Daniel and I were walking out of his preschool together when he spotted a bird and ran to see it. All of a sudden he froze.
He turned around and came running back to me.
“Mama!” he said, all excited. “There’s a baby bunny!”
We tiptoed over together. The little rabbit was eating grass, and Daniel was right. It was a baby.
Daniel wanted me to take pictures so we could show his Baba and his big brother. The baby bunny, however, wasn’t sure it wanted us there at all.
As we inched closer and closer, moving as quietly and gently as we could, it kept an eye on us.
Then, when we were still a few feet away, it hopped into the bushes.
“Mama,” Daniel said, “we shouldn’t have gone so close. I think we scared him.”
He was right, of course. As we climbed into the car, I said, “When you grow up, what kind of animal would you want to have as a pet?”
“All different kinds of am-in-als,” he said, “except bears. You know I don’t like bears.”
As we drove and Daniel talked on and on about the animals he likes, my mind drifted to what the pope said earlier in the day about families, how couples today often choose a life of comfort and travel over having children. I always hoped to be a mother, so it’s hard for me to imagine choosing the alternate, though for a while I thought we might not have a choice.
Being a parent may not always be easy, but neither is being a wife, or being a good employee, or being a follower of Christ. Doing anything well requires effort.
Still, just because something is challenging doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. And especially in the case of being a mother, I feel the rewards come so frequently, and in such meaningful ways. Of course, I didn’t feel called to become a mother just for myself or for my husband, but for our children. Is every moment bliss? Of course not, but it’s impossible for me to imagine choosing a more comfortable life that would be this fulfilling.
We stopped at a red light, and I glanced down at the front passenger seat and saw a picture Daniel had drawn during the day. He could have drawn a truck or a spaceship or a baby bunny. He drew this.
“This is our family, right?” I said. “I think I know which one is Baba.”
“Yes, that’s Baba,” he said, pointing to the left side of the picture. “And do you see you, Mama? You’re the one who’s dancing.”
I had to smile. Maybe if we didn’t have children, we’d have that fancy home in the country the pope mentioned. But who needs an extra house? I get to sneak up on baby bunnies, participate in fantastic conversations in the car, and have a starring role in my son’s family portrait.
Yes, that’s right. I’m the one (second from the left, of course) who’s dancing.