One of the favorite parts of my day is going to pick up my kids from school. It is also the part of my day that I feel the most exposed and judged.
Let me explain it this way: I go to pick up my kids in the afternoons after having just come from work or just come from my house with my three year old. Either way, I am usually a bit windblown; with my curly hair sneaking out of the rubber band it’s been tied up in all day, making me look a bit askew. I am usually a little out of breath after having to hike up to the school from where I parked since I can’t seem to get there early enough to get a good parking spot. And if my three year old is with me, I am usually trying to keep him from running away from me and trying to use my calm patient voice when asking him to please stand still right next to me while we wait for the kids. By this time, my deodorant (when I can remember to put some on in the mornings) needs to be refreshed and there might even be some sweat rings going on.
As I stand and try to look nonchalant, I wish that I could be all “put together” like I think other moms seem to be. I wish I had that ”fresh from the spa where I was sprayed with sweet smelling roses as I walked out” look. Not a hair out of place, not a drop of moisture anywhere. Giggling and smiling and hugging the other moms while we reminisce about our day filled with joy and laughter. Instead, I try not to look anyone in the face or else they might want to talk to me and realize that I didn’t really have a peaceful, fragrant, rosy day. It was kind of harried, and I am still sleepy and I am not looking forward to the myriad of chores I have to do when I get home. Not to mention that my little three year old is hiding somewhere in the trees behind me and I can’t seem to pull off that calm patient voice at the moment.
But then, the bell rings, the doors to the school open and my 5 year old daughter runs out giggling and shrieking, “Mommy!” with the biggest grin as if she hadn’t seen me in a year. She wraps her little arms around my legs and says, “I love you mommy.” She doesn’t care how my hair looks, or if I am sweating or tired. She only cares that I am there for her. That I love her and that I promised her that morning that I would come to pick her up and sure enough, I was there to pick her up. Her joy is overwhelming at that moment. She then has to give me a very detailed narrative about her whole day complete with the funny parts and the frustrating parts. She then pumps me with questions about what we are going to do and requests for what she wants from me.
It reminds me of our relationship with God. He doesn’t care what we look like or how we’re dressed. He just wants us to come and meet with Him. Talk to Him. Spend time with Him. Just as we are. We don’t have to dress up or fix everything that is out of place. We don’t need to get right with God before going right to God. We don’t need to make sure we are perfect in every way before coming to Him because He meets us right where we are at…spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically. He is just bursting at the seams to tell us how much He loves us, how much He has missed us even if it has only been an hour since the last time we prayed to Him. To show us His big grin. To allow us to wrap our arms around His legs and tell Him how much we love Him. These times must be God’s favorite part of the day. When He gets to shower us with love and listen to our hearts. Complete with the funny and frustrating parts, the questions and requests.
What a picture of our Father’s love. God uses our children to show us this love. And I even think He shows me His joy, humor and playful side through my three year old who is now running around his sister and shrieking with joy at the top of his lungs, “Sissy’s back, sissy’s back…Come and chase me…let’s play!”
So while the rest of that day might be a bit stressful. I will be running out of patience way before it is bedtime and will have prayed some prayers asking for God to help me get the kids to bed in one piece; it is very special when my little girl hugs me as I say good night and tells me that the favorite part of her day is when I come to pick her up after school. Just as I am…crazy hair and all…with a smile and hug just for her.
Joanne Vasquez has been a praying mom for more than six years. She lives with her husband and three very active children ages 6, 5 and 3. When she is not running after her kids, 13 chickens, one dog and a turtle (faster than it looks), Joanne works with her husband. She has also served as a Special Education Para Educator in her local school district.