One of my favorite things about being a mother is sharing the Catholic Faith with my children.
You know that wonderful feeling of peace and contentment when you teach your preschooler about the Faith? Joy floods your heart as you see your words stirring a love for Christ in their little souls. It is the most beautiful part of homeschool life. You know what I mean? Really? ‘Cause, if you do, then please come to my home and show me your secrets!
Most lessons around here are spontaneous, grabbing ahold of whatever my children are doing at the moment to try and tie in some element of Catholicism in as few words as possible. I have about 5.3 seconds before they flit on to something else, and the teaching moment is lost. My teachings are most often met with a blank stare, or at most a polite “Oh, okay Mama.” I never really know if something I’ve said has actually sunk in and taken hold.
Like planting seeds, all I can do is continue to plant and water, and wait patiently for tiny sprouts to appear.
Every once in awhile, though, the clouds of frustration part, and there is a moment when I can actually see that they’ve grasped something.
I found a trail of fluffy white stuffing leading from the living room to the girls’ bedroom. Uh-oh. What is the damage this time? A quick inventory of my living room pillows shows that they were spared this round.
Take a deep breath. Pray for grace. Follow fuzzy trail of freshly fallen polyester snow.
She had made a safety-scissor incision in her favorite doll. Baby was opened from navel to shoulder. A four-year-old doctor and a two-year-old nurse were busily removing all the stuffing. From the looks on their faces, the operation was not going well.
One of them looked up and saw me standing in the doorway. In unison, their baby voices chimed “Mama, we need your help!” So I set them to collecting the mounds of stuffing while I rummaged through the sewing basket. Blessed Mother, calm this storm inside me and give me your patience.
With gritted teeth I began mending the brown fabric baby doll with hot pink thread… because it was the only thread that had survived last week’s toddler raid on my sewing supplies..
Internally fuming, I did my best to stay outwardly calm. As the needle pulled one messy stitch after another through baby’s maimed belly, we talked. We talked about treating toys nicely. We talked about how scissors are only for paper (books not included.) We talked about how sad we would be if the favorite doll was ruined and had to be thrown away.
Finally, after talking about it from every angle I could think of, I asked the question I should have started with.
“Babygirl, why? Why did you cut your favorite doll?”
Her response was immediate, clear and unapologetic. “Because baby is a saint like the book.”
She disappeared into her room and brought back the book of saints we had been looking at a few days before. Cross legged on the old wood floor, she flipped to the picture of St Stephen.
“See Mama? He love Jesus so much he get big owies and die for Jesus. That why Jesus take him to heaven! Baby doll loves Jesus too. So much baby get dead with big owies to see Jesus in heaven!”
Well, there you have it. Baby was martyred. At least I know she understood when I explain martyrdom.
Now maybe we can work on learning about other ways to be saints in heaven. For example, the Little Way of St Therese… where every tiny act of love and obedience bring you closer to God.
And you can become a saint by following Mama’s rules about safety scissors.
In Corde Maria
featured image via flickr user Dennis Brekke