This was going to be a lovely post about enjoying your children — or anything really — before she/he/it grows up and changes into something entirely new and different. I was composing this lovely piece in my head as I cradled my 10-month-old daughter, touching my lips to her soft head, but then she started whimpering. And then she threw up all over me. Down my shirt. All over the bed, so that I had to change her and the sheets at 1:30 in the morning. There is just no good way to recover from that.
Then later the next day, my 5-year-old son started looking a bit queasy and was starting to freak out that he was going to vomit as he was within 3 yards (3 yards! Almost there!) of the toilet. And then it came. And I caught it in my cupped hands. Because what’s a mom to do — just let her son vomit all over the carpet?
And I thought of all the crazy fluids and mess that we catch as parents. Of spit-up and puke and diaper blow-outs. But you don’t even have to be a parent — there’s mess inside each of us and it comes pouring out in this crazy world we live in. Shootings and killings and deadly viruses. And the more insidious ones we try to hide like retail therapy and comparison and shame. We’re all just covered in the mess and junk of this world; we try to keep hiding it, trying to stay picture-perfect. But there’s stuff that comes flying out from who-knows-where and we’re all waiting and wanting to know this: Is there someone who will see me and take my mess with outstretched hands, ready to catch it?
Do we run from the mess of life because it reminds us too much of our own shame? Do we tell our friends they’re okay (when they’re not) and keep stuffing the mess down like a dust bunny you see form under the couch and never get around to dealing with? Or do we show up with cupped hands, ready to catch whatever it is that spews forth, because we know that we, too, are filled with vileness, and one day we’ll need someone to be at-the-ready with cupped hands for us? We’ll need someone to hug and console not turn up their nose at the smell. Someone to take us to living water to be refreshed, restored and made clean when all we have to offer is a retching stink. But then, oh, what comfort and what truth and what grace in outstretched hands.
This is the twenty-fourth post for the Write 31 days challenge, where I’ll be writing every day through the month of October. I’m excited to see what comes of this daily practice. I’d love for you to comment, pin the above image, share posts and subscribe to receive posts to the right in the sidebar as we work through these things together. Posts in the series are all linked to from the first post.