My parish has some of the sweetest older ladies in the world. Rarely does a Sunday mass go by without one or two of them walking up to Michael and me to tell us what a beautiful family we have, what a great job we’re doing (no matter how awful the kids behaved in mass), and that we will one day miss these golden years we’re in.
I know I’ll miss these days, one day. I probably need to hear that as often as I do. 🙂
“It will be gone before you know it. The fingerprints on the wall will get higher and higher. Then suddenly they disappear.” -Dorothy Evslin.
Yes ma’am. My hands are full. My life is full. And most of the time, if I’m cooperating with grace, my heart is full. Of babies and homeschooling and housework and feeding people and clinging to my faith and being with my kids all day, every day.
My life can feel slow sometimes, though, if only because many of my days have the same hefty stack of domestic to-do’s as the day before. And also, I suppose, because I’m not as connected to what’s outside of my home as I used to be. I’m not on Facebook much anymore. Or any other social media. I rarely have time or energy to blog (thank you for the Mother’s Day gift of an afternoon away, Michael!:). My podcast is so far down the list now that I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it.
The oldest two finally started swimming this spring (after hundreds of dollars of swim lessons over the past few years, might I add). Nobody drinks out of sippy cups anymore. Three out of four can buckle themselves in the van. The oldest two can read. The baby sleeps through the night. The older kids help fold and put away laundry, take care of the dog, take their own showers, and can (sort of) clean the kitchen.
I am not on top of everything, all the time. Not nearly. I started buying (and regularly using) big stacks of paper plates from Costco. In a fit of “simplifying,” I hid all but three kids’ drinking cups and three kids’ plates to cut down on dishes. I have dozens of blog post ideas and prayers and the titles of books I want to read in little notebooks in my diaper bag, my purse, my bedside table. I clean bathrooms and change sheets and mop floors and dust (like never) either when I have to or when I identify a stars-have-aligned combination of personal energy and extra time. If my one-afternoon-a-week mother’s helper ever quits, I will cry like a baby. I eat every meal of the day feeding the baby a spoonful of Gerber in between my own bites. Walmart grocery pickup has changed my life for the better. I usually use every inch of page space each week in my awesome pen-and-paper planner. I do laundry and meal plan and put together our summer schedule and pay bills and educate the kids and survive the stomach bug and feed the dog and drive us all over town and sleep as much as I can. I usually get a nap in every day. My 31st birthday and my ninth anniversary are coming up in a few months.
And I’m growing a new little soul, due just before Thanksgiving.
Life is fast and slow and golden these days. But still, every once in a while, I want to run far, far away and escape for a few days to a quiet beach with room service from La Madeleine, a Dr. Pepper, and a stack of novels. (I certainly had more of those every-once-in-a-while moments during the weeks I was sick as a dog with morning sickness for the new baby…)
I am anchored, though, in the best sense of the word. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s strong. Our friends are amazing, and many. My kids are happy. My parents and family are wonderful. My faith is my rock.
I realize how much I’ve grown up these past nine years. My marriage is light years ahead of what it was just four years ago. Michael and I directed our first Domestic Church marriage retreat. Moms with younger kids oCften ask me in the middle of Costco, at the gym, at dance, at the park, “How do you do it?!” I want to tell them all about how I lost my cool thirty minutes ago with the four-year-old, but I keep finding myself just saying that I realized a while back that motherhood was going to either make me crazy or make me a saint. So I just try to go for saint. (I love St. Josemaria’s quote that we should thank God for those who make us want to pull our hair out!)
“Going for saint” is not perfectionism. That’s the life of our Christian faith, ya’ll. For love of God and others to work to “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The kicker is to know we won’t ever be perfect, but that we should always be teachable.:)
Boy do marriage and parenthood give me plenty of opportunities to be taught a lesson or two. I could write and write and write about the lessons in parenting, especially, that God let my four children teach me over the course of this spring.
Well, I’m off to make a note in my planner to Google how to get Costco rat trap glue off my son’s new Crocs and how to get residual vomit smell out of the newly-named “stinky feet corner” of our big leather sectional. Cuz that kind of stuff happens when you have four kids under eight.:)
“There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson