“We learn intimacy in the laps of our mothers”
It was a statement made by Suze Fair, a spiritual giant tucked right inside a tiny woman. It was a statement that brought tears to my eyes. It was a statement that spoke more truth to my soul than any other words spoken during our weekend retreat.
Immediately images of my own children came flooding into my mind. That glorious, God given moment when my first child was born. A singular moment that changed the entire course of my life. A moment where the being of who I am shifted from a girl trying to make her way in this life to a mother who was now responsible for guiding this beautiful little soul. The weight and beauty of that responsibility was not lost on me in that moment or now, nearly a decade later.
I think of all the times my four children have climbed into my lap. It is there where their tears have been dried, their boo-boos tended to, their secrets shared, their bellies tickled. It is there where I lay my lips upon their tender heads and breathe their smell into my soul. It is there that I plead my silent prayers of patience for a tired mama, wisdom for wise parenting, and requests for a lifetime of health and happiness for these four little souls my husband and I have been charged with raising.
Memories of my own childhood are few. I know my mother must have called my brother and I into her lap the way she does her grandbabies. But I do not remember. My childhood was chaotic and loud and messy. There were battles raging between and within in each of my parents. My brother and I walked into adulthood with our own dysfunctional ideas of intimacy. Those lost lessons of intimacy impact who and how we love.
When I wrap my own children in my lap I cannot help but wonder how they will remember their childhood. Will they remember the hours they spent in my lap? The laughs and tears we have shared, the fears I have tried to calm, the songs I have sang. My greatest hope is they remember the essence of their childhood as love and safety. Like my lap, I hope our home is always remembered as a safe place to land for these four little people. My prayer is that the safety of my lap bleeds into the home we create. An intimate place where our children can come when tears must be shed, laughs must to be shared or life must be quieted.
This time of year images of the blessed mother flood my mind. The weight of the responsibility to carry and raise the Messiah cannot be fathomed. I imagine Mary and how she loved her son. How she called him into her lap and kissed his crown, dried his tears or tickled his belly. Could the power of a mother’s lap be felt even by the Son of God? As Mary held her swaddled babe could she foretell the pain that was to come? I hope not. Just like myself and mothers throughout the ages, I hope Mary held her son in her lap and taught him beauty of intimacy. I hope she prayed the same prayers we do thousands of years later- prayers for wisdom, patience, and peace. As mothers we all hope when our children enter into the world they can be strong in love and faith, after lessons learned in our laps.