Mother's Day XVII dawned late for my family due to having a houseful of people over the night before celebrating a birthday.
It was OK, really, in fact a relief to not have to act excited over early morning attempts at producing eggs the way I like them (over medium, smothered in green chili) or the kinds of overt displays of affection that make stoic sorts want to disappear under the covers. The usual birthday-type treatment (everyone piling into my bed) was absent, which was just fine. Skip that, the flowers, the cards . . . just let me sleep.
I must be getting old.
Later that day, 8-year-old Elenia told me she was working on a present, something written, of course, because that is what she does best . . . tapping away all day long, writing stories of love found and love lost and everything in between. It only made sense she was going to write me something for Mother's Day.
About 7 that night, Elenia presented me with her gift, a laminated page with a poem on it, hole-punched and strung with a pink ribbon. As she handed it to me she said, "Well, sorry it took so long, but I had to redo it because the way I wrote it, you . . . sounded like Jesus."
The poem, "To the Lighthouse," reads as follows:
The glass blue sea, it does not move,
He's calmed it with His touch;
He's sailed across the waters and
To Him they seem to clutch.
It's a cold and stormy night,
Yet He remains on the sea;
In a boat, tossing round, water climbing up his knee.
To the lighthouse, away he goes
Bravely parading on;
Not scared of His friend, the sea
For he sees the lighthouse yon.
Apparently, before her changes, she had my name in place of "His." It was only upon rereading it that she realized she had made it sound like I walked on water, thus the name change.
As flattering as it is to be compared to Jesus, I'm glad she changed the poem. No parent can live up to that standard. Just ask my teenagers. Mothering is a sobering job, one that leaves me at day's end quite sure that if I am emulating anyone, it's not the Almighty.
But it's a good reminder, this analogy, that in my children's eyes I am probably as close to Him as they will get in this material world. I am their model of unconditional love, of acceptance, of forgiveness, of mercy, of grace. And while I can never hope to come within a million light-years of accurately reflecting that, Elenia's words were perhaps what we would call a Freudian slip, a momentary flash of veil-lifting in her childlike heart.
For, as much as we want to think otherwise, children do think of us as godlike. And, although we are as far from Jesus-like as prime rib is from peanut butter, we would be well-advised to take that very, very seriously.