A Year of Habits, no. 49
This should be a post about all the wonderful things I did this week. It should be about the progress I’ve made, the things I’ve accomplished, the cumulative effect of my efforts throughout the year showing great growth.
I’m sorry to say it isn’t about that. It wasn’t that kind of week.
It was a week of emotional, needy toddlers. (Although I must admit that those whiny little girls also said some really adorable things this week, like this afternoon when #7 was interviewing me with all sorts of random questions and pretending to write down the answers when she suddenly said, “I’m leaving for a minute but no freaking out. Promise? No freaking out ok?” And I wondered why she was worried about ME freaking out when she was the one who’d been doing it all week.) All the time I spent holding my two youngest should have felt precious to me, but it didn’t because I was preoccupied by all the things that weren’t getting done. So by the end of the week I was a big ball of stress. Still am, for the most part. I need to fix that.
Much of Saturday was spent attending the baptism of my niece whose adoption was final just a couple of weeks ago. It was beautiful and I am so impressed with what a fine family they are. It was great to spend some time letting the cousins play with one another. I’m looking forward to more of it during the Christmas break when my in-laws are visiting.
Last night was a mountaintop experience. We took our oldest four children to Temple Square to see the production, “Savior of the World.” I love that play. I’ve seen it many times and each time seems better than the last. I’m usually crying within the first five minutes and I’m pretty much a mess the whole time. It’s terrible, but I love it. Somehow my heart is always so ripe for the messages contained in this play. It fills me with a desire to give up all the things I’m worried about, all the things I’m expecting to have or do and just let the Lord work in my life. It fills me with a desire to be better, to have more faith, to live the life of a disciple of Christ. We spoke with some members of the cast after the production, and as I thanked them for their work I began to cry again. My oldest son just sort of stared at me with an odd look on his face. My heart just kept clenching with the desire to be so much better than I am, and every time it happened it squeezed more tears from my eyes.
Then we woke up this morning to a house that was disorderly after a busy Saturday. Nobody wanted to do what they were supposed to be doing. They didn’t want to get ready for Church, didn’t want to look for their own shoes, didn’t want to… you name it. It was a very short trip from last night’s mountain top experience to today’s valley. I still struggle in that place where my vision and reality meet, especially when that place also involves eight children stubbornly asserting their agency. I need a lot more patience in that place, better perspective and a bigger smile.
We did accomplish a few things. We got a Christmas tree which was exuberantly decorated and which has now been un-decorated multiple times on the bottom third. As I sit here typing I notice it’s now crooked and one of the children has stuck two large flags into the branches for a very interesting look. I remind myself that there will be plenty of years for a beautifully decorated tree; this is the season for wonder. This is the season for finding baby Jesus in random places all over the house. I really don’t want this season to end; I just sometimes feel squeezed by messes, especially with older children who need things to run smoothly so we can be more spontaneous and social. There is a part of me that is silently screaming for calm.
Monday night we took the family shopping for a couple of gifts for a family in need. It was hard for some of them to understand why we weren’t buying anything for ourselves and I hope it made an impression on them. We finished the evening with a drive to an incredibly lit house not too far away.
The children have just five more days of school and then they’re out for the holiday. I’ve been so excited to have them out of school sooner than usual, leaving us a wide open week to fill with holiday activities. I want to decorate cookies, deliver gifts and read LOTS of books. After our bout with the stomach flu at the beginning of the month and the general disarray I’m still fighting, I have about 2 1/2 weeks of work to get done this week. I’ve given up most of the projects I intended to tackle. I’m praying for happy toddlers and lots of energy.
I hope we’re teaching our children good things. I hope they’re becoming better people. Sometimes I think I’m too close to all of it. It’s difficult to see growth when you’re always right there. I suppose the same might be said for myself. I don’t feel like a better person than I was a year ago, and too many of my weaknesses were alive and well then too. I’m fighting a battle of numbers and hope that someday I’ll be equal to it. But we press on and do our best because that’s really all we can do.
I hope your week is bright!