Hummingbird or Buzzard, Mom? (You Are What You Seek)

Saturday morning I ran some errands and returned home to find the family sitting at the kitchen bar, shoving blueberry pancakes into their smiling faces. But I barely noticed the smiles because I was too busy eyeing the pancake griddle on the counter with globs of batter on the non-griddle parts…and more globs of batter on the counter…and a batter-y bowl and wire whisk and spatula and measuring cups piled in the sink. I took a deep breath.

“We made blueberry pancakes.” Kelli impaled a whole pancake with her fork and displayed it along with a sunny grin. “Want some?”

“I hope you’re going to clean up the mess.”

The words barely passed my lips before Kelli’s face melted. (I hate when that happens.) It’s not a pout or defiance or drama. It’s genuine hurt that swallows up her expression. I retraced the words that had triggered her response and wondered what I said that was that hurtful. She didn’t make me wonder long.

“Really, Mom?” She pointed to her plateful of breakfast. “I just finished the pancakes. I’ll clean up the mess when I’m done eating…just like I cleaned the kitchen this morning and unloaded the dishwasher, and yesterday I steam-mopped the floor…but you didn’t notice that, did you?”

(I hate when that happens, too.)

I looked around, and sure enough, the only reason there was room on the counter for the pancake griddle was because Kelli had cleared off the glasses and snack plates from the evening before. The sink could hold her pancake-making supplies because she had unloaded the dishwasher and filled it with a new load. And yep, no chip crumbs or salsa splotches dotted the kitchen floor.

I was such a buzzard! Not literally…but yes, literally. A buzzard. At least that’s what Bryan, my pastor, would call me. And I deserve it. (Girlfriend, do I hate that!)

Because as Bryan explains, a buzzard feeds off roadkill, dead carcasses, rotting remains. And you know what? Buzzards never go hungry. They always find something to feed on. When I saw the messy pancake griddle, I saw only the negative…because that’s all I looked for.

If I had seen the positive…the cleared kitchen counter, the less-full sink, the clean floor…I wouldn’t have been a buzzard. Bryan would have called me a hummingbird. Because hummingbirds feed on sweet nectar and beauty. Guess what? Hummingbirds never go hungry either.

That doesn’t mean the pancake mess would have become invisible, but it certainly wouldn’t have been more important than Kelli’s efforts to help her mom or to make breakfast for her family–which were invisible to me in the moment. (And I really hate that!)

But sometimes it’s so much easier for us moms to see the messes and not the blesses, isn’t it? Because whether the messes are massive or minute, it feels like they’re nonstop. So we get tired or frustrated or angry, and our perspective shifts to the negative and that’s all we can see and it feeds our buzzardness.

So we might miss the positive that is all around us, begging us to notice the beauty, trying to nourish our mom hearts…and the hearts of our children through us.

Now, maybe sometimes momhood requires a little bit of buzzard. I mean, it’s hard to have a hummingbird tone when we have to discipline, right? (But we don’t have to use buzzard words.) And I fail to see the beauty and sweetness in reminding a kid to clean her cat’s litter box for the gazillionth-umpteenth-thousandth time. (Even a real buzzard would hate that!)

But most of the time, being a hummingbird or a buzzard is a choice–not a reaction–a choice we could be more intentional about. Because whatever we search for, we’ll find–and we want our children to feel us seeking the beauty in them, not feel like we are circling overhead. And our husbands, too. And our friends. And well…pretty much every relationship we have, right?

So, Moms, what do we say? Sweet nectar and beauty? Because rotting, dead carcass, road-kill remains–who doesn’t hate that?

How easy it is to see the positive over the negative? Are you more of a hummingbird mom or a buzzard mom? (I think I may be a hummingbird that circles overhead sometimes!)

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Blessings!

11 Comments

  1. Sandy Slusher says:

    Wow! So,so true! Guilty! Sometime you got to stop and take a second look and be careful how you respond. God’s word says,The tongue has the power of life and death…. Proverbs 18:21. We all need to learn to speak life and be gentle like a hummingbird. Thank you for reminding us.

  2. Sally Poyzer says:

    Yes! So true Karen! God help me…:-)

  3. Sharon Bickel says:

    Thank you for your honesty and perspective! I’m far too often a buzzard in my own home!! May God refine me day by day into more of a hummingbird!!

  4. Gail says:

    Yes! I now have a visual! And I don’t like what I’m seeing. Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  5. Sandy says:

    Good words…..from both you and Bryan!!! I’m super guilty of seeing more fault than beauty some times…..many times. Thanks for a beautiful message that hits close to home!

  6. Marna says:

    Are you sure you weren’t peeking in our windows when you got the idea for this post? Guilty as charged! Maybe the thought of being a buzzard or a hummingbird will be what I need to fix my deficinies. Beautifully written. Thanks Karen!

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