Just when I think I have a good handle on the day to day, when it seems as though we are falling into a comfortable routine, when life gets, well, easier ... just then something turns this little family unit topsy- turvy and its mommy struggles to regain her footing and do her best to love, comfort, protect and return the other members back to rights. I am learning that is not necessarily my job. Something that makes my back itch even as I think it ... as Matt says "Maybe the lines need to be redrawn."
All my life continuing on through this very day, I have been attracted to friends who are less rigid than me. My closest friends, my husband included, are less concerned with structure and more concerned with having a good time. Being breezy is an attribute I aspire to, but let's face it. As much as I'd rather be Rachel, I am Monica. I function better when my little ducks are in a row and my house is spotless; with a wonderful meal cooking in the oven and the trash can is emptied; when baby and children wake up and sleep in a glorious rhythm. But hey, this is life. It's humorous watching a Monica on a t.v show. I can only imagine that this real life version isn't easy to live with.
Over time, I have made small improvements and subtle adjustments. I think it's a huge deal that I no longer vacuum several times a day. That I can accept that the laundry will never be completely done is huge for me. The fact that I am writing (because it is good for my soul) instead of straightening my home is a little victory. Usually I get to the beginning of a new year and I have my list of resolutions, but this December I've decided to begin my year anew. This season, instead of focusing on the "have-to's" I am redirecting my attention to the love-to's.
What has spurred this on is multi-faceted. First, the lines need to be redrawn for my children. Just because I was a kid who accepted the rules and formulas for Math without explanation, doesn't mean that my children will. Has God given me kids that need to know the whys to exasperate me? Sometimes I think so, but if I redirect my attention to his heart for me, I realize that perhaps he is trying to teach me something. Maybe ... just maybe ... he wants to slow me down. Does he sigh in exhaustion when his plans for me take longer than planned? No. He has always allowed me to question why.
Second, I am inspired. Inspired by friends who always let their kids be kids. Inspired by those who get things done with a smile on their face. Awed by my husband, who doesn't do things my way, is usually distracted and lost in thought, but who intentionally loves with abandon, goofs off with the kids, answers the whys and makes me laugh. Blown away by friends who just live life without worrying about a list. I want that, but the perfectionist in recovery in me needs to be told that I can't make this change instantaneously!
Third, my kiddos are in a difficult season. Little Nicholas is teething and having sleep issues which I'm too exhausted to effectively deal with because I do too much during the day. Sweet Bethany's sweetness sometimes (daily) fails her and she gives way to fits of frustration and impatience. Lucas loves school, but can't seem to have two good days in a row and more frequently cries than is normal. All this has caused me to reconsider my values and my goals for each day. My heart cannot be fixated on straightening and falter into despair when I can't seem to get my kids.
So in this season of remembering what our Heavenly Father did for us, as I think on the great cost he paid, I refocus myself realizing that there is no good thing that I would withhold from my children, if my heart is in the right place. Christmas is, after all, about love.
Each year I find a couple Christmas storybooks to give to our children. It started when Lucas was rounding out my tummy seven Christmases ago, and I've been reading ever since. I am excited about this years purchases. The first is The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (if you haven't read it, please do) and the second is new and all about the Christmas Spirit. I am excited to declare to my children in story and in truth demonstrated by my actions that just like Christmas began with the love of a child, so mine continues as I accept his love and extend it unconditionally to them through answering the questions of a childlike heart, comforting in the midst of frustration, sitting up at three in the morning, attempting to establish good sleep patterns, and constantly reassuring them that they are in a safe place, in our love and care and in the hands of a loving Father who wants the absolute best for them. God help this Monica in this endeavor.