We were on our daily walk to the library. We walked slowly down the street, me pushing a stroller with my daughter’s baby doll in it, simultaneously wearing my infant son and calling after my daughter to hold my hand before she crossed the street. I sometimes wonder what passerby’s think when they see me. Perhaps an older woman smiles from behind her steering wheel reminiscing about how her grown children were once small. Maybe a busy man thinks to himself, “That lady needs a real job.” Perhaps a teenage girl thinks that if she ever has kids she won’t go out of the house without doing her hair first. Just speculation, but I am curious sometimes.
As I sat in a chair designed for a 2-year-old and helped my daughter with a puzzle, I overheard an interesting conversation between two librarians. The two women in their mid twenties were talking about an upcoming wedding and how the bride’s married sister will be pregnant for the wedding. They talked about how inconsiderate it was of the sister to get pregnant before the wedding and how the bride was furious with her. Um, I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was a huge faux pas…anyone else with me on this one? At first I thought I must have heard wrong, but as they continued to talk about the rudeness of the timing of the pregnancy and wonder who would take care of the baby if it came before the wedding, I realized they were serious. To top it all, the mother-of-the-bride (who also worked at the library) came in and gushed about how upset she was about the whole ordeal.
Granted, I was eavesdropping on a very loud conversation, but since when have precious, innocent babies become simply nuisances that throw off the aesthetics of our wedding pictures? Seriously, do we as a culture place so much value on a wedding that we forget that children are one of the greatest blessings of a marriage? Are brides so self-centered these days that their joy is dampened by someone who might steal the limelight?
The whole conversation both embarrassed and angered me. Once again it reminded me that I live in a culture that sees my babies as inconvenient and burdensome. This is nothing new. Even Jesus’ disciples pushed the children away. But Jesus knew better. He shocked the crowd by saying that they must become like the little ones to enter His kingdom. He said that when you serve the least of these, you serve Him. He said that the least is the greatest. His wisdom seems foolish to the culture of yesterday and today.
As we walked home with a dozen picture books slowing us down, I continued to think about my role as a mother amidst a discouraging culture of self-centeredness. A culture that says I can do better than daily laying down my life for others. I may not work in a highly esteemed, well-paying job, and wear expensive clothes. I may not be well-traveled or have extra letters by my name. But everyday, I look in the eyes of my babies and see Jesus. Everyday I have two personal tutors to show me how I must be childlike in my faith. No matter how my role as a mother is viewed by others, when I serve my children, I serve Jesus, and that is the greatest thing I will ever do.