The Gift of Responsibility | Marvelous Mundane

 

“Can you grab that sour cream for me?”.

I stand in the dairy aisle, pointing to the medium-sized, red sour cream container.

"You can go down there now,” he responds, gesturing to the other end of the aisle.

And I hear the unspoken in his reply. He is seven going on adult. He is ready for responsibility without hovering. Space to grow up. I walk to the other end of the aisle, grabbing a few gallons of milk. He dashes over, placing the sour cream in the cart.

“What else do we need?”, he grins.

And I know. He embraced the gift.

He won’t always. He doesn’t always.

Just like his mom.

Because me? I get stingy.

When I give this gift, this sharing of responsibility, I give up efficiency, convenience & productivity right now. Words near and dear to this mother of small children. While I have delightful visions of little child elves folding laundry & washing dishes when my back is turned, that isn’t my reality. My reality is more embracing the mathematically illogical: that a job with four participants takes much longer than a job with one.  And it’s a gift that requires giving up more than time: I give up control. I give up perfectly swept floors, exorbitant amounts of dish soap, and tightly folded towels. The irony? Giving this gift is MY responsibility, making me the ultimate responsibility shirker.

We have to get this: responsibility isn’t a chore, it’s a gift.

Responsibility develops self-control.

Responsibility teaches choices & consequences.

Responsibility fosters empathy.

Responsibility empowers dreams.

Because difficult and hard work aren’t four-letter words.

They are life givers. Life shapers.

Because, maybe, it is the embracing of responsibility that is the making of me, too. Leaning into these mundane and repeated responsibilities of motherhood is reshaping my soul. When everything I accomplish in one day is immediately demolished the next, when the words that slip from my children’s mouths are not the words I poured into their ears, when I have suffered another defeat to the raging laundry monster, I know. I know that motherhood is not a place to find my value in accomplishments, or a badge to display to the world, shouting my worth. It is a gift drawing me to the Giver of the greatest gift, a call to rest in the completed work and redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

A gift given daily,

Wrapped in night time wake ups & too early mornings,

Throw-up covered couches & popsicle stained jeans,

Dirty dishes & broken dishwashers,

Overtired toddlers & underslept mothers,

Mysteriously scented closets & questionable refrigerator drawers,

Toddlers who fall over nothing & cry over everything.

 

Let’s receive this gift with open arms & convinced souls.

And let’s pass this gift along to our children, with our hearts & words imitating the graciousness of the One who gives to us.

 

For it was the embracing of responsibility that was the saving of us;

The glory relinquished,

The humanity accepted,

The ridicule absorbed,

The cross not abandoned,

The grave not triumphant,

The soul not forsaken.