The church was quiet. The congregation listening with varying degrees of attentiveness to the pastor’s sermon. Unfortunately, my four year old was one of those less attentive members.
“No sweetie.” I whispered trying to hush him quickly.
Immediate disappointment swept over his face, and I knew I had to clarify.
GOD IS REAL
“God is better than magic, baby,” I whispered. “Magic is pretend. God is real.”
He looked at me with his widening eyes, “Is God real life?”
I could see the wheels turning in his little head. “Can God do magic?”
I smiled, “God can do ANYTHING – even more than magic. God knows everything. He can do anything. He is all powerful. God IS real, Kaleb”
“Ohhhhh…” whispered my sweet baby, and then he sat thinking quietly for about thirty seconds before becoming distracted by whatever caught his attention next.
But I couldn’t leave the conversation so quickly. If you had asked me years ago to describe the childhood I wanted to give my children, would have summed it up in one word – magical.
MY IMAGINARY, MAGICAL LIFE
I would have pictured the ideal family – beginning with a two parent household, a couple of kids, and maybe a dog thrown in for good measure.
I would have spoken of pancake breakfasts together on weekends, family barbecues in the summer, and trips to our local ice cream stand at every opportunity.
I would have told of vacations spent camping and seeing our great country, participating in church activities – everything from pro-life meet ups to Veteran’s Day food drives, and attending sporting events – hiking, canoeing, sleigh riding, basketball, baseball, football, whatever!
I would have talked of playing good cop/bad cop at the dinner table with kids who didn’t want to eat their vegetables, tag teaming sleepy little ones at bath time, and reading bedtime stories to cozy sweet smelling cherubs tucked in their beds.
And all of it would be enveloped in love and laughter. Husband loving wife. Parents loving kids. Kids loving parents. Kids loving each other.
The life I was to give my children was wrapped in love and laughter – magical!
OUR REAL, REAL LIFE
Now, as a single mom, life is not what I pictured. That dream of the magical childhood I wanted to provide my children with is gone.
And yet, when I look at my life, we still make pancakes, have barbecues and eat too much ice cream – way too much ice cream!
We still go camping, participate in church activities, and attend sporting events.
I now fight more creatively to get my kids to eat their vegetables, check on my little one at bath time, and tuck all my little cherubs into their beds.
Our life is still wrapped in love and laughter. We choose to wrap our lives in laughter and love.
Mom loves the kids. Kids love the mom. Kids love each other.
Do I wish there was husband loving wife here? Absolutely.
That is part of my magical family, my magical life.
But it was also unreal, a dream, a fantasy. I had lived in an illusion of what I had hoped would be.
Our life now may not be magical, but it is real.
And real is better than magical. Real is what is given to us by God.
And God is real. God knows everything. He can do ANYTHING. He is all powerful.
And, because of that,
our real life is really good,
even better than magic.
And for that I can be really thankful.
© STRAHLEN SMITH is a single mom of five boys. Smith hopes to reach out to other divorced and hurting Catholics and let them know there is Hope and Love in the Catholic Church. Today, she and her five sons work hard for everything that comes their way, but they are also successful, happy, and faithful. They enjoy camping, sports, and (highly competitive) board games. Check out more of their story at www.SingleMomSmiling.com. Reprinted with permission.