On the Feast of Saints Anne and Joachim, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Elissa Jasko reflects on her vocation to motherhood and finding holiness within the family.
A child running by half clothed, a baby crying, bathwater puddles on the floor and toilet, a toothpaste painting all over the lower half of the mirror, and a frustrated child trying to put an upside down and inside out pajama shirt on like pants. This is a common scene at our house between 7:30 and 8:30pm. Chaotic? Yes. Unnerving? Yes. Beautiful? Absolutely. It is beautiful because if you look closer you may see a father helping one child brush her teeth while patiently listening to another enthusiastically describing a superhero, ninja turtle, firefighter who fights villains with tube sock nunchucks. You may hear a 2 year old quietly singing to the baby while trying hard to do it all “myself!” I hope you would see a mother closing her eyes, taking a deep breath and choosing to act in charity instead of frustration.
The family is a path to holiness. Siblings are one of the greatest gifts you can give your children. The family is a domestic church. I have heard each of these phrases many times. As parents, my husband and I have a continuing dialogue about all the choices we make for our family. During one recent conversation, we began to internalize what I think these phrases about family are trying to describe: the only goal that really matters is doing everything in love. It does not matter if our kitchen floor more closely resembles the before shot in a Lysol commercial or if we manage to pull off a Pinterest perfect birthday party for each of our children every year. What matters is taking every opportunity to teach our children to love God and others even when the baby is screaming. Even when water is dumped all over bathroom floor. Even when there is a month’s worth of Kid’s Crest artfully spread across the mirror. Even when we really just need the kids to get in bed so we can fold the laundry without the piles being used as step stools to get onto the couch. Instead of focusing on everything in our life that is not “going right” we need to use all of these naturally occurring opportunities to teach our children to love each other, to value people over task lists, and to have peace. Lord help us!
We pray that as we move toward our eternal destination, we prepare our kids to know Jesus and to let His Love into their hearts so it can overflow to everyone they meet. While this responsibility is huge, we are discovering that must be accomplished through minute by minute choices to “do small things done with great love.”