I was feeling pretty bad a couple of days ago, looking around at my messy house, wondering how in the world I am supposed to manage everything. Somewhere between dinner and cake, I actually ended up in a crying heap on my bed on Larkspur’s birthday. I am feeling better now. But, I thought I might take time to write myself out a little pep talk. Maybe next time I find myself in tears because I just can’t seem to cut it, I can revisit these words, and remember to go easy on myself. Obviously none of us can “have it all” nor can we do it all. I want to be able to live my convictions with confidence, not apology. I’m getting there.
A friend who visits us regularly and knows what our everyday life really looks like recently mentioned a conversation he and his wife had about us. They were discussing our lifestyle in general, and the fact that our children “run wild” (translation=they play outdoors a lot and are free to build, create, explore…and they often look disheveled and dirty.) He noted that they are really happy kids, and we are clearly a happy family. Yes, we are.
But sometimes, I find myself falling into a trap. I start focusing on the mess that our lifestyle creates, rather than the joy. Rather than noticing all that we accomplish, I notice all that I fail to do. Quite simply, I forget my priorities.
Our girls drag blankets, pillows, and dolls outside and they don’t always make it back in for a few days. Last week we spread a quilt in the backyard for a picnic, forgot about it, and then it rained for a couple of days. Yesterday I remembered to shake it out, bring it inside, and wash it.
Our boys hunt the woods and old homesites for treasure and bring it all home. In other words, most of their toys don’t come from Toys R Us, they come from ancient trash piles. They combine their “treasure” with bricks, rocks, and wood to make elaborate outdoor kitchens, pretend stores, and houses. Sometimes they use cardboard boxes in the front yard and then it rains and then the cardboard is left in a soggy heap until someone gets around to dragging it to the recycling bin. We live in the country; there’s not a neighborhood association. There’s no one to peek over the fence, so to speak. Recently we were visited by some people wanting to share their faith with us. I answered the door in pajamas covered with bits of fabric and thread. We were getting ready for Larkspur’s birthday and I just couldn’t invite them in. I explained that our day was full, but didn’t make any excuses about the mess. Our front porch was covered in bikes, shoes, and even a dishwasher, as we just replaced ours and the boys want to take apart the old one. Our kids were playing outside, messy haired and muddy. I laughed as the people drove away, wondering what they must be thinking.
The front porch is still covered in bikes, shoes, and treasures, but Jonny did move the dishwasher to the back of his truck today. The back porch is host to what may appear to be a crazy big mess, but is really a carefully crafted manifestation of my children’s imagination.
We are building and maintaining relationships here. We are creating. We are learning. We are growing. We are celebrating LIFE. We are loving.
And honestly, I am doing a good bit of cleaning as well. These little people are just really good at erasing my tracks.
My mom sent me this quote in an email today:
“Sometimes what may seem like failure to succeed is the greatest of successes.
It just may not feel like success while it’s happening or while we are recovering.”
*End of pep talk*