Friday, September 16, 2011

Proud to be a Nothing

“Mom, when I grow up I want to be a nothing… like you.” That is one of my mom’s favorite quotes from my childhood. An innocent five-year-old’s attempt at the greatest compliment a kid can give her mom, “I want to be just like you.” Even though I didn’t have the right words at five years old, I always knew in my heart that someday I would sacrifice my career to serve my family. I held onto that desire through high school, college, and even graduate school. When other students were talking about wanting to be counselors and professors, I just wanted to cook and clean and raise my children. It’s the path I was called to; my dream job; and the life I always wanted.

But just because it’s the life I always wanted, doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of days where I really do feel like a nothing. The hardest parts are the repetitive, mundane tasks like folding laundry that’s just going to get worn, cooking food that’s just going to get eaten, and cleaning toilets that are just going to get… well, you know. Just yesterday I was mopping the kitchen floor and thinking, “I have a master’s degree and I’m scraping up crusty applesauce.” Or how about the days when Matt comes home and tells me all about his day at work, and then asks me how my day was? Well, let’s see… We ate breakfast. Played inside. Ate lunch. Played outside. She napped. I cleaned. Same as yesterday. Same as the day before. Same as tomorrow….  

In the moments when I feel like a nothing, all I have to do is wait for Reese to wake up from her nap and watch her run into the kitchen, point to the back door, and yell, “outside!”  As soon as I get her shoes on and open the door, she runs across the patio to the blue plastic swing hanging in the tree. "Wing," she says over and over as I help her into it. I give her a big push, ducking underneath her as she soars up toward the leaves. She giggles with joy and says, "again, again." I push her again and then hide behind the trunk of of the tree, popping out as she flies by. Every time she sees me, she points and says, "Ma-meeee." And every time I hear that word, it reminds me that I am the whole world to this tiny person.

Then we come inside to get ready for dinner, and I see Matt pulling into the driveway. He comes inside and comments about how great the house looks, or how good dinner smells, or how pretty I am. Later, we sit down for dinner and hold hands to pray. Matt always starts by saying, “Lord, I just want to thank you for Lisa and all that she does for our family.” And when I hear that, I remember that I am the whole world to this big, grown up man.

And then at the end of the day, I climb in bed. I am tired, but I am happy because even though I may be a nothing to the rest of the world, to my family I am far from a nothing. I am an everything.

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