I was once again woken up at 6am buy my angel. How do I know it was him? Because this has happened more than once and I’ve started to understand the pattern; it’s as if someone wakes me up by saying “Get UP!! We have things to do!!” in my ear and BAM! I’m awake. Then my mind starts writing a blog post and I’m not even awake yet. Now, I know that many people will say that I’m crazy, or have an issue with me talking about my angel in the first place. I understand. 4 years ago I would have thought anyone talking about their angel waking them up was crazy. Stick with me.
Today is one of my son’s 13th birthday, and I woke up with the idea to write a status on Facebook about what it was like to find out I was pregnant with him when circumstances were not ideal and I was on birth control pills. I have this really bad habit of putting my soul and story out there and then freaking out that people will think I’m nuts, then I remember that I am nuts and it’s ok. St. Paul was nuts and he turned out fine. That’s what I tell myself anyway. Well, apparently my status really touched people and Simcha Fisher even posted it on her blog. I am truly humbled by that. It makes the nervousness of telling people things about my life that most people keep private, worth it. If my past can help anyone, then I will tell it when and wherever I can.
But because I had so much more to say that I couldn’t put on a Facebook status, I am writing this post. This whole week I have thought about my vocation as a wife and mother. I feel like I really am not very good at it. I don’t feel the urge to clean things, cook things or bake things. And I don’t feel like sewing anything. Ever. I like to talk, to learn, to meet new people. I love to bartend. I really, really love to bartend. Like so many things that I had made up my mind about, being a stay at home mom and full-time student who never stepped on a dance floor again was not something that I ever thought I would be. I had made my mind up about that and I never thought that would change. I was wrong.
This is the thing. Someone commented on my status from this morning saying that I was not “nothing” that I was a child of God. That is true and I know that for sure. What struck me was when someone said that being a mother isn’t my only identity or my identity, I’m not really certain how they worded it but in my mind 4 years ago I thought that being a mom wasn’t all that “there was to me”. I almost hated being thought of as a mom, unless someone said how skinny I was for having 4 kids. I didn’t want to be identified with anything domestic; I wanted to be “somebody”.
Then after my conversion I went the opposite extreme and wanted to become Susie Homemaker and I failed miserably. (Kind of how I did with modesty, but that is another issue. I have plenty of them.) And when I failed I felt as if I was just not doing what I should be doing right. I went to confession time after time confessing not fulfilling my vocation. I honestly thought that I was letting God down. That being said, I know that God is not waiting behind a cloud waiting to zap me. I know He loves me and I know that there are times when I do fail to be a good mom and wife, and His Grace picks me up to try again. So this isn’t some way of me saying that God is too hard on me. He is hard on me, because He loves me and is trying to teach me something.
I figured out what that was this week. First my oldest son told me that I was an intelligent woman and that he was proud of me. :O Then my second oldest son told me that he wanted to go to confession and thanked me for making a chore chart. Double :O THEN my third son told me that he wants to go to Mass for his birthday. Triple :O!!
At Mass on Sunday I kept hearing God tell me to “drop your nets”. Throughout the entire Mass I kept hearing that run through my mind. After I received the Eucharist I finally got what God was saying. “Drop your nets; quit trying to catch fish YOUR way. Follow me, and I will teach you how to catch them. I will take care of you. I got you. I won’t let you go. Follow me. Drop your nets. Let go of trying to control everything. I will help you take care of your kids, just follow me.” In other words, I can’t be paralyzed by fear that my children will fail. They will. That is certain. But when they do I will show them the same mercy that God shows me when I fail. And we will move on. My job isn’t to keep them from failing. My job as a mom is to teach them that God loves them and that He is there to help them get back up when they fail. That realization frees me from fear so that I can do the work that God wants me to do. Tell my story.
God does not call us to be the picture perfect family that we look like on our family portraits. We are a communion of persons. Just like the Trinity is. I got a glimpse of what that means yesterday as I was sitting in my parish’s RE building. There was meeting for girls and it was pick up time. There were tons of kids running, screaming, laughing, talking, and squealing up and down the halls. Normally this would have made me tense and want to pull my hair out but for some reason yesterday I sat there watching it all with such happiness in my heart. Then down the hall came a mom with 5 little kids. It almost looked like 2 sets of twins, but I’m not sure. As she came in front of me I could see that she was wearing her baby, had 2 what seemed like 3 year olds by each hand and 2 almost 4 or 5 years olds carrying their booster seats walking behind her. Suddenly one of the ones she had by the hand plopped down on his behind and refused to move anymore. The other one kept going so it looked like they were playing wishbone with their mom. Then one of the 4 or 5 year olds came to try to help get her brother up off the floor. At which point the other 4 or 5-year-old started lamenting that “Katie wasn’t doing her part and carrying her booster seat!!” As I sat there watching this all going down and laughing, not out of meanness but because I remember having this situation happen many times when my kids were little, I realized what it means to be a communion of persons. This mother didn’t look worn out, or stressed. She just looked like “This is what motherhood looks like.” Sometimes someone doesn’t want to move, and someone wants to run, someone wants to help but then the other one thinks they are not doing their part, and someone has to be carried. Sounds a lot like the Church as well. The Church who is our Mother has to deal with us when we act like these kids yesterday. None of them were being honorary or disobedient; they were just acting their age. I think sometimes we forget that some people are not being disobedient, but just acting their “Catholic age”. And the Church, our Mother, has the job of teaching them. And we have the job of helping Her do that. We are a communion of persons. We are not all the same. We do not all have the same gifts or the same call. We do not all see things the same. When I say that being a mother is who I am, I mean that is who I am. Who God made me. WHY He made me, and I’m ok with that. It doesn’t mean that every other woman has to see herself the way that I see myself. We should see ourselves the way that GOD sees us. Not how others see us, how we see ourselves, or how we see others.
I realized that is what I have done. Comparing myself to other women, and trying to be them. To be someone who I’m not, and that never works out well. I do have to make my home, kids and husband my priority. I have to clean my house and cook dinner, but I also have to be me. Not Rachel Ray, not Martha Stewart, not my friends on Facebook, but me, Leticia.
God has slapped me with epiphanies all week-long and I’m sorry if this post is a bit scatter brained, but I needed it out of my head so that I can study. LOL! Thank you to those who read the whole thing!
The moral of the story is: Be the woman who God made YOU to be. Don’t look at the person you think has it all together to be your measuring stick to compare yourself with. Because I guarantee that person feels like they are a hot mess.