It was the worst day on record for me. At least in the record of the past 7 days.
My eyes were puffy from having lost it a little. My bed covers may even have been rumpled from having crawled into them to hide from the world. Mostly from my kids.
Because they were just awful. I mean really, really terrible. The five year olds, who are every bit as mischievous as they are cute, had undone me. Dare I even tell you? One of them pulled off his pajamas and peed on his bed. Not by mistake or because he couldn’t make it to the bathroom just outside his door. But because his twin brother had told him to.
And then he lied about it. Insult to injury, I was undone. Who pees on their bed?
But things were just getting rolling.
There was also the two year old who had made a habit out of crying during the month of October. Oh, and also of boycotting sleep. I’m not even kidding. Forget about naptime; this child had been waking up multiple times even at night. And on this day of the peed on bed, he was once again crying. Clinging to my leg to “hold you, mama” and then immediately squirming to get down. And now that November had rolled around it was clear that 30 days really does make a habit.
Throw a few teenagers into the picture who are obsessed (hear me clearly now: by obsessed I do mean obsessed) with basketball and who forget that I’ve told them 678 MILLION times not to dribble the ball in the kitchen. Call me picky but I don’t love it when the plates rattle and the cups threaten to shake off the shelf. Nor do I love the horrific thrum in my ears their beloved ball creates when they “forget”.
Speaking of the kitchen and dishes and all things chores, maybe somebody could explain to me why after 19 years of parenting I still haven’t managed to convince my kids that wiping ALL the counters (we only have two, mind you) and rinsing the sink are indeed part of kitchen duty. Because I sure can’t figure out how to make it sink in.
But also, there was the matter of school work falling behind and my daughters who were squabbling over which air was whose to breathe.
You see why I was undone? And why my eyes were puffy and my bed rumpled? Do you see?
Because this was not how I was raising my kids. These were the kids I gather every morning and every evening to worship with. The ones I crawl out of bed hours before I’d otherwise need to in order to have time to pray over them individually. The very same kids I’d lay down my life for in an instant and never be sorry.
But at that moment, on that day, I was very sorry. Sorry that nobody appreciated the work I was doing, the training I had done, the instructions I’d given or the fact that if it weren’t for them I’d be off in the big city somewhere making my fortune and being perfectly…miserable.
Or I’d at least have five minutes of alone time with my husband more than once a month.
However, because God is awesome, He looked down and saw me in the midst of my pity party and used one of the very people who were driving me to insanity to pull me back to reality. Because my very tall, first-born son walked into the room, said “Hey Moms” and wrapped me in a giant hug. And then he disappeared back into the abyss of his room.
I was left limp and bereft of all fight. The picture of who these amazing kids really were came flooding before me and I saw what I hadn’t seen.
That our lives are so closely connected, so intertwined and co-mingled, that my view of them loses clarity. My perspective grows jaded as I see all the work before me and suddenly they become the enemy rather the pieces of my heart residing in the various rooms of my house.
I forget that home is where they’re supposed to get it wrong. Mess it up. And learn to get it right.
And there’s an awful lot right happening here. Like how the oldest boys spend entire trips back and forth to haul wood with their little brothers in the cab of the truck while they attempt to teach them to count. And how they use their own money and make special trips to the store to buy treats just because. Or how the girls think continuously of ways to brighten people’s days or sneak off and do the chores of a brother they know is especially busy. Or how most of the time the five year olds don’t pee on the bed. In fact, in their great mercy they’ve only done it this once. And how the two year old squeals at all the babies, “Ohhhhh, he’s so cuuute. I waaaant him!” in his squeakiest, little man voice.
It’s just that life is so busy and it moves so fast and so much rests on our shoulders that it’s hard to keep up. And then, in trying to keep up we lose our focus and start seeing all the bad stuff instead of the good that’s going on. But when that happens it’s time to pause.
It’s time to remind ourselves, allow ourselves, train ourselves to see the beautiful, good people who stand before us and to thank them for letting God use them. Because He is. He really, really is.
He’s using us to raise them at the exact same time as He uses them to raise us.
So here’s to all the bed pee-ers and basketball dribblers and counter-wiping shirkers. Because what they really are would better be called world changers.
They’re just changing it one mom’s nerves at a time.
Stay the course, brave moms, stay the course. His light will keep it lit.