurt."  


The deep thoughts part of the afternoon was over, but I thought about it again after everyone was in bed.  My mother's heart is still young and it has not yet had to withstand much suffering, but I've mulled over a few thoughts.  A mother's heart is a fierce and fragile thing.  It's big enough and strong enough to give and give and love and love, but it cannot protect her children from every hurt and every struggle - from falling from trees to the most crippling of sins.  It can ache  just to imagine the danger a child may encounter.  A mother's formidable heart is made vulnerable with the knowledge that her children are not immune to sorrow and suffering.  Her heart, though granted the miraculous ability to have multiple favorites, and to lavish 100% of her love on each of her offspring, still cannot guarantee that those same children will always reciprocate that love, live as one worthy of her favoritism, or stay close to that heart that beats so fiercely for each of them.  Her heart knows that her children may make mistake after mistake, be weighed down by sin, stray from their faith, struggle under burdens that she cannot lift.  

(It sounds an awful lot like our Heavenly Father's relationship with each of us, his children, doesn't it?  But that's a lot bigger than I was intending to get into here!)  It also reminds me of St. Monica - a holy mother who, like every mother, could not guarantee that her own son would remain whole and holy.  (Her feast day is coming up, and incidentally, it's the anniversary of the day Russ proposed to me ten years ago!)  St. Monica did not quit, and her prayers and sacrifices for her son, in cooperation with the divine will of God, brought St. Augustine into life with Christ and into the life of the Church for all of us.   Amid struggle, sin, and suffering, her heart was stretched and strained, but she never gave up on her child.  And that's something else a mother's heart can never do.   

Can't pick a cutest.  Can't pick a favorite.  Can't divide my love but each kiddo can still have it all.  Can't give up on the ones that have been given to me.  But I can call it quits on the tree climbing when they're just high enough that my mother's heart starts to quicken.  Cause even though there's a lot I can't do, I'm still in charge =)

St. Monica, pray for us.


  1. Beautiful post, and beautifully written, as always :). Can't wait to see you and the kids around Christmas time!

    1. Thanks, Rach! Looking forward to seeing you too!

  2. Theresa, I was just reflecting on the fear we experience in those tree climbing moments today with the 12 month old, although she wasn't climbing a tree! I'm so grateful God is in control & loves us even more than I can image. Thank you for putting into words what my prayer needs to be, versus where my mind can dwell in fear.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kelly! "Letting go" of our kids is one of the hardest things, isn't it? Even though it's part of our job to help them become more and more independent it's not easy. Truly, *thank goodness* God's grace makes up for the areas where I fall short in parenting! Hope you and your sweet girls are well!

  3. Beautiful post! I'll have to remember this way of explaining it to the kids when they inevitably ask these questions some day :-)

  4. I get this I really do, these are the sort of thoughts I have{{}}
    btw Sam McBratney has a book - You're All My Favorites. Which explains the whole thing well, and part of our family lexicon now:)

    1. I've never heard of that book, but our kids like his "Guess How Much I Love You" so I'll have to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Beautiful post! And, love that got to have that time with your boys. They sound wonderful! :)


Like the old song says, "comments are a girl's best friend." Or something like that... So... leave a comment! I love chatting here! Pretend you're on my back porch, kick the broken plastic sandbox toys aside, sip your iced coffee, or beer, or (__fill in the blank with your beverage of choice__) and let's talk about all the things, because back-porch blogging is what I do!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...