April 4, 1994. I knew Spring had truly arrived when I stepped out the back door today. I saw a scene which always made my heart swell with the joy of motherhood. My backyard was full of children! The swing set was alive with laughing, singing children. It was “Mary Had a Little Lamb” at the top of their little lungs. Such contentment filled me as I watched the flashes of colored sweaters going up and down, up and down and those outstretched sneakers trying to see if this year they could touch that branch over the swing set.
The rest of the yard was filled with the season’s first backyard baseball game. A pile of discarded jackets lay by the forever-bare patch of lawn known as “home plate.” All the neighborhood boys – and a few tomboys too – always played ball here.
I realized just how long the winter had been and how much I’d missed all this activity: the baseball hats all cocked in different directions, the young leg muscles aching to stretch themselves in a dash between bases, everyone shouting advice or just shouting to be heard. All winter I’d tolerated loud children’s voices from within the confines of small rooms. Now how soothing it all was!
I smiled and thanked God for this rejuvenating scene. I could view my half-dozen children as blessings again. Just as they were reveling in simply being “children,” so I was completely content with the honor of being simply “a mother”.
Maureen McCaffrey is a Catholic mother of six and grandmother of four. In addition she is an artist who paints out of Fort Collins, CO. She wrote this piece nearly two decades ago when her children were all young.