Have you ever shrunk something 100% wool? I just did a few weeks ago. I put a beautiful sandy colored sweater with fun wooden buttons in with the regular laundry. Now it’s about the right size for a teddy bear. It’s familiar – I recognize the pattern of the knit, but it’s different, and it doesn’t fit.
My kids feel like that way to me sometimes. After an especially distracting couple of weeks, my role as mother has taken a back seat to my role as wife, friend, and hostess. I’ve been with them day in and day out all summer, but in these last weeks, my heart has been else wear. They seem familiar to me, but in other ways, I feel disconnected from them.
Coming out of a haze of “more important duties,” like trips and coming back from trips, losing Bob, establishing our Plan B, hosting friends in town for the funeral… suddenly these very important ones feel unfamiliar and scratchy, like my shrunken wool sweater.
This moving back towards them, back into my role as mother more fully, always feels difficult. I feel suddenly overwhelmed with the reality of parenting them. I’m so discouraged by what they are growing through (like for goodness sake can we please learn to pee in the potty and not talk over each other at the table) that I can’t see any way to move forward. The prospect of shaping them into people who can function in society seems impossible, let alone seeing them desire Jesus. I just can not get this sweater back on.
I know it will fit again. I know I’ll soon feel the familiar rhythm of a day where we all get each other. I’ll lean into their little lives with the quiet warmth of contentment and hope. Their personalities will seem inviting and captivating. Their gifts limitless and company satisfying like nothing else. I think that’s a few days away though.
Today, I’m looking at the shrunken sweater with a twinge of melancholy.
Lord, make being a mother fit me again.