Ever and I have had this joke about her butt for years now. She might be getting a little old for it. But, pretty much, it started when she was about three, and I told her that her tushy was actually my tushy attached onto her body when she was a baby, and vice versa. And she said, “Mooooooooooommyy, NO IT’S MY TUSHY.” And I said, “Actually, sweetie, you’re wrong, because you see, that’s my tushy. I was there when the doctor switched them. And so, I have your tushy on my body. But the one on you, that’s actually mine.”
Maybe that’s weird. Okay, typing out the whole thing, I’m definitely realizing it’s weird. Whatever, it’s fine. Seriously though, please never think about this again.
But, when you have kids, whether you like it or not, you and your child sort of blur together. Their life is your life. Their bum is your bum. As a mom, you put your dreams, your time, your body, your everything, on the back-burner for a long time to meet this tiny person’s every need.
You are the conductor and the teacher and the cheerleader and the night-shift nurse and the chef and the boo-boo kisser through every stage. The “mine mine mine’s” and the tantrums and then finally, VOILA, they turn six, and you exhale and look at this beautiful masterpiece you’ve raised, like WOW. I MADE THAT. This person is a radiant, decent, kind person! She mostly does what she’s supposed to do! I must be awesome at this.
But then, you think about that time when she was 20-months-old and saw you scream at the steering wheel in frustration. You were sure you’d damaged her in irreparable ways. Or the time, when she was just barely five, and walked in on you crying and telling your mom with stage 3 cancer that you didn’t want her to die. Surely, that broke her heart too soon. Or what about the time you and your husband aggressively disagreed on the way to the soccer game last year and she saw you cry and yell and state your case like a cave woman. That will absolutely be something she talks about in therapy.
But, no. Here she is. Sharing. Smiling. And you think to yourself, Wow. I must be really great.
I sure swing high and low when answering my constant burning questions: Am I a good parent? Am I doing this right? Have I ruined everything? Is anyone proud of me?
Just the other day I was watching Ever while she brushed her hair, and wondering how much of her sparkling qualities and good behavior are from her and how much are from me, and it was like God leaned over and tapped me on the shoulder and went, “Uh…hello? Heaven to Scarlet. It’s not her…it’s not you…it always has been and always will be Me.”
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” – Romans 11:36
It is God who does good things. Forgetting that I have next to nothing to do with anything good that God uses me to do, sets me up for despair when I lose my cool, or spend too much time staring at computer because listen, I had a deadline, or listen, I’m tired and I work hard and I want to read this funny fake article about a frog who said Moses.
I know it’s not just me. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re ON FACEBOOK. SHOULDN’T YOU BE IRONING! OR WORKING! OR PREPARING A LESSON FOR YOUR HOMESCHOOL KID! OR CHANGING THAT LOW-HANGING DIAPER BEFORE IT BECOMES A SITUATION OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE!
It could happen again tonight – the mulling over burning questions. Maybe, I’ll tuck my kids in and think to myself, “When I was reading stuff on Facebook and my kid looked at me and wanted me to play barbies again, and I said, ‘just a minute,’ did I ruin her?”
Spoiler Alert: I didn’t actually have a rear transplant with my oldest daughter. Her bum and my bum were never actually surgically switched.
Second Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t really matter. Nothing is really hers. Nothing is really mine. Everything is borrowed and nothing belongs to any of us. No kids. No plans. No accomplishments or funny jokes. No good deeds or Christ-like reactions.
Looking for my own good and fixating on my obvious and frequent bad is a crippling pastime. All good is from God. All good is to God.
He helps me up when I feel like I’m missing it as a mother. He gives the grace when I’m getting it right. He holds my daughter’s future.
And that’s why I can be a mostly happy person. Because molding masterpieces isn’t up to me. But, MAN, do I get to enjoy a lot of beauty when my main focus is noticing, just witnessing, God’s goodness to my family.
That’s my hope.
And Ever, that’s my tushy.