It was the first sunny day after a string of rainy ones; we couldn’t wait to get out of the house. I texted my friend Heather, “Park date?” as I buckled the kids into their car seats.
We arrived at the park at almost the same time in almost the same outfit – Patagonia jackets to ward off the wind chill and high-waisted Lululemon tights to rein in the postpartum sag (just me?), an unofficial South County mom uniform. We made our way from the row of SUVs and minivans to the play structures and bench seating. I unloaded the snack bags and diaper bag and extra bike helmet and the three-wheel scooter. The sky was a bright baby blue, with only traces of the clouds that covered the sky the night before.
Between us, we had five kids roaming in three different areas. Heather and I tag-teamed bathroom runs. My arms moved constantly – fishing for the fruit snacks in the zippered lunch box, catching a scooter before it tipped over, patting baby while I bounced him. We talked while the boys played, but our eyes never stopped moving either. I was mid-sentence, handing my two-year old a water bottle when I caught a glimpse of my four-year old climbing a rock structure meant for the big kids.
I hesitated, unsure of whether to move towards him or stay, when I saw her – another mom of a preschooler, with her arms outstretched to my son, ready to catch him if he slipped.
Thank you, I mouthed, when she looked back at me. “You had your hands full,” she said.
I could have felt inadequate and overwhelmed; a bad mom for having three kids and only two arms. Instead, I felt the cool release of the breath that I didn’t realize I was holding and the warmth of the sunshine after the rain.
There’s a hymn that I love called Hark! The Voice of Jesus Calling. It’s a hymn about answering the call from where you are; a hymn about doing what you can with what you have and trusting His grace to fill the gap. To me, on this day, it was a hymn about ministering as a mother.
If you cannot be the watchman
standing high on Zion's wall,
pointing out the path to heaven,
offering life and peace to all,
with your prayers and with your bounties
you can do what heaven demands;
you can be like faithful Aaron
holding up the prophet's hands.
That’s the visual I see – arms outstretched, hers in place of mine.
We can start on the playground.
We can hold up each other’s hands.
We can hold out our own.
This post was written as part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to read the next post in this series "We're Better Mothers Together"