Joy, week 40

If my tendency is to begin these posts with descriptive images about the quiet hum of family life,  then tonight is different.  A wonderful week, an even better weekend, yet the children got louder, busier, more wild as the night progressed until we reached a full-volume cacophony long before bedtime.  Gratefully it was equal parts humor and tears, conversation and craziness, wrestling and watching.  But cacophony is what it is:  a discordant mixture of sounds, jarring to hear, and we had plenty of that going on.  At last they were all in bed and the quiet didn’t descend in a gentle blanket slowly creeping over us; it disappeared as things do when the power goes out:  suddenly, completely.

And so here we are, down to only twelve weeks left in the year.  I recognized in myself this week a stress underlying everything I did, and after some fairly detached self-observation, discovered that it was largely related to nothing more than the change in the calendar.  I was worried because the end of the year is approaching must faster than I’d like.  The sentence “too much is still undone” has been replaying in my mind to the pace of a freight train gaining speed.  I actually reached the point this week when I acknowledged to myself that yes, I do indeed love fall and all the slowing down, sheltering in, cozy living it conjures in our minds and hearts.   But the first thought that followed those lovely images was this:  I don’t deserve it.  Ridiculous, and yet it was my first thought.   I guess in my heart all those lovely fall rituals come when the work is done, and this year I feel like I can’t slow my pace just because the earth grows colder for there is “too much yet undone”.

I suppose some of these feelings come naturally with the week that also brings a descent in temperatures and a clear change in the air.  Regardless of how much I want to hang onto later sunsets and warmer temperatures (please just until soccer/lacrosse seasons end?) the day will come when my leaf, too, will drop and I’ll find myself  snuggled up with a mug of hot chocolate and loving it.  My heart is just behind the timeline a bit.  I’ve no concerns about it catching up.

It was a week of hard work and traditions.  Traditions that ground us as a family, that make my children feel like all is well with the world because mom made the cinnamon rolls she always makes on Sunday morning for General Conference, and so forth.  It makes me happy to do it, knowing they count on it.  Small steps forward here and there, lots of focus on various skills which certain children need help with.  We ate well, played hard, folded laundry, did homework and so forth.  Friday night found me in the freezing wind with jackets too light for the weather, watching our two daughters play soccer at the same time on two fields immediately adjacent to one another.  I had to write that, of course, because it’s the only time it will happen and when there’s also a playground, well, what more can you ask for?  {I almost asked for that cup of hot chocolate on the way home as my toes thawed.}

I visited a friend this week who lives an hour away.  Because she works full-time, I had to go on a day she wasn’t working.  It turned out that her day off fell on the day when it’s hardest for me to lose housekeeping time but I felt like I should go anyway.  I’m not sorry I went; indeed I’m certain it was the right thing to do, but I was right about the house.  I never caught up.   Time with a faraway friend is worth a dirty house any week, though, don’t you think?  Enjoyable conversations with a fellow soccer mom while sitting on the sidelines together were also a bright spot.

The overwhelming feeling of my heart right now is simple and deep.  I want to be better.  Please help me be better.  I will work harder.  I will love more.   This desire to improve, this yearning for more is steady and strong, keeping time with my physical heart.  I am teary-eyed, a little overwhelmed, and yet amazed at the simple but powerful knowledge that I know where to look for the help that I need.  I know why I can hope for such help.  So the please becomes a prayer and a commitment and I close the day with a certain knowledge that I am not alone.  I am a daughter of God.  I am raising his children.  Things will work out.  Life is good.

Happy October!


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