Last Sunday, an older mother watched me with my boisterous four. "They are so precious," she whispered. "Enjoy them while they are young. Right now you are their whole world."
My eyes teared up. Partly, because I knew she spoke the sweet truth...their whole world. Wow! Who wouldn't love to be so important to anyone? Isn't that why we fall in love and have families in the first place? To create our own little planets of love, happiness, togetherness.
But the other part of me was thinking, Wait! I don't wanna be a world! Worlds have to spin and rotate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Without stopping. Worlds have to nourish and nurture and sustain and support. Worlds have to be solid and constant, beautiful and productive.
It's very tiring being a world.
My mom compares mothers to air. Kids can't live without you. You're vital to their growth and progress. Yet, most of the time they don't really even notice you're around.
Who wants to be air? Invisible. The only time you're acknowledged is when you change direction or get steamy or smell bad.
No wonder our planet is known as Mother Earth. I can totally relate to her. She has Exxon Valdez spilling crude oil in Prince William Sound. I have Wesson vegetable oil spilled in my pantry. She has hurricanes and earthquakes. I have 3-year-old twin boys. She has Mount St. Helens. I've been known to blow my top once in a while, too.
Like Mother Earth, I feel that I am giving all my natural resources so generously and freely. But somehow it's never enough. I'm being gouged and drained and pulled in unnatural directions. And just when I think things are finally going smoothly, there is a great tectonic shift or a climate change, and I have to regenerate and start growing all over again.
But our wise old earth mother has been around a long time. She offers up gold and diamonds and pine trees and wildflowers to her most ungrateful children. Even in the face of war and chaos, her waterfalls shimmer and her oceans wave.
Mother Earth faces each season gracefully. She doesn't try to be spring-green in December. She holds her bare branches proudly and looks elegant in her silvery winter coat.
So, even though, most of the time I feel too small and too weak to be anyone's whole world, I will look to Mother Earth with her dignity and splendor. Even though I would feel much more comfortable being a small country like Luxembourg or, better yet, a town too small for a traffic light, I will think of her sunsets and rainbows and peonies.
And I will roll up my stormy sleeves and I'll put on my sunshine smile. I will remember my greatest blessing is to be my children's whole world.
If Mother Earth can do it...I guess I can, too.