My Lenten promise for this year is to stop trying to be or make situations perfect. Instead, I vowed to try and look at myself and situations the way that Jesus would.
For my mother’s birthday, I decided to make her a chocolate cake. While it would have been much easier to just buy a cake from the grocery store, I thought it would be more thoughtful to make it from scratch. Okay, not scratch, but a box. Still, I would assemble the ingredients, bake and frost it myself.
Of course, my toddler is my sidekick (more like, I’m his sidekick) and he has reached a stage in his toddlerhood where he insists “I DO!” at each turn.
Knowing that baking a cake wouldn’t be an easy feat with an independent toddler in tow, I mentally prepared myself for the worst.
I would not try to make a perfect cake or a perfect morning with my son. We would just have fun. I told myself that no matter how bad the cake turns out and regardless if the kitchen is destroyed afterwards, it will be a good memory for me and my little love.
As I was stirring in the oil, some splattered on my shirt. It was a t-shirt that I got from my husband on our honeymoon. At first, I was sad since this was my favorite t-shirt and somehow was one of the few that did not have any visible marks on it.
Usually, I would rush to change my shirt and pretreat the stain, cursing myself that I forgot to wear my apron. But before I reacted, I reminded myself of my Lenten promise.
Then, I thought of the stretch marks on my stomach.
I realized that if the stain did not come out (it didn’t), then it would always be a reminder of a fun morning where my son and I baked my mom a chocolate cake for her birthday.
The stain on the t-shirt was just like the stretch marks I got from pregnancy. When I was pregnant, I was adamant that I would do everything in my power not to get stretch marks. Each day I would lather as much coca butter and creams all over my stomach as possible. Sometimes I would do it twice a day.
But then, after my son was born, I saw two stretch marks next to my navel. Instead of being upset that my efforts failed me, they brought me joy. Those two marks showed me that I survived a very difficult time in my life where I often felt hopeless. They will forever remind me of the fact that God had broken the “old me” so that He could rebuild me- stronger, happier and more aware of my blessings.
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As always, thank you for reading. God bless you and may the Blessed Virgin Mary be with you always!