“It is terrible to find how little progress one’s philosophy and charity have made when they are brought to the test of domestic life.”
Oh my…yes. Once again C.S. Lewis hits the nail on the head. He sums up, very eloquently, the disjointed thoughts and prayers I breathed throughout this day.
Driving to the grocery store, the sky slashed blood-red, I felt the tears sting my eyes. What is it, Lord? Are my eyes not on You enough? Do I not pause soon enough to ask for help when things are tough?
Ever have one of those days that leaves you needing to be debriefed? There I sat in the car, waiting on a red light, debriefing.
I want the answer. I want Your answer. Whatever my failures earlier, I come now.
For two hours this morning, I tried to help two little boys practice forty minutes of music. They’ve been on their own most of the time lately and I noticed bad technique becoming bad habit without me reminding them constantly, “Straighten that wrist! Fingers on the tapes. Correct that note, buster!” I determined to be there this morning. I was and that is all I got done—between breaks to rescue baby, change a poopy diaper, start a load of laundry while I was on that side of the house, clean up after an overflowing toilet, feed the crying baby, and so on…
Two hours late to begin the rest of school, I felt deflated and already needing that debriefing!
Then there is always that nagging fear in the crevices of my heart that says, You are not giving each what he needs. They have so many needs.
Marc needs time. Without fail, when he is testing me (or driving me out of my mind) he just needs my time, my heart.
Will needs hugs and kisses. He needs a hand to brush his crazy hair out of his eyes, and a smile—into those blue eyes.
This morning, with Livi wailing from exhaustion and Marc gathering his school supplies to tackle his math lesson, I gave Reagan a preschool activity in the corner, on the floor. He beamed at the bright colors and numbers and looked up at me with a winsome smile, “You help me, Mama?” My heart ached to sit down beside him right then and work with him, but I had to say, Not now. I knew, and I suspect he knew, that really meant, Not at all today.
I just can’t always give what I want to give. Fear tells me I cannot give what they need me to give.
Marc Anthony was trying me today. He is an eager student and he needs routine and on days like today when all is falling apart, he sometimes tries me. We sat side by side, his reading book open, and I felt the tears coming. I fought them.
Suddenly, I was crying, telling him, “I don’t like your attitude. I can think of a lot better ways to spend my time than fighting a little boy who won’t listen and won’t learn.” Unsure, he giggled at first. Then he cried along with me, “Mama,” he squeezed my shoulder. “Please don’t cry!”
With a burst of determination, he wiped the back of his hand across his eyes and grabbed up his book. My goodness, that boy can speed read! He read with gusto and enthusiasm! And you can believe I praise him up and down when we reached the end of the lesson.
The weather was beautiful so I sent them out to play while I tried to tackle loads of laundry waiting to be folded and stacks of dishes. I kept noticing the millions of things I’d not get to today. Dust on the furniture, nastiness on windows lit by the sunshine.
There is simply no way I’ll get to it all. Right now, when I am way outnumbered by little people and my to-do list far outlasts my energy, there is just no way.
Is that ok? Is it just the way it’s going to be and so I should learn to shrug off my concerns and fears?
I’ve battled postpartum depression since Livi arrived (to be candid) and my very understanding husband, who rescues me on my worst days, reminds me that when she is no longer teething and I am getting rest again at night it will be easier.
The test of domestic life. It is “easy” to make plans, dream dreams, and determine a course…but start living it out in real life and it is anything but easy!
I suppose, though, life doesn’t have to be a dream to be good. I’d like to say I sing through all my days, but the truth is, I cry through a good number of them.
This evening I finally got around to folding the laundry. Quiet whispers and giggles brought me from my own little world and I found Reagan lying on the floor beside his baby sister. He wore his favorite little hat—the blue plaid one he likes to wear to church—and his pajamas. One arm was flung over Livi as he whispered important things in her ear. I couldn’t hear what he said, but her whole face lit in an adoring smile as she listened.
It was a moment that stood still for me. A moment to remember.
Not every day will see me pass the domestic test, but every day has its moments that stand still. Every day holds love and adoration.
I pray for grace. Grace to see those moments more and fearful ones less. Grace to pause in my harried moments and see the love of my Savior.
Tomorrow is a new day, a new gift, in my very domestic life. That is grace.