Sunday, July 8, 2012
Eyes to See
My heart was pounding hard as we pulled out of the drive way. My frustrations were just under the surface and I knew if we didn't do something, I was going to lose it. It has been a long week. (Back from vacation never sits well with us) The house is FULL of cousins, which is so fun for the kids but it can just get down right overwhelming, day in and day out, for the grown-ups.
I had gathered my 5 and sent them to the car, we were getting out so help me! Just then one of my boys snatched something clean out of the hand of a sibling, sending a shrill of screams into my ear. I grabbed his wrist and snapped a quick reprimand, forcing him to return the item-all with out the slightest bit of patience or teaching or love. Nope, none.
He turned forward and sulked in the seat next to me. I was seething. Exhausted from nights full of ear infections and fevers. Worn out from a constant flow of feeding, cleaning, soothing and refereeing.
I could tell I had broken his heart. I could see a warm puddle of tears starting to build in his eyes.
I wanted to cry right along with him, and explain myself.
"Don't you know that even when I am less than good, I still love you more than life? Cant you see that...feel that, in everything I do? Cant you take my imperfections, mistakes and weaknesses and just forgive me? Don't I deserve that? I wash all your clothes, cook all your food, help you with your homework, take you on vacation, pray for you day and night? Cant you see?"
But I know, as far as kids go, explanations rarely mean much, its what you DO that they believe. So I reached over and squeezed his hand, said I was sorry and asked him if we could work on this together.
"I need to do better and you need to do better, can we work on this together?"
All was forgiven even though the car ride remained full of teasing and noise and frustration. And even though I still felt on the brink of dropping a few of them off at the nearest CPS office. Instead I took deep breaths and promised myself that I would live through the next few hours of parenting.
I am a HUGE believer in the magic of ordinary. I know that being blessed with 5 little people to love, is DIVINE. I know that there is MAJESTY in changing diapers, fixing meals, cleaning up messes and folding the laundry. I know that calming the days 15th tantrum, or coaxing chores out of pre-teens, or staying up nights with fevers is a GIFT. I know that rocking babies, wiping noses, and driving kids around town is a PRIVILEGE. I know that this is my life's work and I will embrace it and defend it with every thing I have.
But sometimes I just stink at it.
My human limitations and shortcomings stall me and I make mistakes. Then I feel awful and convince myself that I am ruining my kids.
When we pulled in at Grandma's house I could tell that no one was home. An empty house, that we can crash at for a few hours is like manna these days. We unloaded and me and the little girls went straight for the play room. I collapsed on the floor, closed my eyes and used a stuffed animal for a pillow. Almost instantly Ella was lost in play and Cali was using me as a jungle gym. I could feel the smooth skin on her legs rub against my arm as she climbed up my side. Every few minutes she would put her face up close to mine and giggle. The big kids scattered and for the first time all week I felt a release. I dripped tears into the thick carpet.
There is a trick to overcoming the "hard" of Motherhood. I know it well and practice it often but this last week it slipped away from me and got lost under the fits and the messes and demands. I was like the "rebellious house" in Ezekiel,
"which have eyes to see, and see not; and have ears to hear, and hear not."
I missed the things that usually fuel me, blind to the golden pieces of ordinary life that usually add up to happiness for me.
The little things like the sound of happy kids playing in the hose, or the way that Cali's long eyelashes lay on her cheeks when she sleeps, or how Ella likes to tell me her dreams every morning starting with, "I had good dreams", or "I had mean dreams." The way Kaden kisses me, randomly throughout the day, the feel of Brylee hanging onto my waist before she goes to bed at night and how Branson's eyes squeeze shut when he laughs.
It is so easy to slip into missing these things and then... motherhood turns into exactly what the world says it is. Mundane, pointless, thankless and forgotten.
The world is wrong.
So tonight when Cali toddled in and out of the plastic car, landing on her head, navigating the window feet first, getting twisted up and starting again, I sat and watched her, laughed at her perseverance and let the warmth of an ordinary, simple, perfect moment...give me eyes to see, and ears to hear.