My mom says, “we all have our strengths and weaknesses.” Well, laundry is not a strength of mine. I throw everything in together, and only recently learned that loads should not be unilaterally washed with warm water. There have been more than one shrunken casualties in the war I inflict on our clothing.
Now that you know the truth about my laundering skills, I can share a supremely humbling moment of my motherhood with you.
My children went through a phase of total enchantment with the PAW Patrol. Our daughter loved Skye with a passionate love, most especially because of her hot pink attire. Anyone who meets our daughter on any given day can gather that her favorite color is pink—pink tights, pink shirt, pink shoes, pink socks. You get the picture. We bought our daughter a Skye costume for Halloween. She wore it on Halloween—and every other day.
As you might imagine, the expensive-cheap costume became quite grimy. So, I decided to wash it.
Yes, let the horror soak in.
I washed that expensive-cheap costume just like any other piece of our unfortunate clothing, and you can guess what happened. It fell right apart—strings hanging off, “radio” necklace broken.
So, what did I do? Yep, you guessed it. I threw it in the trash. (As an aside, it is kind of funny, not so funny, how similar I still am to Eve—something went wrong and I just covered it with some fig leaves, aka threw it in the trash.)
Trash day came around. I was standing downstairs in the kitchen, cleaning up after breakfast, listening to our children excitedly await the trash truck from their second story bedroom window.
And then—“OH NO!!! SKYE!!!!!”
Yes. Our daughter watched, terrified, as her Skye costume flew through the air from our trash bin into the trash truck.
Sometimes humility comes in a blaze of hot pink.
Being a mother is one of my greatest joys. It is also something that I, quite honestly, really don’t want to mess up. I try to understand my children’s temperaments, build rapport with them, stay close but give space, do all the learning things together, keep my cool when I want to rip my hair out. And yet—I still ruin the (real and metaphorical) Skye costume in the wash, sneakily throw it away, and get caught in a blaze of glory (at least God is a humorous teacher).
In her gracious love, our Mother, Mary is teaching me about my imperfection. Though she is perfect, she does not scorn me or look down upon my imperfection. She loves and encourages me in it. She says, “My daughter, you do not have to be a perfect mother in order to be a great mother. In your imperfection, you are learning about forgiveness and humility. When you know your imperfection and give it to my Son, you become more fully human. Let God stretch you in your motherhood. He wants to stretch you so that you can become more loving, and more authentically yourself.”
And so, I am growing in humility—looking honestly at my imperfection, and instead of turning inward in shame, allowing God to gently lift my chin and gaze toward him, my perfect Father.
So, to all the Mamas out there who have been caught hot-pink-handed in their imperfection—I see you, because that’s me too. We don’t have to be perfect mothers in order to be great mothers. We don’t have to be perfect mothers in order to be holy mothers. Our Mother is perfect, and she is walking with us, guiding us, encouraging us. Thanks be to God for entrusting us to a Mother who gives us hope for all the opportunities we have to grow closer to her Son.
As an important note, we did buy our daughter another Skye costume, and I have not attempted to wash it.