The Work of Mending

The Work of Mending

One of the earliest lessons you learn as a parent is that you can no longer have nice things. It first dawns on you when you realize that babies are incompatible with dry-clean only clothing. Then, as they grow mobile, you resign yourself to the fact that your houseplants must be suspended from the ceiling or rehomed entirely if they are to survive. Still later, you must accept that not a single piece of that dish set you received as a wedding present will see your 10th anniversary. (Don't talk to me about cars, please. My eldest is almost 12 and I've not yet ascended to that plane of detachment.)

If you are very fortunate, you learn, through all of those moments of splintered glass and frustration, of destroyed fabric and dismay, to look at your child and remind yourself that you love them more than you liked that particular coffee mug or pepper grinder. Perhaps you might even need to take a moment and remind yourself that you, too, have broken a number of dishes in your time. And then you can smile (maybe even repressing the sigh!), and say "Oh, well--mistakes are for learning, aren't they? Let's clean it up and try to be more careful next time."

This takes a while, but you can get there. The more children you have, the more practice you get--I'm assuming this is, all jokes aside, one of the many ways they prepare us for heaven: we certainly can't build up any treasures around here!

Meanwhile, you learn to keep fragile things up high, locked away, or out of your home entirely. Weakly-linked rosaries and easily decapitated statues still manages to find their way in, though. So you learn the art of mending broken things.

We currently have a two-year-old in the house--the first of five children to legitimately earn the "terrible" at times. Thanks to his...his...well, let's call it independent exploration or vibrant curiosity, I have been going through superglue and book tape at a record pace. And while he hasn't yet learned NOT to stack stools on top of chairs in order to reach and destroy a few of our favorite things every day, he HAS learned to come to me with the pieces and say "Oh, no! Fix it?" 

Some things, alas, are beyond repair. And others--let's be honest--I'm quite happy to vanquish to the trash can. But I love that he comes to me, trusting that I can somehow put everything back together again. His faith motivates me to try harder, for what better way to learn the value of prayer? I so dearly want all my children to know deep in their souls that they can always bring the consequences of their stupid mistakes, their brokenness, to their heavenly Father and say "Fix it?"


One of my favorite features of our Kitchen Rosary is it's sturdiness: fine hardwood, firmly attached pegs, solid, tightly-strung wire all make it very, very difficult to break. However, if a toddler-zilla does manage to harm it, we can repair it. The wire can be restrung, the beads replaced, and the chips and cracks filled in. It's made to be used and can handle some abuse. Mine sits above my kitchen sink, reminding me to keep my daily work rooted in prayer even when the stillness of quiet contemplation is hard to find in this season of life.

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