Like many young girls I have dreamed about my wedding day from the time I donned my first pair of plastic high-heel shoes and began to play dress-up! The dream never really changes, it evolves, but there is a guy, a proposal, a white horse drawn carriage (okay, I may have been a more extravagantly oriented child), and of course an amazing honeymoon on an Alaskan cruise. Your typical fairy tale type stuff! Motherhood always called to me. Early in my discernment of religious life, when I would find myself leaning toward saying yes I would find myself pulled away by my innate desire of motherhood.
Over the years I found myself in a place where children were a non-negotiable. Husband or not I was going to find a way to have children. Maybe by means not so accepted by church teaching or maybe adoption, I imagined it all . . . the thing is however, that my desire for children, as it turns out, is not so contrary to religious life. In fact it may be the best place for me to embrace my desires of motherhood.
As I continued my discernment I came to a place where I suddenly realized that the biological desire to have babies was just that, babies! When I sat back and really reflected upon adolescent and adult children my motherly instincts suddenly vanished, I have NO DESIRE to have teenage children! And seeing as it's not really acceptable or human to raise kids to the age of ten and then send them off into the world, I had to reevaluate what my desires were really all about!
I use to secretly roll my eyes at sisters who would claim they have lived their motherhood through the children they teach, and that in many ways they were more of a mother than they could have been in the context of one nuclear family. But the truth is I'm beginning to understand that on a much deeper reality than I had in the past.
Today, as I arrived at the Motherhouse I ran into Sr. Elsa, an amazing sister who never fails to make me smile! She said that I was missed in choir as they prepare for the Sacred Triduum. I shared with her that the reason for not singing in choir this time was that I would be attending the parish where a student I have worked with for the past two years will be entering into the Church. She will be baptized, confirmed and receive her first Holy Communion. It is important to me to be with her as she makes a true commitment to Church. The journey has been a long one for her, I have been there for much of it and am really looking forward to celebrating this great moment in her faith life along side of her.
To this Elsa smiled and said, "You will be a great mother to her!"
I sort of chuckled at first, I thought she was saying I'd make a good mother someday . . . I almost turned to her and said, "When did the Church approve that?!" I quickly realized I misunderstood and realized what she actually said. I walked away with a little hop in my step because the reality is, as much as I rolled my eyes at this concept in the past, you really can embrace your motherhood by serving others! I will not only be sister, but I too will be mother. It might not look like the 5 year old Sara imagined in her plastic pumps and lace dress, but it's just as good--or dare I say, without the commitment of teenagers, better!