Magic mama

How many years have I stood amongst the carefully groomed rows of pines on this family farm, smelling evergreen as I suck oxygen, trying to keep upright and keep that smile on my face? It's not been easy, these last 5 years, plagued with illness, to keep up traditions. Maintain the magic. Be present with my children for each and every landmark of childhood when every cell in me is crying out for my down comforter and a long winter's nap.

Mary must have known this bone-deep fatigue, teetering atop the donkey all the way to Bethlehem, heavy with child. Holding a promise deep within, yet struggling in her humanity. Maybe it is this way for mothers everywhere. We know we must keep on, to savor the seasons with our offspring, to carry out His promise, one foot in front of the other.
So we trim the tree, hang the stockings, keep all the family traditions alive in spite of ourselves. Even something as simple as buying Little Debbie snack cakes and putting them on the snowman platter is enough to undo me sometimes in the late November dusk. But they are always there, and now they are a part, inexorably, runes of ritual for these four of mine. Be faithful in the little things, He said in the Gospels. Who knew He might mean Little Debbie cakes and decorating a tree? I feel sanctification growing up from my bones like hope from the spring eternal.

I can't ignore the reverence, pride on their faces when the living room is transformed. Every ornament, hung carefully - we huddled over it, remembering who gave it and when and why it is special. Tears flow over ornaments from loved ones passed on, favorites hung at the top of the tree in the "safe zone".

This is what has happened because of Cancer. Before, I was the methodical mother, practical, task-oriented. I used to clean in every spare moment, especially in the late afternoons. Now I am often in bed, recovering from something. Yesterday, we caught up on The Voice, all under my down comforter together, vivid conversation almost drowning out the power vocals streaming from the laptop on my desk. Last night, the man of the house on call and away to the wee hours, we staged a sleepover. Two in my room, and two in the front room, in front of the Christmas tree, chattering to each other until midnight.

Cancer turned me into a magical mama and their childhood is filled with wonder and memories of adventure and out-of-the-ordinary instead of me mopping floors and keeping a perfect house, a perfect homeschool. Cancer unlocked the door to some secret passageway in my heart - one that remembers the magic of childhood and lives it, with them.

Here's to wonder, during Advent and every day of our trialed years.

Five Minute Friday
Written on Lisa-Jo's prompt, "Wonder"