vulnerable love

My heart has been vulnerable lately. I've been focusing more on being a mother who listens, a mother who plays, a mother who puts down the smart phone. Asher is in such a marvelous stage of toddlerhood. He's talking and learning and playing and imagining, and I get to be there to see it all first-hand. And being that witness is significant. Being this witness to his childhood is a responsibility--such a meaningful responsibility.

{Credit for this beautiful photos to Kate West}

Not only am I witness of this life, I am a shaper of this life. More than anyone in his life right now, I create the opportunities for his learning, growing, and becoming. And what a serious role that is, what a sacred one. I--along with Josh--am the teacher, the playmate, the listener, the disciplinarian, the comforter. I can't even find the words to tell you how full my love is for my son--how all-consuming, how raw, how terrifying in its magnitude. I love him so much that I have to entrust that intimacy to my Savior to safeguard.

Loving as a parent is scary sometimes. You love so much you don't understand how it's even possible to love so deeply. Your love puts you in this place of ultimate vulnerability, a place where your heart isn't yours anymore. The fear of failure is so real when you love so fiercely. I pray so earnestly to do right by my son, to do right by God. Sometimes I want to freeze these moments of toddlerhood because these days are beautiful in their simplicity.

All too soon, this toddler of mine will be a kid, will be a teenager, will be a man. And my time as a hands-on, person-molding mother is only a sliver. So I have to make my sliver of time count. I need to use this time to focus on the essentials: Asher is a son of God; Jesus Christ atoned for his life; through our Savior's grace, Asher can change and be made whole. Everything I do as a parent has to find root in these truths. I have made promises to God and to my family to live in faith and obedience. Some days I feel that weight so intensely, a weight that's also accompanied by a surge of raw love that I can feel only because my Savior enlarges my soul to feel it.

More than anything my motherhood proves to me that God is real. Something so grand and lasting could come only from the Divine. Even in those mundane moments of sweeping crushed crackers and teaching basic manners, my Savior is there, reminding me that what I do matters. What I do matters because my son matters, because my family matters. My family matters to God, because families are divinely destined to last the eternity. Those days when my heart feels vulnerable for all the love and responsibility that fills it are the days when I understand my life with the most clarity. The Savior is love, and I feel closest to Him when that love fills my soul.


Camille said...

Beautiful as always, Charlotte. You are such a good mother.

Jill said...

Beautifully written. You are very wise to slow down and pay attention now. It's hard to do when motherhood so often feels like smotherhood though. I wasn't always the best mom of younger kids and sometimes I wish I could fix that. It's amazing how little I see of Landon now that he's almost 16. Even when he's home, I don't really see him much because he's doing his own thing. My influence now is alarmingly small so I really hope my early efforts will hold!

Angela + Roger said...

So sweet! It brought tears to my eyes because it's so true! Thank you for this blog.

Emily Archibald said...

Thank you for sharing! You have the beautiful talent of putting into words what you feel and it helps me to understand what I feel and what I need to be doing as a mother.

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