This summer has flown by and we have been busy. Currently we have my sister in law Joy and her three kids living in our home, while they are in transition time. We have loved having them here with us, and I know I will be sad when they go. Her oldest daughter is my son's age, and her middle son is Ava's age, and then we have her little one Kaydence, who is 5 weeks older than the twins.
Pretty much with the twins and Kaydence, it often has a triplet feel to it. At school chapel time they sang happy birthday to Kaydence, and Mallory and Lena stood on each side of her, I am guessing for support?
This week has been rough. Nick has been working a lot of hours lately. I haven't had the best of attitude towards my children. I spent all morning Monday cleaning the house, only to have my twin girls go around like little tornadoes on Tuesday when we were doing school at home, and tear it apart. Needless to say that can feel extremely frustrating, when you put all your heart into making your home beautiful. So I was not in the best of mood that day.
Wednesday morning, I was reading in the book called Mom Walk by Sally Clarkson, and she shared something that really resonated with me. I can either choose to notice the work my children bring to me, and complain and be frustrated in my heart, or I can choose to see the beauty in each of them, and worship God by praising Him for how He made each one of them.
So that morning on the way to school I apologized to my children, and told them that I wanted to focus on the beauty in each of them. I told Josiah how I appreciated his motivation and focus, and how he always worked so hard at things. In Ava I appreciated her patience and thoughtfulness, and always being kind. In Lena I appreciated how she was determined to be a big girl. And how Mallory just brought us joy in her sweet words and her business in wanting to be a helper. Ava told me I needed to say something for me. And then she decided she would think of one. She announced when we arrived at school, "Mom, I appreciate how you sometimes help us get our backpacks out of the car for us."
Great day the rest of the day. I loved on my children and was so grateful for them.
Then Nick came home briefly, and shared he had to go back to work. He is trying to wrap up everything before he has shoulder surgery next week, and feeling a lot of pressure there. So he said his good byes, and I found myself feeling alone.
This morning I woke up, and I was determined I would start fresh. I knew what I wanted to do. And I shared with each of the kids, the desire to focus on the beauty in each one of them. But the day quickly fell flat, filled with emotional Ava not being able to focus well on her school, and my 7 year old Josiah with his 8 year old attitude... for example how he told me the other day I didn't write my cursive "r's" correctly and that I needed to go back to third grade to learn how to write them better. And then my twins. Today it was the triplets with Kaydence. Being pulled from one direction to the next of each of my kids needs. I began to feel more drained. And I began to find myself not talking nicely to my children once again, and being irritated at all the work they were bringing me instead of the beauty that God had given each of them. Finding the youngest ones playing markers in sister's room. Marker's taken away, bedroom door to sister's room closed. 5 minutes later find marker's taken out of sister's room into the twins room and their artistic skills being put to good use as they "face painted" all over their face and legs and arms. After disciplining and putting markers away again, downstairs they came to get baby wipes to clean themselves off. 10 minutes later here Mallory say "Lena has her pants off." Find Kaydence and Lena with their pants off taking turns wiping each other off and "changing their diapers." Yeah that's not a game I want being played. As Joy and I talk to them about this, see Lena sticking the wiped on the bottom baby wipe in her mouth and sucking on it. Yup... that's a great idea. Ugh...
This is my life right now. The balance of two older children, and two very active little girls. I remember my obstetrician laughing at me (not with me) every time I went in for my appointments, asking me, "how many kids do you have so far?" And then saying, "heh heh... yeah you are going to be busy... heh heh." I have officially hit that busy stage.
Joy graciously kicked me out for a little bit to get the oil changed in my van and mostly to get me out of the house. I still felt heavy when I returned to run my long run on the treadmill. Then I felt exhausted. And then the beauty came sweeping in. As I was folding clothes, sweet Ava comes upstairs and hugs me, and tells me that she missed me this afternoon, and stroked my hair and asked if she could help fold clothes when she was done eating dinner. And blesses my cheek with a kiss before she heads back downstairs.
Then I put Josiah's clothes away, and I see that he has cleaned his room like I asked him to earlier, and even got under the bed and put everything back in it's place this afternoon.
Then I lay on the couch still feeling beaten down and little Lena comes next to me to snuggle and put her head right next to mine and loves on me. And Mallory comes to join us and tries to give us pillows that she thinks we need.
And slowly I remember, look at the beauty of God in my children. And be the beauty of God to my children. And I pick myself up off the couch, and find a recipe I read online earlier, for a Squirrel Nutkin Cake (an apple nut cake) and I make it for my children to eat for breakfast tomorrow. And my house begins to smell of cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg and sugary goodness. As I lay my children down, and begin to take some time to rest before the Lord, I know that I failed in so many ways today. And I can't do all of this on my own strength. Or any of my own strength.
I need HIM.
So I will start again tomorrow, and serve my children Squirrel Nutkin cake for breakfast, and pray that I can see the beauty in them, and cherish each one of them. Because even though I often may have hard days, I truly am blessed. :)