Monday, January 22, 2007


I spent quite a bit of time this weekend looking through old photos of myself and my early motherhood years. My oldest three children were born in just 2.75 years, and honestly those years are a blur in my memory. As I look at their photos, it seems those children have disappeared, vanished as if they walked into the woods one day and never came back. As I look at photos of their mother (could that have been me, really?), the naive, tired, yet hopeful looking woman with her lap full of little children, I ache for all the reality that is yet to impose itself on her.

The reality that those children will quickly grow up, that the ease of caring for them will become much more complicated.

That trying to find the transcendent amongst the daily duties will become a greater and greater challenge, and that entire weeks would pass with barely any thoughts but a practical ones crossing her mind.

That the years of marriage would be far less idyllic that she had imagined and would require far more dying to self than she thought possible.

That the powerful love she feels for her family would always be tinged and surrounded and accosted by fear, powerful, biting fear that these precious ones would be harmed somehow. Harmed by the cruel world, harmed by a careless driver, by the over-tired mother herself, too inexperienced to see the deep need of one of her children.

This young mother was yet to find out just how painful love can be, and yet that pain, the heart aching pain of looking at your family and knowing so deeply how much you love them, is the most real thing there is. There are no veils to soften that pain. It's the ache of love that will only be satisfied in Heaven, where we will finally be free to love without fear.

It makes me sad that I can't love my younger children with the naive love I had for my older children. When my oldest 3 were little, I thought I had all the time in the world. I could willy-nilly wish a day or a week away, and still have so much time to spare.

Now, with my "baby" nearly three years old, I don't want to miss a second. Every new little thing she says and does is tinged with a little sadness along with the wonder and joy of it.

It's all going so quickly, with each succession of days bringing me closer and closer to the time when they will all be gone, and I will have most my life as memories. I know we are not supposed to live either in the past or in the future, but embrace the present moment. But what I know now about the fleeting nature of the present moment make it very difficult to rest in that axiom.

So, that is my prayer for today. Please Divine Physician, and healer of souls, assist me in living in the moment, in Your presence, and guide my heart to be open to all the love you have to give me. Please don't let me close up my heart out of fear of pain. Now, and always, and forever and ever, Amen.

(image found at

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Anonymous danielle said...

Thank you for this beautiful reflection. May God bless your motherhood-- in all its stages.

January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful youngest has just turned five, and I am fiercely cherishing every moment with my last-born.....

God bless you and your precious family and grant you all Many Years !

January 22, 2007  
Blogger Mimi said...

Beautiful indeed. My youngest is getting older (almost 11) and those moments of cuddling are winding down, sad to say.

January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deeply meaningful thoughts. I know your children will benefit from your view of them and the importance of each of their days.

January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful post. My youngest is only 19 months and I am already feeling this!

January 22, 2007  
Blogger onionboy said...

Our youngest is nearly 15. I am still adjusting. Peace to you and thanks for the warm and touching post. I pray your moments are blessed, very blessed.

January 22, 2007  
Blogger Rosemary Bogdan said...

Beautiful post. Yes, living in the moment is the key, isn't it. Because, after all, that's the only time there is. We mustn't miss it. My youngest is ten and still likes to be cuddled. I am acutely aware of the pain of that unrelenting passage of time. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

January 22, 2007  
Anonymous city girl said...

Ok, MPN, I am here again...I have been away for many a reason, but I do have another dilema, and I knew right where to go: you! Please help me with this: a friend of mine has been married for 15 years, and her husband does not know her explicit past with other men. She wanted to leave that behind her, but she says it haunts her. She knows that if she tells him, they will surely split up. They are Catholic, and she has confessed all her sins, and she is asking ME for advice, and well, I don't know what to tell her, except that she is a good person now and that all of everything she did before she met her husband is in the past, and has nothing to do with her married life.
do you agree? or did I truly mess this one up? besides, let me also ask you this: what do we do about those sins that are in the past, and let's say we don't want to tell our boyfriend about?
city girl

January 24, 2007  
Anonymous MamaT said...

Wonderful reflection, and on point for me. My youngest (oldest, only!) will be 21 in April. 21!

I have had a more difficult time dealing with this over the past year--since he's a college kid and everything, even though he still lives at home--than I ever expected.

But I am learning to trust that God has plans for this old broad still. I just have to keep myself open to hearing what they are.

January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is beautiful, Renee!

January 24, 2007  
Blogger ukok said...

Renee, you so succinctly stated above the very content of my heart right now. Thankyou so much for sharing in this 'love that is pain that is love' and making me aware that I'm not sad or neurotic after all!

January 24, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

boy oh boy, you come over here, and you women are so deep! I love it! I am a married man, and couldn't help but read what 'city girl' had wrote up here in comments, and I agree with her, that she told her friend the right thing. If my wife told me about her behavior before we even met, why do I care? If I didn't ask here intentionally, then obviously it didn't matter to me too much, or the subject never came up. We have 5 children, and we are happy, and well, I guess I don't want to know her deepest sins: think of Mary Magdelene! I am sure she didn't tell evryone all her mortal sins, but she was a favorite of God's. Keep up the good work crazy acres- god bless you.

January 25, 2007  
Blogger Mary Poppins NOT said...

Hello again, city girl. I am taking your matter to Our Lord in prayer and will post on it soon. Blessings!

January 25, 2007  
Anonymous Ian said...

Our oldest is almost eight and our youngest is ten months and we already feel this. Wonderful post.

January 30, 2007  

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