Just Because We Do It…

Life gets crazy sometimes. Some things we can control; other things we cannot. Like, I couldn’t control my little guy waking up early last Saturday morning. He came in my room, full of morning exuberance as I groggily rolled over to check the time on my phone. The glaring white numbers read 5:47.

5:47 a.m.


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On a Saturday.

WHY?

Well, with a packed schedule for the day, I knew that going back to sleep wasn’t an option. (Now, I’m a believer in early morning productivity…just not that early…on a Saturday.) We cuddled in the warmth of the covers and discussed dreams and the lack of school for the day. Eventually, I rolled out of bed to get dressed.

And, I happened to wear heels–these great heels from my friend–with my brown pants and pink tshirt/sweater combo. I was happy with the outfit as a whole and was prepared for a busy day.

(Did I mention I was wearing these great heels?)

So, we were off to two appointments that went well, then to an activity involving doughnuts at church (how could you go wrong with doughnuts?), and out to visit some neighbors. Of course, we also had to drop kiddos off at parties, hit the library and a couple of other errands, and pick up some milk. (Yes, we were on our last gallon…how did that happen?)

As my handsome husband pulled into a parking space at the local grocery store, my feet were throbbing. Screaming. Aching.

UGH.

I asked him if I could just sit in the car. He asked me why I would choose the shoes I wore that day. I told him the reasons (they go with my outfit, I was trying to look professional, I didn’t think I’d be on my feet so much, etc.). I got out of the car and started walking in to the store. He said, “I think you just don’t like going to the grocery store.”

I thought about his statement. (Can I call it an accusation?) I didn’t want to go to the store in that moment. He was accurate about that. But, on “normal” days–whatever those are–do I really hate going to the grocery store?

I followed that train of thought through shopping. Do I hate to shop? No. What about cooking? Do I hate to cook? No. I actually enjoy cooking. Do I hate walking around the store and greeting fellow shoppers? Nope. I like to chat through the store. Hmmmmmm…. What is it, then?

Actually, I hate planning meals. If someone would provide a menu that worked for my schedule each week, then I would happily follow it, buy ingredients, and cook. I do my best with planning, but I don’t enjoy it. I don’t even like it. In fact, I kind of hate it. But I do it anyway.

As part of our conversation, I had this thought: just because we do it doesn’t mean we like it.

Do you like having little people wake up at 5:47 (A.M.!) on a Saturday? Do you like having to form cognitive thoughts that early? Most days I don’t. But I do it. I do it because that’s what I signed up to do when I decided to have children–whether I knew it then or not.

Why?

The bottom line for me is love. I do what I do because I love my family and I want them to feel loved.

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Last night, we had a beautiful meal together. My oldest and I spent the morning in the kitchen preparing a crock pot with roast, potatoes, and carrots (which I picked up, incidentally, at the grocery store on Saturday). We also made a baked dish of macaroni and cheese along with rice. After church, we made gravy from the drippings in the crock pot and also threw together some delicious rolls. We had family dinner together which filled our tummies and our spirits. My kiddos even went back for seconds (which is rare), and the evening which followed went smoothly because our hearts were happy.


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As I put myself out there by planning and preparing a meal that I didn’t really want to plan (I would’ve been okay with having something like frozen pizza), I was blessed with a wonderful evening…and part of me began to like the planning aspect of cooking. (Shhhh…don’t tell anyone!)

What do you do that you don’t like to do? What would have to change for you to like it more?

A Poem: “Slumbering”

Lying awake in the contrast of warm covers combatting cool air
Listening to the rustle of
Sleep and the uneasy breathing of
Children

Wondering how they slumber without watch care, and yet
Wake each morning, perfectly embracing their imperfections

Arresting the Dawn.

(imperfectly perfect)

They were born to build kingdoms, to slay dragons, to learn love.

And we each have our own miles to go today before sleep comes again
With all the worry and wonderment of dreams

Maybe the
Angels really do
Watch over their
Slumbering?

Always Teaching

Whether actively or passively, we are always teaching: teaching others about ourselves, teaching others how to treat us, teaching others about our ideals, teaching principles to govern life, teaching faith or the lack thereof…simply teaching.

Maybe you have not considered this possibility. I really didn’t until I had several of my own children in my home and I watched the way younger children would mimic behavior of an older child. At that time, I coined this phrase in our home: “You are always teaching.” I have tried to help our children learn that they are always teaching others in every interaction (or even in the lack thereof) each day.

I teach them, too. Though I am not part of the homeschooling community, I do agree that what children learn at home–the most basic of lessons–helps to shape and mold their lives in myriad ways. My parents were teaching us Robert Fulgum’s Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten lessons before we ever set foot in a formal school, and I have tried to do the same for our children.

I find that sometimes the most passive teaching can be the most effective–words passed through daily chores together such as clearing a table after breakfast or cooking dinner together. I find conversations come up in queries regarding song lyrics or film topics, school happenings or world events.

We take time to formally teach, too, through a time set aside on Monday nights for a specific family evening of lessons and music and activities and a treat. We have a goal to create moments of discussion with our children, individually, regarding each one’s concerns and triumphs.

We are always teaching!

Back to Reality?

Over the weekend, this revelation occurred to me.

Could SoulIISoul have had any idea how prophetic their words would be to me…how many years later?

Yesterday, I posted on the need to get back to my kiddos and to life and to something beyond a screen–something with a face that I can touch and hold and something that can whisper in my ear…and not a something, either–a someone. In fact, I live with seven someones who are of utmost importance to me.

Unfortunately, my feelings aren’t often followed by action.

But, I’m working on getting back to life…back to reality.

How about you? Where do you live?

I Got Caught!

I didn’t mean anything by it, really. So what if we were all in the kitchen together? So what if it was one of the few moments we would spend together in a twenty-four-hour period? It was just a swipe and a few quick touches on my phone. I just wanted to check email. No big deal.

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Well, after those few seconds of swiping and pressing my finger to the little glass screen, I looked forward–straight into the eyes of my littlest guy. The look in his eyes took me aback, like he was wondering if I could ever look at him with the anticipation that I look at my phone.

He didn’t have to say a word.

I learned my lesson.

His eyes will forever be burned in the recesses of my mind when I think of putting phone over family, of putting Facebook over friendships, of putting twitter over togetherness. Life is too short, and one of my goals this year is to practice living in, soaking in, and relishing each moment–for every second on this earth is a blessing…and I’m ready to start counting mine!

Hi, Diddley-dee, a Mother’s Life for Me!

It’s great to be a celebrity…a mother’s life for me!

Well, I’m not actually a celebrity.  But I am a mother.  And, some days, I do work a few miracles, touch a few hearts, dry a few tears, cook a few meals, and hug a few little people.

I may be speaking a little in jest, but I do hold the work that I do as a mother as one of the most noble, honorable works I do during life.

Sure, it’s hard.  It’s absolutely exhausting.  But it’s worth every moment of every day to be here for the smiles and laughter, the moments of love and the moments of peace.

I Thought I Was Different

I recall bygone days filled with moments of his pleading for me to come eat lunch with him. I remember tying his little shoes in double knots because he didn’t know how to tie them if they came untied at school. I can still see him standing on a chair by the counter as we creamed butter, measured and poured in brown and white sugars, counted the eggs, and mixed in flour, baking soda, and salt. He always wanted to pour in the vanilla. I always placed a few extra chocolate chips on to the counter, just for him.

Now he can make cookies by himself…and tie his shoes that aren’t so little anymore.

He doesn’t ask me to meet him for lunch at school.

I thought I was different.

I knew other mothers around me who often shared this tell-tale caution openly: “They grow up too fast. Treasure every moment. Some day he won’t want you around as much.”

As he prepared last weekend to attend a dance with friends, I wanted to go so badly. I wanted to watch him experience the thrill of the dance floor, the upbeat music, the connection with friends. I wanted nothing more than for him to create amazing memories that would carry him through his youth and into adulthood.

He picked out his clothing and worked on styling his hair. When his ride arrived, I knew that moment so many mothers had cautioned me about was really here.

And, I wasn’t different after all.

But I have worked for over a decade to prepare him for these moments, and knowing he is learning each day to become a man helps to ease the separation.

I do hope that someday, maybe ten years from now, he will invite me to lunch again. I will sit across the table from him, and he will be grown and living on his own. I will tell him I am proud of the decisions he has made. But I will still hear echoes of that little kindergartener, so many years ago. I may shed a tear or two, as I am now.

But I will also smile in the happiness that we are not so different after all.


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