In Elie’s Words

Sometimes words are corny or trite until they hit your ears at just the right moment. Become your revelation.

Elie Mae likes to watch me cook. She stands on a stool in the kitchen and asks to stir batter or pour water or sprinkle cheese. Monday morning, as she was stirring an ice cube into her oatmeal to cool it off, she asked if I was going to cool mine off, too.

“No, I don’t have to cool mine off. I’m a big girl,” I said. Stop judging. My explanations are brilliant if you read them backwards.

Then she said that thing. The one that cleared all fear, thoughts of failure, and insecurities from its path before settling in my head. “You’re not a big girl,” she said. “You’re Mommy.”

I stopped. I held a spoon or maybe a bowl—I don’t know, because I froze and stared at the white cabinets in front of me. I let her words echo through the folds of my mind. “You’re Mommy.”

That means something to her.

You know the kind of prayers that you can’t put words to? The ones that must spill out from your soul even as you walk down the street—maybe in pictures or sounds or sensations that only God can interpret? The kind that, thankfully, He’s not afraid to receive?

The fear that I’ve failed because I became a stay-at-home mom, rather than a CEO or award-winning reporter, crushed me some days. Or swallowed me whole. Even in those moments, though, even as I did nothing other than breathe, that prayer must have lifted from my lungs.

Peace arrived swiftly yesterday. It came as quickly as it’s ever left. Through the sweet lips of Elie Mae and a bowl of hot oatmeal.

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