A Year of Habits, no. 46

It’s been an interesting week, full of activity.  This was a week for immunizations, appointments, trips to the post office.  Lots of little things that are necessary but which can also be frustrating.  I also taught a friend how to bake bread, put together a bulk food order and took care of the purchasing, packing and delivery of the food.  We threw a birthday in the mix as well, along with birthday shopping.

Yesterday while my husband and son were in the mountains for the opening day of snowboarding I took seven children to the mall so two of my daughters could spend their birthday money on a pair of Toms and have them custom painted at a Nordstrom’s event.  And for the record, I don’t especially recommend taking seven young children to the mall, especially when you need to hang out in one spot while people paint shoes.  I have no idea how many times my little ones went up and down the escalators, but it was a lot.  We finished off with a trip to Krispy Kreme with report cards in hand for free donuts.  It was a fun outing, but it was also exhausting.  I find that being in crowded places while keeping track of my children is overstimulating for me and I always come home drained.

Sometimes I wonder how Saturdays are supposed to work.  You’re supposed to use them to take care of all the work that doesn’t get done during the week plus any family work projects, run errands, do something fun, provide opportunities for your kids, participate in sporting activities.  Because I believe in the law of the Sabbath, Saturday also needs to be used to prepare for Sunday which also means preparing for Monday.  We do homework, make sure clothes are taken care of for the next week, and make sure lunches will be ready as well.  So why is it, when I need to do three days worth of work on Saturday, that I expect it to be an easier day?

I find that weeks like this, when every day holds unusual activities, take a real toll on how our family functions because it profoundly affects my productivity.  There is less time for cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  The house gets cluttered which also means people start losing things.  I have multiple time-sensitive things I’d love to blog about but no time to even log in.  Although I know they are necessary sometimes, I really dislike weeks that throw us off.

Coinciding with the busy schedule came an unexpected factor:  my heart.  For some reason I wasn’t entirely myself this week.  I’ve had this trembling inside, this feeling of worry gnawing at me regarding my real work as a mother.  I could tell myself that I’m doing great because I took care of the shots, the birthday shopping, the errands and so forth, but instead I’ve been filled with an awareness of the enormity of what I really need to accomplish as a mother, and it has me shaking in my shoes.   It’s more than feeding them every day, clothing them, keeping track of homework and doctors appointments and playdates (although to a degree those things alone make me shake sometimes).  It’s about what they’re becoming, about spending enough time connecting with them to really know what’s going on inside, about purposefully planning so that they will grow emotionally and spiritually in healthy ways.  It’s about finding enough time to talk about the things that matter, time to teach them, time, time, time.  And so often life gets in the way of life.  The homework, important as it is, sometimes prevents us from doing what really matters, and sometimes it makes me tremble inside.  Such was my week.  I cannot count the times I blinked back the tears stinging at my eyes and thought of the words, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.  Not as the world giveth, give I unto.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  I will do my best, but sometimes it makes me weep to realize how far from good enough my best really is.

What I really need is a couple of days of quiet to read, plan, pray, regroup.  I keep thinking that if I could do this I would feel more centered and better able to face each day, but every time I sit down in a quiet room someone follows me in with a need or a problem and I have to make do with about 45 seconds of quiet instead.  I can get by on that sometimes, but this week it felt entirely insufficient.  (Once again, back to my daydream:  one week alone in my house.)

I missed the sun this week.  Several times around 11:00 a.m. I asked myself, “What is wrong with me?  Why do I feel like this?” and then realized it still seemed like 4 a.m. in the house because it was so gray outside.  I’m praying we get some sun this winter because I really don’t know how to prepare myself for 5 months of gray.

I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m complaining.  I’m not.  It’s my life and I chose this.  It simply turned out that my schedule and my heart had some badly timed irregularities this week which made things complicated.  I can say this:  prayer helps, and things always work out.

So in the habits department I guess I feel like I’m holding a lot of loose ends that need attention.  I need to whip the house into shape,  get back on top of everyone’s grades and assignments, plan Thanksgiving, wrap up projects and clean my studio.  Mostly, though, I need to pause.  I need to find a way to slow down, pause, and get my heart right.  And finish reading all the assigned take home books with all the children earlier so we have time to cuddle on the couch with some real literature.  That kind of thing.  It will be wonderful to have them all home for a few days over Thanksgiving.  Perhaps I’ll be able to pull it together this week.

I am grateful for what I’m learning.  I am grateful to have been trusted with such a great work.  I am grateful for my life, for my children, for my challenges and even for my personal weaknesses which are humbling me so deeply and opening my eyes to all I need to learn.  And I’m grateful for a husband who’s in the ring with me.  I couldn’t do it without him.

Life is good.  Happy Thanksgiving week, everyone.

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