Sunday, March 7, 2010

And she said "You just have to embrace it."

My husband and I had one quiet day at home with our 4th child before the other 3 returned from Grandma and Grandpa's. I missed my other kids and wanted them with me but Ron convinced me to let them stay one more night so we could adjust with our new sweet pea for one night before the house erupted in chaos. To say "erupted in chaos" is really putting it mildly. When Ron came home with our other 3 children I soon wished I would have had a week to adjust. Please don't misunderstand. I adore my kids. But, here we were with our amazing baby girl, Tessa Leighann, and now returning home to us were Jaden 5, Luke 3, and Ella, who was a young 2 year old. Do I need to expound? Okay, my very young and overwhelmed kids were literally falling apart. They were tired and cranky--off of their schedule; they missed their home and their stuff; they missed Mommy and Daddy; they wanted to hold, kiss, and generally smother their new sister; and they were trying to adjust to their new positions in our family. Who could blame them? It's a huge transition. Very soon, it was not just our children who felt overwhelmed.... How were we gonna do this?

Several days later a good friend stopped by after church to deliver a meal to us. Now, this is a friend for whom I have the utmost respect. At the time, she was newly pregnant with her 5th child. Her other 4 are all close in age. She is a stay-at-home mom and home schools her oldest 2 children. She makes all of it look fairly easy. I know it cannot be. Since then we've had plenty of conversations that have proven she is, in fact, human--and struggles too. Joking aside, I truly admire her. As her family waited for her in their car, she asked how we were doing. Daring question. I had to hold back tears as I answered, "I have no idea how you do this! We expected Ella to have a tough time, but they're all falling apart. I don't know how to make this work. I had no idea this would be so hard." I mean really, I had no idea! My friend, in her gentle sweetness, looked at me with that I know what you're going through kind of look and said, "You just have to embrace it." Hmmm..... "Embrace it." Thus began my adventure of learning to embrace the journey.

I've always believed, as the Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:6, that godliness with contentment is great gain. I strive to be content in my daily life. This was a brand new lesson for me. This was about really just taking a long, deep breath, considering what each day has for me, and saying "I'm okay with this." It sounds easier than it is. For instance, I like to keep a fairly clean house. I don't like to head downstairs in the morning without every bed being made. I don't like to leave my house or go to bed with any dishes in the sink or on the counter. My house is certainly not spotless~please don't show up with a magnifying glass! But, there are things I'm so particular about when it comes to my house. I always try to sweep before my in-laws visit. The irony here is that my father-in-law usually leaves his boots on, which may or may not be dirty, and afterwards I wonder why I tried so hard. So, this "embracing" means that if nothing on my so-called list is accomplished, I can be okay. If it is almost lunch time yet we have just gotten everyone dressed, hair combed, and teeth brushed, I can feel alright about that. I can adjust my expectations for each day.

One of the definitions for "embrace" in the Webster's Dictionary is "to accept readily." What a challenge for me to become a mom who accepts readily that my children will not have a perfect mom, or a perfect home!

I'm learning about this concept of embracing my life and the circumstances of my life every day. Recently I've learned how to embrace winter in Northwest Ohio, where the season can begin in October and last through half of April. No exaggeration! It's cold, gray, wet, snowy, and messy on a regular basis. This year I mentally prepared myself for winter. I knew it would be cold. I knew that every errand with the kids would be tons of work. I knew we wouldn't see the sun very often. But hey, it's winter! Turns out, there are a lot of things to like about winter. Beautiful snowfalls; cold, crisp, fresh air; snow forts and snowmen; cheesy potato soup; hot chocolate with marshmallows; an excuse to stay in pj's all day; movie nights; snowball fights; coffee with friends. And the best of all this year has been the Winter Olympics! Another good friend reminded me of the saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." I guess that was how I began embracing my winter this year. And, you know what? An amazing thing happened along the way. I have really enjoyed my entire winter! I wouldn't even mind another snowfall! Of course, it's March now and we have had a weekend of 45 degree weather (which feels like a heat wave) and nothing but sunshine. The kids were able to play outside all weekend without wearing snow mittens. We grilled two times this weekend and cracked our kitchen window for some fresh air. I'll admit that even the slightest hint of spring is delightful to me. I'm confident I will embrace it!

I doubt that I have this whole "embracing" thing figured out. But, I think I'm starting to understand. It really has changed how I look at this season in my life. My kids will only be 6, 4, 2, and 8 mos. for a very little while. Before I know it we'll be planning my baby's 1st birthday party! I'm happy to say that we have learned how to get dressed, make beds, and comb hair before breakfast. We're figuring this out together. Some days I am efficient and seem to balance many tasks. Other days, I embrace smiles, laughs, crying jags, time-outs, and sleep deprivation....and then there's my kids' behavior! I am trying to readily accept what each day has for me. This new perspective has changed a whole lot in my world. I'm forever thankful that my friend brought me dinner and that she shared her secret with me...."You just have to embrace it!"

1 comment:

  1. I know that friend. :-)
    She's has a gift of grace and is always able to seem to find the words. <3 u K.