Several nights ago, Nina took it upon herself to confess her wrongdoings during nightly prayers. Just as I began to sing a “Hail Mary” to her and Luke, she offered aloud, “God, I am sorry for hitting” and asked for help to use kind hands. Now, Nina’s idea of confessing about hitting bother earlier that day didn’t come as a complete surprise. I often lead Nina and Luke in an ACTS prayer (Adoration – God is awesome! God is great!; Confession – I am sorry for ~ ; Thanksgiving – Thank you, God, for ~; and Supplication – God, please help ~) at night. But, it did make me smile. For not only had I yet to begin an ACTS prayer that evening, but also Nina — over the many occasions we had prayed ACTS together with Luke at bedtime –had never offered much more than repitition of Luke’s ideas. So, for her to spontaneouly pause to ask God for forgiveness for hitting Brother that day seemed a milestone.
Then, last night while Nina busied herself devouring her dinner, Luke raised his glass of water and said, “I want to be wet.” Fearing he was about to to begin a three-year-old exploration of spilled fluid, I quickly took his glass from him and told him he didn’t need to be wet. He balked, saying, “But I want to be married when I’m big.”
Oh! It struck me. Luke had not wanted to leave my side that morning at the Catholic Homeschooling Co-op we go to, so he had skipped his pre-K Music and Movement class and joined in on the 5-7 year olds’ creative dramatics class that I teach instead. During the class, he thoroughly enjoyed exploring the story of the Birth of Christ with the older children and, for the remainder of the day, kept talking about “drama” and re-enacting bits of our class. Realizing this, I made the connection: His wanting to be “wet” comment was based upon recalling parts of the story we had read during class.
“You mean, wed, Luke, wed, with a ‘d’, not wet, with a ‘t’, wed.” Just like Mary was to be wed to Joseph when the Angel Gabriel came to her.
“Yes, wed, “Luke confirmed. “I want to get married when I am big.”
Daddy then asked Luke who he wanted to marry. Luke smiled with a proud, yet innocent spark in his eye and declared, “Nina!”
So, Daddy asked Nina who she wanted to marry when she grew up. Of course, we both expected her to reply, “Luke.” But, without hesitation, she said, “Jesus!”
We asked her again and she said, “I want to marry God.”
Oh my! Did our hearts melt?
Sometimes, when Nina and I are cocooned together, with me stroking her little curls to soothe her to sleep, I think about what a privilege such moments are. I remember my mom lovingly stroking my hair as a child, and think about how Nina may do the same with her own child someday. The sweet, simple tradition and joy of motherhood… At such moments, I pray for the grace to train Nina to have a happy and obedient heart, filled not only with maternal love, but also with a complete love for God. As such, I pray that she might one day fully enjoy and be saitisfied by a maternal vocation.
Last night, though, as Nina so definitively and joyously declared her desire to marry Jesus, I had a new thought. Might Nina choose to serve God through becoming a Sister not a Mom when she grows up? Of course, it’s far too early to think about such things. Nina is but a toddler, still exploring the world and developing her unique characteristics. Still, I cannot help but wonder…
Today, as I watched Nina demonstrate her usual compassion and capacity for sharing – uncharacteristic for many typical two year olds – and listened to her break into “Alleluia! Praise the Lord!” choruses on occassion, I found myself thinking about her words last night. Might she really marry Jesus? Who knows! I simply pray that she continues to know Him and to talk to Him daily, proclaiming her desire to get ever closer to Him.
Nina, my sweet girl, may you always use kind hands and may you dedicate yourself to Jesus in whatever vocation you discern is your calling in the future. Whatever you do, do it with the smile you offer us daily these days. It makes Daddy and I beam!