A few days ago I needed a break. I was ready to hop in the car and run away from my kids. Nap time was in 15 minutes and I couldn’t wait. I was fumbling around in the kitchen in search of chocolate to ease the stress and I caught a glimpse of my stainless steel refrigerator covered in fingerprints. This reminded me of a story I remember a few years prior and my day suddenly changed:
My first daughter was 20 months old and I was 6 months pregnant with her sister. It had been a long day as I was trying to deep-clean my whole house while attending to the needy 20 month old pulling on my pant leg. I don’t recall why I thought I needed to deep-clean the whole house that day, but I had to. My husband was at work and wouldn’t return home until later that night. I remember thinking, “I just cannot wait until bedtime so I can finish cleaning this house without any interruptions.”
As mother’s know, it literally takes all day, if not more to clean the house with kids, and once it’s clean it doesn’t stay clean. By the time my daughter’s bedtime rolled around I had managed to finish everything on my to-do list. After I finished up, I hastily dressed her in her pajamas, brushed her teeth, read her a story, said prayers, then laid her down in her crib. I gave her a quick goodnight kiss and left her room. I shut the door, walked down the hall into my bedroom then plopped my big, pregnant self onto my comfy bed letting out a huge sigh of relief, “I did it!” I thought. Just as I rolled my head over to rest my eyes I happened to glance at my black, freshly polished nightstand and spotted something so sweet and so special. Smudged in the shine of the polish were ten little fingerprints on the very edge. Tears started to form in my eyes not because my freshly polished furniture had smudges, but because I was reminded that the fingerprints were those of my sweet, innocent daughter who had longed for me all day. My heart became changed, “Why had I put her second today?” I thought. “She is the most important thing in my life and everything else can wait.”
Those fingerprints left an imprint on my life and my heart that night. I do not look at fingerprints the same as they remind me of my responsibiltiy and my privelege as a mother. I left them there until they faded away on their own because I did not want to erase that sweet reminder. I am a mother – and my house may take days to clean. I am a mother – and my windows will have fingerprints on them, my walls will be smeared with boogers, my kitchen floor will be sticky. Mothers, when you see fingerprints on your windows, fridge, or polished furniture, don’t wipe them away. Leave them there and embrace them to remind yourself that you have one of the greatest callings in life, being a mother. One day those fingerprints will be gone, just remember that.