Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shiny New Shoes

As a young girl I loved getting a new pair of black patent leather shoes for dress-up occasions. I remember wanting to wear those new shoes to bed for the first few nights after I got them. Most little girls love their shoes....and most grown women do too! As mamas, we spend a lot of time wearing our tennis shoes; we've learned that we need to be willing to work hard, get dirty, and try to be comfortable while doing the mothering job. But, every now and then we get to experience a feeling similar to putting on a brand new pair of patent leather shoes.

I have grown accustomed to looking for the good amongst the not-so-good; the rose in the thorns; the calm after the storm. Still, every now and then I experience a kind of good that I truly didn't expect. It can impact the course of my entire outlook on a day or a situation. Today I had one of those times. Today is Sunday, which is my favorite day of the week. It's the one day that our family is guaranteed to be together from start to finish. We go to church together, have lunch together, and enjoy whatever chores or activities we have planned together--as a family. It's the day that I get to put on my shiny shoes. However, sadly I'll admit that sometimes I forget how much I love Sundays.

There are those Sundays when the children are especially tired, cranky, or contrary. There are those Sundays when laundry has piled up after a busy week. There are those Sundays when my husband or I am somewhat tired or pensive about something and it begins to weigh us down. There are perfectly good Sundays that start out great but get too loud, chaotic, or messy to be fully enjoyable. Oftentimes I put too many expectations on my Sundays to be happy about the reality of them. Sometimes I get upset about having to put my tennis shoes back on. We have young children that need to be taken care of; they need our full attention most of the time. Being a stay-at-home mom, I am with them all week. But when Daddy is home they desperately want his undivided attention (which is especially difficult while Daddy is painting the exterior of our 2-story home). I've tried to be a bit more realistic about our Sundays. I know we will all be together and that my husband and I will enjoy an afternoon coffee together at some point. But, will we enjoy any halfway decent, intelligent, or uninterrupted conversations? I'm sure you can guess the answer as well as I can.

But today I realized that, lo and behold, miracles do happen on Sundays! I was able to keep my shiny shoes on longer than usual. After the kids finished their grilled cheese sandwiches and strawberries, and the new Lego tractor was constructed, my husband and I were able to have a wonderful, meaningful (and very minimally-interrupted) conversation. We had one of those conversations that I have only come to expect on long drives together or on the rare occasion that we have a date night. During these times I am prepared to discuss in detail any number of important married-raising-kids topics. But have a full, meaningful, adult conversation in the midst of our otherwise very kid-focused Sunday....what a treat! What a delightful and unexpected pleasure! Just like putting on a shiny new pair of patent leather shoes after wearing dirty tennis shoes all week.

It can happen. Children truly are a blessing but they come with strings attached. Those of us that planned for our families know about and are prepared (at least as much as we can be) for the strings. And most parents grow to enjoy and welcome the strings. We love wearing the comfortable, durable tennis shoes. But, in the midst of untangling, tying, and retying the shoe-strings, sometimes we get to put on a shiny pair of patent-leather shoes. And, boy does that feel good! We feel refreshed, refocused, rejuvenated....and our spirits are rekindled one to another. This is good and I will look for it more often because you just never know. You might find yourself dancing in shiny new shoes in the midst of a floor full of tangled up, tied up, beat up old tennis shoes.

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