Simple. Quality. no. 19 {Mother’s Day Edition}

simplequality

Wow!  I’ve been a slacker again this week, although in real life I’m running all day and falling into bed happy but exhausted at night.  I have things to share here but have been out of the groove and so busy that I’m not making time for it.  It needs to change.

Because it’s already late and because I haven’t had enough sleep for days,  I’m going to change the format of this post.  Plus, it’s Mother’s day, so I can write what I want, right?

On this Mother’s day, I’m grateful for several things:

I’m grateful that Mother’s day really has nothing to do with motherhood.  I’m so glad that how today did or didn’t turn out has no bearing on what kind of mother I am or am yet to become.  I often feel like I make some of my dumbest mistakes in the week or two preceding this holiday, and it is comforting to remember that Mother’s day isn’t a celebration of perfect mothers; it’s a day to appreciate the countless women who love and nurture, sacrifice and serve.  We can do this for our own children as well as for other children.  It’s a statement of our nature, not a head count of our children.  Along these same lines, we had an interesting few hours around here tonight when a few of the children decided they’d rather go to bed than help their Dad make dinner.  They were having a bad day, and it didn’t really matter what day it was.  I reminded myself that it had nothing to do with how they feel about me or how I feel about them.  Mother’s day is a wonderful day, and I had a great one this year, but it is still just a day.  In the end, it’s not about one perfect day but about trying every day and tonight I’m immensely happy in that knowledge.

I’m grateful tonight that I can see.  I had an interesting experience early in the week when my youngest daughter, in her sleep, suddenly thrust her arm into the air and her thumbnail jabbed my eyeball.  I spent most of the week with one bloody eye, but my vision has been unimpaired as both the pain and the ugly eye has begun to heal.  Not only did it make me more grateful for physical eyes that work (with lots of help from my contact lenses) but it also made me grateful for all the tender mercies, eternal truths and answered prayers that help me “see” even when things happen to pull us off course.

I’m grateful for tomorrow, and even for a few hours from now.  The weekend brought some emotional highs and lows that kind of got to me.  It was good to remember that things get better as we keep working.  In the end, it all turned out just right.

I’m grateful for my sweet husband who put so much time and effort into life around our house this weekend.  We got the garage cleaned out, a bike rack installed for all the bikes, lots of stuff hauled away, etc.  He fixed every flat tire, hung hooks on the wall for backpacks, and was pretty much amazing.   I feel so happy about what we accomplished!

I’m grateful I can still learn.  As I’ve reviewed my performance as a mother, I am so thankful that I can keep learning.  I can get better at handling this or that problem with this or that child.  I can learn how to show love to so-and-so.  I can get better at this.  It’s what feeds my hope.

I’m grateful for our very imperfect life and family.  The holes in the knees, the hair that needs cutting, the crying child, the sometimes messy car.   I know some families that look perfect, and our family is by no means one of them.  I have good friends who are totally real and whose families seem perfect because they are good.  I know they’re not perfect but they are incredibly inspiring because the substance of what they’re doing is true to principle.  They make good look cool.   I also have other friends who seem to have both worlds conquered:  good AND cool.  They appear to have it all as well as being it all, and yet… it can never really be the case.  One of those families who seemed to have it made has fallen apart recently and I find myself reflecting on all the mess that must have been lurking beneath the “perfect” exterior and somehow it’s made me grateful for the construction site that is my life and home.    I want a family who chooses good over cool.

Today I learned:

I was happiest when I was busy wishing other women a Happy Mother’s Day.  I texted some friends and family members, sent emails, left a few gifts on doorsteps and yesterday made a special visit.  When I made Mother’s day a time to express appreciation for women I know who are my friends, examples and heroes, my heart sang with joy.

I love being up early… alone.  I had a lesson to finish planning, so I got up early this morning to finish and the peacefulness of a quiet house in the early morning hours is one of my favorite things.  The lesson?  It went SO much better than I hoped.  When I was done I was on cloud nine.  I felt best about myself when I did something worthwhile.

This week:

I continued to work at going through the house in anticipation of everyone being home for the summer.  In one bedroom we went through the dresser, closet and every inch of the room, removing things, cleaning out every little spot.  I love how it looks now, and I love having a blank slate for the children to start from.  Yay!  I have one more bedroom and a few closets to go in the next couple of weeks..

I tried to focus on what was going RIGHT.  So many little things seemed to pile up, but when I thought about all the things that are going right in our home, in each child’s life, it was easy to keep things in perspective and try to respond with kindness and love.  In choosing this paradigm, I was able to SEE.    I watched my ten year old daughter single-handedly prepare her favorite meal – my black bean tart – for 13 people.  She made three of them!  That same daughter also played a brilliant soccer game last night that I hope I won’t soon forget.  She was amazing and I loved every minute of it.  I watched my oldest daughter sing in her choir concert and could hardly believe how grown up she is.  I watched my oldest son learn something new.  So many things went right!

I gave a late birthday gift that turned out to be just right, in spite of my tardy delivery.  I had some much-enjoyed conversations with friends this week, some planned and some a chance meeting as we were here and there supporting our children.  I also ran into my favorite childhood babysitter, and the funny thing was that I recognized her voice while my back was to her.  We had a great talk and it was so fun to catch up and share funny memories of her watching me and my 7 brothers and sisters.  I am so blessed!

I am trying desperately to plan ahead so I can keep things moving properly.  There is more to do than I feel I can manage, but that doesn’t change the fact that it must be done, and now.    I’ve got some parties to pull together, projects to finish, deadlines to meet.  Crazy as it is, I do feel like we’re holding up better than we have in the past few years.

I am WAY too low on sleep.  Early mornings, late nights of homework and everything in the middle are wearing us thin.  I have to hang in a little longer.

And with that, I’m going to bed!  Have a great week.

Jennifer

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