My kid is an a#@%&*;!

My kid is an a#@%&*;!

The words jumped off the screen and slapped me into attention. A woman in an online mother’s group was venting about how exasperated she was with her nearly two-year old. My immediate thought was, ‘You can’t call him that. He’s a kid!’

And then, ‘that’s ridiculous!’

And then, ‘if you’d waited as long as I have for a child, you’d never say that’

And finally, ‘at least I’m not THAT mother’

So began the descent; the downward spiral of shock, presumption, judgment and self-righteousness. We are all prone to it and we do it often, daily even. The first impressions of someone combine with echoes of our past and voices of our experience and we disparage, based on superficial assessments. This is the thing, darling; we are expert prosecutors when it comes to other people’s mistakes and expert defendants when it comes to our own.

By the time you read this, who knows what I have said and done. I hope I have had the sense to confess and put things right quickly. One thing I am convinced about is that I need grace and you need grace: we all need grace, extended to us and from us. It works out quite nicely that I’ve decided to call this memoir ‘Pure Grace’, which corresponds to the meaning of Karina and Ann. 

Be gracious with others, darling, because you know your weaknesses and sins and need grace extended towards you. Be gracious with others, because you will never fully appreciate the unique history of the person whom you are quick to dismiss. Be gracious, because anything less will calcify your heart and diminish your life. And when you haven’t been gracious, be quick to restore. The only way to do this is to lean fully into pure grace that comes from above. That grace isn’t only empathetic, kind and long-suffering, that grace affects change, beginning with you.

We’ve had three serious posts in a row and we must break that mould. Until next time, umma.
*umma – kiss (in Malayalam)

Don’t forget me

You were barely two. You had no idea what those words would mean and you happily scampered off to find your next adventure, leaving me in tears. Tears of gratitude, of conviction, tears that brought more perspective and contentment than the many I had cried before.

You, my darling girl, were much-anticipated. The months turned to years as we waited. The first few years were unpleasant but tolerable, the next few were painful and the last few were excruciating. The innate desire to be a mother was a powerful force that I had not reckoned with. I had never been someone who loved cuddling babies or could only imagine life as a wife and a mother. I had ambitions to conquer the world and being a wife and mother were a presumption, but not the pinnacle. Yet there I was, years into “trying” to have a baby and the longing to be a mother was ever-present, overwhelming and my barrenness was a stark daily reminder that nothing else would satisfy that ache. Most acutely, I remember the sadness and grief of being forgotten.

So when we finally saw your little frame, all 1.25 cms long and heard the thumping beat of your heart, Papa and I were elated. He sang songs about your heartbeat all the way home from the clinic. Right from the get-go, you measured bigger than the ‘norm’. You were our extraordinary miracle. A difficult pregnancy led to complications and an even more arduous 48 hour labour, but finally you were in our arms. We cried every day for a while, overwhelmed by the touch of your little hands, the squeals, the smiles and the cries and then the tears faded. You were here, you were ours and we were satisfied.

That day took me by surprise. It was just an ordinary one and you followed me around as you loved to do. You watched me as I dressed and unassumingly pointed to my stretch marks and said, “What’s that lines, mama?”

“They are lines mama got because you were in my tummy, my darling”, I replied somewhat self-consciously.

“Was I in you tummy long time, mama?”

“Yes, baba”

After a moment’s silence, you gently but deliberately followed those lines with your little fingers and said, “I love you lines, mama.”

Five naive words, filled with love, disarmed me and a flood of emotions came pouring in and then out. It’s easy to forget the miracle of life, even when you have been waiting for a decade to have it birthed through you but in that moment I felt such gratitude that I was barely able to stand. Gratitude for the journey that led me to this moment, for my body that carried you and even for stretch marks that served as a reminder, for the little person who I was overjoyed to hear call me ‘mama’, for love that does not need eloquent words to be expressed, and thankfulness that I had indeed not been forgotten at all. In reality, I was carried every day of that decade of waiting by a loving Heavenly Father. He had numbered not only my days but that of my children. I was lavished with love in that moment, love from you and love from my Abba and it was sublime.

O what manner of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ~ 1 John 3:1

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. ~ Psalm 139:16


The non blog

I can almost see your eyes roll over. ‘Not another blog’, I hear you thinking. ‘It’s so 2004.’ ‘That horse has well and truly been flogged’, ‘the party’s over and we’re cleaning up the mess.’ So, if you’re still here and reading this, you’ll be glad to know that this is most definitely NOT a blog. Well, ok, it’s a little bit like a blog except for one thing. The ultimate audience isn’t literate yet. I considered vlogging but I much prefer words to selfies, baring my soul than my face (and ‘vlogging’ is a step too far in my lexicon). This space is mostly for me and especially for my children, but you’re welcome. You’re also welcome to suggest a name for this space as I’m not having any luck. It’s a place where I hope to be authentic and hopefully, one day, my children will read this and find joy in discovering more about their mama. I’d been toying with the idea for a while and it was a seemingly mundane happenstance that tipped me over the edge.

While looking for my missing phone, a fairly frequent activity when you have a toddler who is semi-addicted to snapchat filters (to be fair, they are fun), I came across a stash of my own mama’s little journals. For at least a decade, I have memories of my mum writing furiously in little notebooks and she would chew through a handful of them in a few weeks. She would record her thoughts, dreams, impressions, prayers, scriptures she meditated on. It was her confessional and her communion table. Stumbling upon one of these books instantly took me back in time and in that moment, I was on sacred ground. Not only did I have fond memories of her, I was reminded again what a privilege it is to have an excellent mother, one who has loved well and continues to do the same. She’s someone who has experienced deep sorrows and extraordinary joys, and through it all her lips and life consistently sing ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ and remind me that it all matters. The small steps, the big journeys, the little notebooks, the grand visions, the mistakes, the lessons learned, they all have significance because we have been made in the image of a Glorious God who gives meaning and worth to all we are and all we do, in love.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. ~ 1 Cor 10:31

Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of water in My name…will surely be rewarded.  ~ Matt 10:42