A Year of Habits, no. 15

How can it be that we’re fifteen weeks into 2011?  For some reason that number seems large today.

It’s Sunday evening.  Most of my children sit nearby, absorbed in books of their choice.  My husband naps on the couch as I relish the sound of birds singing outside our open windows.  Could it be that spring, at last, is here?

My tulips are beginning to bloom.  At first I was disappointed that they didn’t all burst into color at once for a big display of color.  Instead they’re opening first in the back while the flower beds in front hold back.  Now I’m grateful for the staggered growth; the beauty will last longer.  It’s funny how we want so many things to be a certain way, only to discover that the way it all works out instead is best.

We’ve had a wonderful week.  No bells or whistles or fancy trips.  We’ve had a week of good, old fashioned childhood: a week of forts built in remote corners of our property, running through sprinklers, naps on the lawn, playing with brothers and sisters and neighbors.  It’s been a week of prayer, fresh worries and lots of love felt in behalf of my 90 year old Grandpa who had a severe stroke at the beginning of the week.  It’s been a week of peanut butter sandwiches and sliced apples, muddy shoes, lazy mornings, swing sets squeaking, laughter and imagination.  Even I sat outside yesterday in the warm sun while the children played and simply read a book.  (This is a partial answer to my question, that yes, some things get easier when your baby is old enough to play without putting everything in her mouth.)  I know my older ones may be disappointed when they go back to school tomorrow and hear reports of cruises and trips to Disneyland, but I’m confident we got what we needed.  Once again, our daily bread.

Perhaps the only real habit I’m developing so far this year is an improvement in recognizing the Lord’s hand in our lives, in seeing Him give us what we NEED regardless of anything we might not have.   I sincerely worked at changing gears this week, trying to shelve the things I’m worried about and live in the moment.  I had a few lapses but made inroads as well.

I admit this is a Sunday evening I didn’t want to come.  School resumes tomorrow and we’re back in the thick of things for seven more weeks.  It sounds so long but I know it will be a whirlwind of activity and suddenly we’ll drop into summer with a sigh of relief.

I remember nights like tonight.  As a child I remember the anxiety that gripped my heart the night before school started.  I felt it every Sunday night, the worry of performing well enough, wondering if I could do it.  It was magnified exponentially on the last night of any sort of break.  You’d think I would have grown out of it by now, but I haven’t.  I loved school as a girl, and would happily go back now for another degree if that was the plan for my life.  Yet here I sit, gripped by the same anxiety, and I’m not one of the people who will shoulder a backpack in the morning and march back to the classroom.  I’m the mom, and I find myself asking the same question I asked years ago:  Will I be good enough?

The thing I know now, much better than I knew as a child, is that I’m not good enough.   It gives me a stomach ache just to look at all the soccer schedules, list the piano and violin pieces that need to be memorized ASAP, consider the homework we need to fit in, and wonder how to make dinner and clean the bathrooms all the while.  But I also know this:  Motherhood matters.  I’m not doing this alone.  I have prayer, and if I’m humble enough things usually work out.  I have to remind myself a lot, but it’s still true.  I’m not good enough, but Jesus Christ is.  So I’ll do my best and look forward to summer.

So I take a deep breath, look around and marvel at the beauty of my family on this perfect Sabbath day, and look ahead to the week.  My notebook contains a list of things to do in celebration of Easter, some fun and many reverent.  I hope I can pull it off.  It’s going to be a great week.

Jennifer

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