Last Sunday after breakfast, I took a warm cup of coffee upstairs to get ready for Easter church. I was simultaneously feeling exhausted and excited, and very much looking forward to twenty quiet minutes alone while getting ready for the day. Just minutes after arriving in my bedroom, I was joined by one child and then a second child, both desperately needing to talk to me. We had brief conversations, and I sent them back downstairs to play and help their dad clean up breakfast.
Our family is on the road again, transitioning from our time at the seminary to my husband’s call and a life in western New York. Transitions with three small children are messy. There are abnormal bedtimes and meals, toys packed into boxes and onto a truck despite the protests of a four year old, and lots of emotions. The simple reality is that saying good-bye is sad and saying hello can be scary. About a week ago now, after being shipped off to grandma’s house so my husband and I could finish packing, load a truck, and clean our apartment, my daughter said to a family friend whom she hadn’t seen in sometime, “My heart missed you. I’m so lucky I get to love people in lots of spots. Some people only love people in one spot.”
February is already upon us. My children are suddenly experts on groundhogs, and are counting down to Valentine’s day. Children like Valentine’s Day. Probably in the same way they enjoy all holidays where they receive candy.
On June 26, we welcomed our third baby into our family. On July 19, an empty moving truck arrived at our apartment. On July 21, the truck pulled away from our apartment filled with the things we wouldn’t need over the next couple of weeks. That same day, our remarkably full minivan pulled away from our life in St. Louis to begin a 3,800-mile road trip that took us across ten states and into Canada before we landed in Orchard Park, New York, where we would live the next year of our lives. If you are doing any sort of calculating right now, yes, that means we drove 3,800 miles with a baby who was not even one month old. Oh, and we camped. In a tent. We might be slightly crazy.
They held up their dirty feet, clumsily resting them in my hands. My hand, draped in a white washcloth, gently moved from toe to heel and back again, removing a morning spent outside with no shoes. Giggles escaped from their mouths as I couldn’t resist the urge to tickle their toes. There I was, their mother, their teacher, washing their feet. And as I scrubbed their filthy little feet, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I am grateful for the ways motherhood has changed me, for piles of dirty laundry and a crumb-covered kitchen floor. I am grateful that motherhood points me to Jesus, a Savior who came down to live in our daily, ordinary, filthy human world. I am grateful for a Savior who knelt down and washed the feet of those beneath Him, those He came to serve.