Last night before going to bed I decided to open all the windows. It was a cool night, and I figured the breeze would be nice.
Nice was an understatement!
As I finished washing the dishes, the refreshing summer night air lazily curled in through my windows and wrapped around and past me, sniffing in the corners of my house, mixing with the scent of the fresh baked bread I had just pulled from the oven. It reminded me of autumn, and made me so happy to be standing in my kitchen cleaning up the mess of a successful domestic day.
As I have mentioned before, there is something in the autumnal air which awakens the romantic in me. I reflected on the day as the air continued to blanket me in its intoxicating spell, and I realized something. I really love this life of mine, but I get too caught up in things that don't matter.
I remembered watching Faye ride her bike home from getting the mail. I loved watching her in her pink plaid dress on that bicycle, as her hair and the dress streamed behind her, the mail clutched between her teeth, and the radiance burning like a beacon from her eyes. She was happy. It is summer, she is a child, and life is spectacular for her.
Keith and Faye have been living outside with the next door neighbor for the past few days, and that makes me so happy. Keith is such a homebody and would be a hermit if I let him. He would get rickets and never leave his legos or books or video games if I didn't have an adamant say in the matter. So the fact that he is choosing, of his own volition to go out and play absolutely makes me mad with joy.
Yesterday I had lots of sweet moments. Beth and I cuddled for a while on the couch, reading nursery rhymes, her bare bum curled up in my lap.
Her diaper had been giving her a rash and she was done with it. We snuggled, her soft hair tickling my nose and her hand kept tugging on her ear, which is Beth speak for "I'm tired."
By the end of the day, though, I was tired and worn out. I was ready for bed. Keith and Faye were both tracking mud through the house. I didn't need to and really shouldn't have, but I my patience was worn and I shouted at them to get their dirty feet into the bathroom and get them cleaned. Keith hung his head, and said quietly that I didn't need to yell, and his quiet voice cut me to the center better than anything else could have. I repented right then and there. While they were washing, I pulled out two bowls and some ice cream. I found the book we are reading (The BFG, in case you are wondering,) and went back to my bread making. When they timidly came through the kitchen again, I winked at Keith, nodded to the bowls of ice cream, and began speaking in the Giant's voice, "Would you like some ice cream, little chiddler? It's much better to eat than human beans. Especially little dirty ones." Keith laughed and climbed up to the counter. Faye for some inexplicable reason didn't want the ice cream, and she just played with dolls in her room room, until she heard me reading The BFG to Keith. That is when she came out. We read, and then we had some tea and read scriptures, and then after family prayer, I tucked them in bed. Jeffrey had long been asleep by this time, apparently.
And so, as I remembered all those sweet moments while drinking in the heady night air, I realized that the sweetness far outweighs the chaos although it is so much easier to focus on the mud tracked across the floor, or the tantrums thrown at bedtime, or anything else. The tiredness sometimes comes in and makes me forget how much I love those little ones and how much they put me in stitches every single day. The funny little things! And so, I made a resolution. I decided that when I get overwhelmed and when the darkness begins to creep in, I am going to put myself in time out. I am going to simply step aside and do what I should have been doing from the beginning. I am going to ask for help to see through this muddled mess of motherhood enough to be able to actually see the beauty. Because it is lovely and breathtaking and miraculous, every single skinned knee and tantrum and fight for freedom. Because they are unique, and I am their mother, and they are mine. Mine! For such a short little while in their lives, I am their world, and I have such a unique and sacred responsibility and wonderful privilege to get to teach them and love them and help them discover and navigate this confusing and tumultuous life. And my goodness, I really do love it.
But can I just say, thank heavens for time out? I mean for me. If I couldn't put myself in time out for 5 minutes every day to regroup and collect myself sometimes, I am not sure I would still be the sane person I think I am.