Dear Mother: On Bats and Handling with Care
You know that moment in the church pew, when everything is all decorum and near-gloom serious? And then something happens, a smell or a sound or the preacher makes a slip, and suddenly you’re uncontrollably tickled – like someone is pinning you down? And you can’t breathe for laughing, and you know that a snort is coming, and your lips are about to rattle out in hysterics?
Yesterday, that happened here in my home.
My tenderest son started going to public school last week, so every day is a surprise, new math techniques, a new-found fossil, a new friend, a new way to draw a dragon or Angry Birds scene. Yesterday as soon as I pulled my car into the pickup line, as I opened the van door, he began excitedly yelling to me about the amazing park ranger that came. He got to touch her pet corn snake, and he has a corn snake, too, so they bonded.
Apparently, this lovely park ranger brought little paper agreements that they all signed. Isaac showed it to me with such pride. He’d signed to never ever enter a cave or crevice ever ever ever again, in order to protect the endangered bat population, so that our ecosystem can again find balance.
He began to describe an awful disease the bats keep getting because of humans. In detail, tears began to stream down his face in bucket-fulls. Finally, he walked away bawling, and I hid against the wall, so tickled I had to lean in. He came back to me again and again.
“5 million bats! 5 million bats!”
For some reason I thought it an appropriate time to remind him that his uncle Scott is getting married next month. I had to remind him that Scott is getting married in a stalagmite forrest IN A CAVE! We have to go into a cave next month! (Yes. I know. We’re an interesting bunch.)
I may as well have told him we were going in there with machine guns. We were already having the funeral for Five … Million … Bats.
He wept aloud, “Doesn’t Scotty know that animals have feelings, too?!” And I literally had to turn my back to keep from laughing directly into his face.
Then he whispered, “Mama, please pray.” And I said, “right now?”
“Yes,” he said, “right now; pray for the bats.”
I cuddled up next to him, held him tightly, and began laughing so hard that I nearly knocked us both down. The dramatic pause I took before finally getting a word out, it seems that it would have clued him in. But he didn’t notice, because he was so upset. Therefore, I prayed for the bats – that they would live and be healed and that we would care for the earth as God has asked us to.
Mother, sometimes our children turn our hearts. My laughter settled into recognition, the balance of things in sovereign hands while simultaneously given over to our stewardship. Isn’t that exactly what motherhood is – the *both/and* of God’s control and our stewardship of little lives?
What a delicate eco-system we live in: in church pews and marriages, with our pledges and our babies. We release, yet we handle with care. We can’t give them breathe, yet we show them life.
Stewarding with you – and often with laughter,
Have you written a Mother Letter? Starting April 17th through Mother’s Day on May 8th, there will be a Mother Letters link-up party for a chance to be encouraged by your blog community and a chance to win some new pretty things from my etsy shop, A Savage Heart! Brand spankin new Spring/Summer pretties will be posted there this weekend, too. Making things makes me happy.
Writing these letters also makes me happy. Will you write a Mother letter, too? Curate with me.