In the past few weeks John Paul has entered a new phase. If I’m around, he needs to be able to see me, otherwise, tears and screaming commence. He’s still very friendly with strangers, and is happy to play with just about anyone, but if he hears my voice or spots me out of the corner of his eye, and I’m not looking at him, he has no problem letting me know that this is in no way acceptable. On the one hand, it’s awfully sweet, and it’s an incredible feeling to be so loved by someone. But, on the other hand, it can make getting anything done fairly difficult!
Yesterday, I was running around like crazy, trying to figure out things for John Paul’s upcoming baptism, beginning to clean our house before family arrives, baking tomato pies for our “family” dinner last night (dinner with a wonderful group of friends), skyping with my wonderful sister and nephew (thank God for technology!), and all the while getting sidetracked by the Mary Oliver New and Selected Poems Volume One book sitting on my desk. (Side note: if you haven’t read Mary Oliver’s poetry, you must do so, now! Here’s one of my favorite poems of hers, The Summer Day.)
In the midst of all the craziness yesterday, John Paul was trying oh-so-hard to be a good boy. I could tell that he desperately wanted to be sweet by the way he would smile between the tears and moaning (and occasional screaming), but for some reason, it was just one of those days for him. Add that to his need to see my face at all times and you can imagine the creativity I needed to muster up in order to get anything done.
I was going to forgo a shower, telling myself that I was already doing too much rather than just being with John Paul. I began convincing myself that if I didn’t read him a few books, just this one day, it was all over. If I didn’t allow him at least fifteen minutes to explore the water in the bathtub, it was all over. If I dared to encourage him to perhaps eat just a little bit more quickly instead of playing with his prunes for over an hour, it was all over. (Except he still did that last one…it’s just too cute!)
Visions of him in a graduation gown giving the commencement address at Notre Dame (where else?) as he finished his undergraduate years at the top of his class, at his white coat ceremony as he became a doctor, and as he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for curing cancer (no pressure, JP) passed before my eyes. It would all slip away if I dared to take some time for myself and take a shower.
But, I did it anyways. Fortunately, I realized how silly I was being (and realized how much nicer it would be for Mike to come home to a nice smelling, clean wife than a dirty one!). I realized that for me to be a good mother, I have to take care of myself first. After showering (and daring to take some time for myself and read more poetry while John Paul rolled around on the ground), I was happier. I felt refreshed. And when John Paul got fussy, I had more patience. I was more loving to him because I faced my fear of being a bad mother and took some time to be loving towards myself.
Plus, I found a great way to entertain John Paul while in the shower so as to stop his screaming: shower curtain peek-a-boo!
And don’t worry, we reenacted peek-a-boo. I didn’t actually take my camera into the shower with me.
My prayer for you today is that you face your fear of not being enough to those you love. Realize that in order to love others you must first take the time to love yourself. Allow yourself time to be refreshed and renewed, and then delight in the way you are able to love others and God more fully as a consequence.
Thank you for joining me on my 31 day challenge!
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