Photo by Kelsey Green
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Fruit of the Mystery: Devotion to Mary
The best part of my day comes late at night, when everyone’s asleep. Our loud, bright house turns still, soft and quiet. The giggles of the day are replaced by the peeping of tree frogs. The stampede of little feet gives way to my barefoot tip-toeing.
It’s that dreamy slice of evening when all my family’s needs are met: all the bellies full, stories read, prayers said, and foreheads kissed. Everyone entrusted to me safe, at rest, and cared for. The reward for my exhausting day: a still life of my many blessings.
I do my best to move silently about the moonlit rooms. I turn down lights and tuck in loose sheets. I sigh and linger in the doorways where my sleeping children rest. I send silent prayers of gratitude into the starlit sky.
I soak in the silence and clear my mind along with the evening’s clutter. I love these little trinkets of our happy, messy life: sketch pads and magnetic blocks, stacks of books and empty juice cups. But my favorite find by far is always Baby.
I can always tell when my little girl is getting sleepy, because that’s when she finds Baby. Some nights, it’s a doll; other nights, it’s a teddy; some nights, there are three or more! But no matter where I find them, they’re always lovingly swaddled and sweetly laid. My heart can’t help but swell with pride. She’s such a good little mama.
In the daytime, she’s my shadow, always by my side. Whether I’m digging in the garden dirt or putting on makeup, you can be certain that she wants to do it, too! They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and seeing myself in her royal cuteness always does my ego good.
Sometimes, it’s sweet, like when she helps her little brother. Sometimes, it’s beneficial, like when she acquired a taste for red pepper hummus. Sometimes, it’s funny, like the slanted look she gives when she gets sassy.
That is, until I remember all my pre-coffee grumbling. Or how I screamed at her little brother as he streaked across the house. How I put off playtime so I could write, but once I finished, it was too late. Or the way I dismissed her help with a wave as I rushed through making lunch lunch. Was I really way too busy to let her stir the macaroni?
It’s inevitable: I won’t always get it right, but when I’m reminded just how close my mini-me watches me through those almond eyes we share, I worry about all the little ways I could be falling short.
But I have hope that the good will outweigh the bad. That my perseverance will be more impactful than my inexactitude. That my humility will give her permission to try again or ask for help when she needs it herself one day. That what will have the greatest impact on her won’t be the days when everything is flawless — the coiffed family photos or big birthday parties — but the way we navigated all the mundane moments in between. Those whirlwind days, those sleepless nights, the times we laughed and cried together, the ways we’ve grown and overcome. Our life, our real life, unfiltered and radiant, sometimes off-center but a constant source of love.
That is my prayer, because I know one day, she will be a mama for real. Whether physically, spiritually, or figuratively, the motherly attributes in her little soul are sure to make a great impression in the future.
It’s why I ask God every morning for the grace to be a good example to her and to all of my children. I try to be the best mom I can be by imitating the virtue of his, hopeful that my kids will encounter the deposit of grace that Jesus and Mary have both given me, despite my many flaws, and follow suit. In this sense, I’m just a little girl myself, toddling around in my Mama’s big sandals, playing dress-up in her mantle, trying not to trip on the armfuls of overflowing fabric. But she extends her gentle hand through the holy Rosary and leads me on the path of her Son as the mysteries of their lives console, strengthen, and sanctify my soul.
I’m a much better mother when I remember to be a daughter first. Motherhood is serious business; there is no denying that. Sometimes, I scold myself for all the ways I don’t add up, but when I find her comfy little Baby, all snuggled up and sung to sleep, I give myself a break. I pick up the sweet bundle; smile Heavenward; and say, “Lord, I guess I must be doing something right!” Because my daughter is my sweet little reflection, and she finds joy in caring for others and peace in performing small, simple acts of love. What can I say? She’s a good little mama. And maybe that means I am, too.
About Cait: Cait Winters is the founder of Motherhood Through the Mysteries, as well as a writer, blogger & aspiring author. She is a wife and mother of three children (from toddler to teen!) living the small-town life in Massachusetts and finding God in the midst of everyday moments. Her writing covers all things motherhood, womanhood and faith through relatable and inspiring short stories filled with humor and heart.