lament

i wish grace lived here.

once again i wake up after the husband and kids, b/c i’m dead-tired, dragging and wishing the day would rewind itself before it even had a chance to start. he’s in the shower, listening to his praise music. must be nice. to shower and spend your mental energy on Jesus in the morning. not this girl. i wake up to isla slamming a cupboard door that she shouldn’t be in, or hitting me over the head with a cup, asking for her morning milk, or ava swinging a remote two millimeters from my eyelid, whining that she wants to watch a show, or eden screaming from her crib, b/c isla already went in and offered her four barbie dolls.

husband emerges, says his hellos and begins to walk downstairs. ‘can you take the baby with you?’ i receive my first eye-roll/scowl/or lecture for the day. great. i just want to shower. oh, get up earlier you say, sir? well, i saw ava at 1am, and 230am (at which point i changed her peed-in pjs and tucked her back into bed). then, i had the pleasure of carrying isla back to bed at 430am, and i was so out of it that i called her ava, and it wasn’t until i was already walking down the hallway, that i noticed her petite body in my arms and realized that it was her this time. but hey, sure, i can get up at 6am and try to beat you to the shower so that eden doesn’t whine at you for more cheerios while you have your quiet time. either that, or i can just stink until 10pm, like i do most days anyway.

i stand firm though, and brush off his disappointment for some time to myself. cut myself shaving. ankles. probably the only bones still visible after growing my babies, and yep, i cut one. so, now i’m greeting the day with a bitter husband, whining children, and a wad of toilet paper stuck to a stinging ankle. doesn’t last long, b/c ava curiously rips it off before i make it past the dining room. baby is in her highchair, alone, a cheerio still left here and there. not happy, of course. hubs is partaking of his devotional time in the living room, alone, and the other two are running around like it’s 1999.

i have a sign in my dining room that reads: ‘let us be silent that we may hear the whisper of God.’ what it should probably read is: ‘let us lay prostrate on the kitchen floor until God actually shows up.’ i don’t feel Him on days like this. i know He’s there, but i can’t feel Him steering us in any shape or form. three tender moments today. three. over 50,000 minutes with my family, and i can count three tender moments.

we have breakfast. i have two loads of laundry going and all three cleaned up and happily dressed before 9:30am. miracle. we play in the backyard, enjoy homemade popsicles, and follow a baby bird around the yard, all before noon. poor bird. lunch and grocery time.

i get the kids in the car, and something starts to happen. the unraveling of a day. they want lunch now. they want to go to target, not sam’s club. they want to listen to the lion king song, not jesus culture. they want; they want; they want. no sam’s club card. nice. hubs has it. call him – no answer. i bet he’s out to lunch. call him again – answers. yep. out to lunch with a buddy at panera bread. oh, you know, the one restaurant he won’t take us to, b/c the portions are too small, the food is over-priced, and he always leaves hungry. yeah, that place. i head to the bank first for grocery money. ‘do the kids want lollipops?’ sure, nice teller-lady! two please. then it hits me that i just asked for punishment during our entire shopping experience. once eden sees those ‘pops’ in her sisters’ mouths and figures out that i don’t have one for her…i’m doomed. no one gets a pop until we get to the store. okay? okay. (at least if i sit her carseat sideways in the ginormous cart, she won’t be able to spy her sisters’ lollipop-sucking profiles.) they begrudgingly agree to my terms. i do a drive-by and grab the sam’s card from hubs, recalling that the last time he met us for lunch, isla was in a highchair. max ‘n erma’s 2012. interrupting his lunch date would be as bad as hijacking his morning quiet time, so i drive off to buy us a much unhealthier option – sonic. ugh. cheeseburgers and french fries it is. we eat in the car and talk about what policemen do. random and typical.

{most ‘recent’ lunch date – 2012}

arrive at sam’s and load girls into the cart as planned. perfect. eden never catches a glimpse of the goods and she is content to smile in the breeze. as i go to grab the handle of the shopping cart, i mistakenly whack ava’s lollipop onto the ground. the parking lot ground. after making her wait for 20 minutes, and lecturing her to keep it concealed…i knock it to the ground. as if my life flashed before my eyes, i whisk it up without hesitating and the ‘oh crap’ moment sets in. now what? there is more than half left on the stick. isla is savoring hers, and it’s my fault it went flying to the ground. the dirty, parking lot ground… the germophobe in me is screaming, ‘noooo!’, but the mama-guilt in me wins by a landslide. as if i was being filmed in slow-mo eating slugs on the nat-geo channel, i put the foul thing in my mouth and ‘wiped it clean’. ugh. oh heaven help me. for chicken and lettuce. i’m doing this for chicken and lettuce. and butter. can’t forget the butter. almost an hour later, what are we leaving with? a lot more, and if it were up to ava…a pretzel and a trampoline would have joined our caravan. (you know that moment in which you start over the initial drop of a roller coaster? this was that part of the day, and it crosses my mind that their sonic kids’ meals were laced with a disobedience powder of sorts.) i’m not paying $11 for butter, so i decide aldi’s is our next and final stop. to say they were ill-behaved would be putting it nicely. i got a sympathy pat on my right shoulder from a stranger – a mom of four. ‘i know what you are going through, honey.’ really? great. my usually kind-hearted and darling daughters are attacking each other, trying to headbutt the baby, sticking their tongues out at me, and shouting, ‘poop and pee’ at the top of their voices. can’t i just believe in aliens for two minutes, b/c these clearly aren’t my children. the ‘lilo and stitch’ dvd is going in the trash can tonight. have to start the reformation somewhere.

i make it to the checkout without buying popsicles or leaving ava in the freezer aisle. i am promising bum spanks once we get to the car (something i have never had to do in a public setting in all four and a half years of being a mom.) people are smirking at us. i am making jokes about ‘waving the white flag’ to onlookers, and isla is growling. eden is crying and has a red mark on her forehead. gee, is it any wonder why daddy never thinks to meet us for lunch? now i’m thinking about that again and how bad i think he stinks and i hope that his ‘pick two’ gave him reflux. i pay for the groceries, which started out as a butter-run and morphed into a fruit and veggie extravaganza, and we go to the car. of course there has to be a woman next to us while i have to follow through with the promise of spanking ava’s bottom. ‘you’re getting this spanking, remember? you didn’t listen to me in the store, and i told you that you were going to get a bum spank if you didn’t stop those x,y,z behaviors.’ cries for mercy break out. the woman is still piddling with something next to the car, and i quickly give a swat to the tushie of a very unhappy four-year-old. what a horrible day, and it’s just 2:30. oh, but it doesn’t end there. oh no…what happens next makes amelia bedilia look like she has it all together.

after putting the kids and the food in the car, i throw the stroller in the back. the box of chickens is sticking out of the van while i put the beast stroller in the right spot. in total haste and embarrassment, i run to the driver’s seat and hit the button for the hatch to close itself. the chicken. hit it again, so it becomes as confused as its operator and stalls. fix the chicken, and push the button to close the hatch again. proceed homeward. hop on highway. where is my phone? the stroller? man. get off of highway. pull over. phone? brand-new, four-day-old iphone…sticking half out from under the rear door! yep. good stuff right there. thank goodness, it still works. get back in the car and drive home.

eden wakes up as i pull into the garage. we all know what 10 minute car naps do to babies. bear. little grizzly. i make dinner for us and friends who just had a baby. that is the only thing going right so far. ava and isla are begging for tv, and, as badly as i want to glue them to the couch and let them sit in front of a movie, i realize that we are heading back out soon and the last thing i need is for them to pass out in front of the tv and pee on my floor. b/c they would. b/c i am having that kind of day. so, no! no movies. okay then, i guess running around and hitting each other is plan b, and i asked for it, right? eden is content, b/c i handed her a bowl of baby-sized white cheddar cheese puffs, and who doesn’t love cheese puffs? they’re all quiet. too quiet. ‘what are you doing?!’ ‘playing duck-duck-goose, mom!’ believable. okay. i finish dinner and begin to wrap up our delivery items. shoes on. dog in crate. no purse to be found and a kid has to poop. oh, for the love! poop then! where is my purse?! i’ll tear the house apart while you poop. no purse. seriously? i came in, put down our bags and haven’t left the kitchen in over two hours, and i manage to lose a purse?! panic hits. it’s gotta be on the highway. it fell off of the stroller and some wanderer picked it up and thought it was his/her lucky day b/c it had twenty-five dollars in it, my only debit and credit cards, a license, and one thousand joann fabric receipts. lucky day.

load up all of the food and the kids back into the car. open garage. frantically search for purse and husband appears. am i that late already?! and talk about timing – i just got these monkeys buckled. of course they don’t want to stay here with dad, they want to go with mommy. of course! i lost my purse. what?!!!?!!!?! yes, sir. i lost it. needless to say, grace still wasn’t showing up. husband speeds off for aldi’s. b/c, for whatever reason, they don’t list their phone number.  another wasted 411 charge.  i head for the highway.  i drive my little route twice. no purse in sight. he goes to aldi’s – no purse. i go to aldis’. ‘oh yes, i remember you – you had all of the kids in the stroller.’ yes, that was me, thanks. no purse.

white flag still waving. children all asleep in the car. i break out in a nervous-sweat, and my pit paste doesn’t want to work when i nervous-sweat. only when i’m nervous.  weird.  and see? i shouldn’t have even bothered with that shower this morning, b/c i smell like b.o. now anyway.

tender moment number one…in the midst of all the chaos and negativity, i get to meet nora. i get to see a few smiling faces that aren’t mad at me b/c i lost my purse, aren’t yelling at me to play a certain song, and aren’t pulling at my burning ankle, crying to be held. for about 10 minutes of this day, i felt the warmth of patience and hope and peace. so nice.  i think grace lives there.

i return to the van and decide to check the highway one more time. i drive like a ninny with my four-ways on, creeping along the berm on a very busy portion of interstate. pull off the exit that i had taken earlier and figure it couldn’t hurt to walk about ten yards or so of the straightest stretch in hopes that it’s there, blending in with the dirt. i pull over, lock the doors, and walk in the rain. now i’m smelly and getting drenched. no luck.  i get back into the car, succumbing to the fact that nearly the entire day has been a wreck, and i may as well write ‘epic fail’ on my forehead.  as i sit down and glance at my phone, i see a missed call and a text from the husband, who has been back at home for some time now.  ‘found it along with an empty bottle of rubbing alcohol , aroma oil, hair spray…’ (and a few other not-so-nice words about the kids not being supervised well enough and responsibility). insert crossed eyes here, b/c i think my brain just decided to braid itself. seriously? duck-duck-goose my rear! those kids were up there for 10 minutes, max! and when i asked twenty times if anyone had seen, touched, played with, taken or hid mommy’s purse…the answer was, ‘no.’ the truth of the situation is that isla had decided to snag my purse from the diaper bag (turns out my subconscious really does work when i’m stressed and frantically going through the motions) and bathe eden’s rocking horse, so she poured an entire bottle of safflower oil on its mane and tail and about a tbsp (all the was left) of rubbing alcohol on its saddle. and they lied about it all with wide eyes and innocent faces.  grace. give them grace. i wish i had some thrown my way too. i’d take a medicine cabinet installation also, please. that’d be helpful. i individually take the girls upstairs and talk with them in the bathroom about safety and poisons and things that they aren’t allowed to touch… deep breath.

i return to the main floor. child one lays on the dining room chair. child two falls back to sleep on the couch. please don’t pee there. husband already ate. i feed the baby. he’s still peeved. the house is a disaster. i played with them this morning. i fed them, clothed them, chased bugs and followed a bird around the yard for an hour just b/c they wanted to. i did two loads of laundry. i made eden take a nap a whole hour earlier, so i wouldn’t screw up this day. i thought i lost my purse, but i didn’t. the kids are all okay, even though we have to throw out a rocking horse. dinner is cooked and waiting for us on the counter. i try. i fail. everyday, i fail at something. i fail him. i fail them. i fail me. i wish grace lived here.

roasted chicken, veggie pasta, greek salad, and the kids want to eat a bowl of feta cheese for dinner. whatever. hubs leaves for class at church. baby is standing in the dishwasher. girls are watching a movie with their feta cheese, and the white flag waves higher. fabric sits untouched on the kitchen island. another day goes by that i don’t get any ‘work’ done. i clean the house. i fold the laundry. the kids won’t have to wear play clothes to bed tonight, b/c i actually got caught up today. finally.  isla walks up to me with three barbies in her arms. ‘thank you so much, mommy, for buying me this doll,’ she says with the most innocent excitement. she is referencing a ballerina that i brought home from a friend’s yard sale a year ago. ‘and thank you for buying me cinderella and thank you for buying me rapunzel too, mommy. thank you so much!’ she kisses me between each sentence, and i experience my tender moment number two.

as i pick up the last of the toys, the garage door sounds. has it been that long already? two hours past the kids’ bedtime. they need baths b/c they are covered in safflower oil and smell like cheese. i brace for the feeling again. fail. ‘no, i didn’t wait for you to put them to bed. i cleaned up the house. i folded the laundry.’ i bathe the baby and he takes over with the other two. i put eden to bed, and go to change ava’s sheets. the crew arrives, dons pjs, and we do our bedtime thing. isla first. i silently wet her blanket with tears as i quietly pray over her. she’s so little. she’s so pure, and i am messing this up royally. i kiss her and walk out, heading for ava. i kneel by her bedside, and she asks me to scratch her hand and then her back. her love language. i lay my head on the edge of her mattress and pray for her too. i feel so unworthy to pray, especially for these kids. i spent most of my day yelling and trying to rein them in. i scratch her back and ask her if i made her feel bad at all during the day. ‘yes.’ when? ‘when you spanked me.’ i figured. i ask her if i made her feel happy at all today. she pauses. she turns her head away and says, as if she is surprising even herself, ‘i don’t know. i don’t know when i was happy today.’ i don’t remind her of the popsicle or the baby bird. i just sit there and say the only thing i know how to say, ‘mommy’s sorry. we’ll try to have a happy day tomorrow.’

she’s nods and asks me to stay and scratch her back a little longer. tender moment number three. she gives me grace, even when i can’t give it to her, her sisters, her dad, or myself. she gives it. grace may not live here, but at least it visits us from time to time.

it’s quiet, the kids are sleeping, my legs and hands ache from a long day of barely standing still or sitting down, but i find myself wanting to be here, listening to audrey assad’s ‘lament’ on repeat, and pouring my own lament out onto this keyboard like telling my story will somehow prevent a bad day from ever happening again.

i’ve probably listened to it twenty times in a row just now, and it’s nearing 2am.  i’ll crawl into bed, hoping for double the tender moments tomorrow and praying that this song is the only thing on repeat.  xo

I’m Mary and I’m Martha all at the same time,
I’m sitting at His feet and yet I’m dying to be recognized,
I am a picture of contentment and I’m dissatisfied,
Why is it easy to work but hard to rest sometimes,
sometimes, sometimes

I’m restless, and I rustle like a thousand tall trees,
I’m twisting and I’m turning in an endless daydream,
You wrestle me at night and I wake in search of You,
but try as I might, I just can’t catch You,
But I want to, ’cause I need You, yes, I need You,
I can’t catch You, but I want to,

How long, how long until I’m home,
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running,
How long until You come for me
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long, how long until I’m home,
I’m so tired, so tired of running
How long until You come for me
’cause I’m so tired, so tired of running (X2)

{i originally shared this song in this post.}

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg
(function (tos) {
window.setInterval(function () {
tos = (function (t) {
return t[0] == 50 ? (parseInt(t[1]) + 1) + ‘:00′ : (t[1] || ’0′) + ‘:’ + (parseInt(t[0]) + 10);
})(tos.split(‘:’).reverse());
window.pageTracker ? pageTracker._trackEvent(‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos) : _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos]);
}, 10000);
})(’00′);

Comments

  1. says

    I read every word. Some of them twice, because I wanted to make sure I caught the whole thing. While my 'lament' would be different, because my kids are older and well, we are just all different. I needed to read and know and understand that someone else was struggling. Someone else wasn't all quiet time and happiness and perfect hair. Although, you did still get so much done, so I'm still kinda jealous of your talent. So thank you for our lament and your honesty. Thank you for not being perfect. Thank you for taking the time to write. I understand that it changes nothing but the truth is, you've got this. It's crazy, and exhausting, and frustrating, but you are doing it. As a long time teacher, I can tell you that you are doing so much more for your kids than you could ever measure. And it's not just about what they will remember, but about what their hearts will know. That hour chasing after a bird, built trust in adults, taught them about the world, and nature, and birds, gave them joy and fun and happiness. You can't replace that. That's the stuff that parents either give their kids when they are little – or teachers and counselors struggle to replace it forever. You are building a foundation that will help them learn, help them love, help them be successful. The teacher in me thanks you abundantly. The parent in me thanks you abundantly. The woman in me thanks you and promises to pray for peace and joy and grace. Lot's and lots of grace. I think there is clearly more grace abiding in you than you know. Only one spanking, dinner, baths, and getting tucked into bed and prayed for – that's giving grace. Just saying. Oh, and you blessed me. And I'm grateful. Keep on – you and God have got this.

  2. says

    Oh, and then there is this – truth – I believe – that I wrote about a couple of days ago.
    Who you are is enough. In fact, who you are is good. No, really. Are you perfect? No. Are there things you need to work on, to get make better? Yes. But who you are, right now, in this minute is enough. I get that this sounds like a cheesy speech, designed to make you pat yourself on the back and feel all warm and gooey inside. It’s not. It’s a reality check. We spend years of our lives, and billions of dollars trying to make ourselves ‘better’. Based on my experience, and that of those I know, most of us are really trying to make ourselves someone else. We are so uncomfortable with who we are that we use all our energy, and emotion, and time, trying to re-create ourselves. Folks, we need to stop.

    As the preacher said Sunday, “we need to remember who and whose we are.” We were created by God. And God is good. What He creates is good. "God saw all that He had made, and it was very good." Genesis 1:31 – (NIV) And yes, this verse is after He made human beings. Yes, we have sinned. Yes, we need a Savior to set us right with God again. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ." Romans 3:23 – 24 (NIV) But God didn’t mess up. He didn’t make a mistake when He made us. Sometimes, we feel like He did. Sometimes, we can’t understand why we have personality characteristics that we consider flaws. But God formed us – and He always has a reason. Maybe we ought to start spending more time and energy accepting who we are and using our strengths instead focusing on, what we consider to be, our weaknesses. Maybe we ought to spend some time resting in the truth that God made just how He wanted us. Maybe, even, we should celebrate that God did good!

  3. says

    I have been in your shoes, many times…maybe not the exact situation, but similar times when I've been really down on myself because of my lack of patience, lack of prioritizing, lack of whatever….it's so hard to keep our chin up during those times. It sounds like you're just as hard on yourself as I am on myself, too…it's something I've been working on, but it doesn't come easy! So I say give yourself a pat on the back, mama….lost purse or no lost purse, clean house or no clean house, it doesn't matter at the end of the day…your kids are still loved and healthy and that's what's important!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.