It’s the middle of February and I just completed my first home pedicure in months. The kind of pedicure that makes me wonder if I even had skin under the callouses. Had I gone to a spa like a proper person, they may have turned me away. So I dug out my pink polish, sat in the middle of the living room, and pummiced until my feet looked ready for the sand and the sea. Unfortunately, once the paint dries, my toes will be tucked right back in my slippers where they’ve been for what seems the better part of a century.
This is the time of year where the weather turns me into a crazy person, and rather than appearing like a mother in control of her little family, I am a bat circling the house. I’ve already rearranged the attic, purchased and filled space-saver bags (the kind that require a vacuum and make me feel like some kind of powerful superhero), tried every dessert recipe on Pinterest, and now I’ve taken to personal grooming as an outlet for this stir-craziness. My cute white house with the lamppost may as well have bars over the windows because it feels like we’re stuck here. Having a baby during a Michigan winter can really drive someone like me to drink. Unfortunately for me, alcohol isn’t enjoyable unless it’s glass of really fruity wine. In which case, I consume a glass and a half and all of a sudden turn into the college Me who can’t keep her hands off Josh. (Not bad for him, I’d say, even though this occasional tipsy-ness turns into extreme motherhood-induced tiredness in about 2 seconds). I just decided to start making my own baby food which gives me another project to master while the clock slowly ticks and Spring inches closer.
In addition to the high energy coping mechanisms like house cleaning, organizing, and baking to really loud music, I have joined a small group titled “Missional Moms” at church. We’re working our way through a book that addresses motherhood as a critical mission field, both inside and outside family life. Admittedly, we talk about these sticky years of motherhood, unloading each others’ difficulties and carrying each others’ burdens. Women are great like that. Within ten minutes of meeting these girls (only a few I’d known already), I knew we probably would be having slumber parties within six weeks. Sure enough, after a month together, we have a “Spa Night” on the calendar where, no doubt, we’ll figure out how to cure world hunger while getting facials. We also discuss adopting tons of babies (and we’re serious), going on mission trips, and teaching our little ones about God’s big kingdom.
I probably miss the majority of opportunities I have to teach Jack about God, but every so often, a little lesson will fall into my lap, and I’ll unravel it as much as I can. Car rides (the few we take these days) are some of our favorite times because we can play games like “I Spy” or “If I Were” while Oliver is contained, happy, and not demanding my attention. It also gives us the excuse to crank up the music and have dance parties, regardless of the traffic around us. (Believe me, I can both drive safely & also dance hard core to the Chipmunks soundtrack). Today, our Christian radio station played Audio Adreneline’s new song “Kings & Queens”. One of Jack’s favorites. We blared it, and we were both singing along as Ollie snoozed right through the noise as usual.
There was one point, though, where I realized that the song itself was the melody of our Missional Moms group. I asked Jack what he thought “the least of these” meant, and then who he thought the Kings & Queens that Audio Adreneline sang about (with a very U2-like sound) really were. This opened up a short but huge conversation about what it means to be poor. (It’s amazing how innocent, curious, and caring even the most wild child will become when discussing this topic). When I tried to explain the majesty we are crowned with as Jesus-followers, my mind was literally blown. (This also made me thankful that the Pevensie children are such a solid illustration for him of royalty). I realized the tiny gentlemen in my back seat may as well be crowned little kings, and this was making my head spin while I’m steering my Mazda down River Avenue. Jack, of course, wanted to know what it takes to become a King like this, so the radio song would then be about *him*. And I gently explained the essence of servanthood, and how every time he puts others before himself, he wears an unseen crown.
The “least of these” are the heartbeat of the Christian faith, and as a missional mom, I want to do more than what this sliver of life allows. My mission field is really strapped in the back seat of my car. These amazing boys need to be my focus when I feel the compulsion to sharpen my kitchen knives or organize all our sock drawers. I’m much better at recognizing this than doing it. Writing about it after we’ve brushed teeth, read books, and tucked them in bed is easier than deciding to put off organizing or baking in order to play make-believe. But it’s what I’m called to. It’s why I’m here. And maybe, at the end of a day like today, not only am I wearing unseasonal shiny pink toenail polish, but perhaps there is a crown atop my head as well. Peering over the crib railing at Oliver’s slumbering little body, only two words come to mind: