Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Redeeming the House and my Heart

So here I am, blogging again. Can I tell you the super duper retarded reason that I don't blog as much? It's because I have this thing... this thing where I HATE logging out of my email and then back in. So much that I just don't do it and therefore... don't blog. Is that dumb or what? But wait. Here's an idea. Since I check my email on my phone primarily, why not just stay logged into my blog on my laptop? I'm a little slow.

Today, I cleaned out my big hall closet. A lot. Like to the tune of purging three garbage bags out of it. I am so tired of my house being full of s*#t, pardon my cartoon french. I have lost count of how much stuff I've given away. It's so much that my friends are seriously worried that we're moving overseas. My hall closet now has space for more coats and room on the shelf. The bigger hall closet (deemed the "Tornado Closet" because of its location at the center of the house) has floor space and the topmost shelf is almost empty. Maggie's closet, where I had stuff stored, is now empty of my stuff. Next project: the Attic! Duh duh duh *cue scary music* I am so done. It's amazing how much stuff we've accumulated.

In the process, I homeschooled. Ty and I went through his entire Algebra book to date and went over the processes that he was unsure of. Brody and I did a math lesson and then I gave him some books on tape to keep him busy and happy. A while later, I heard his growl of frustration and made my way to where he was nested, only to find out "the stupid tape is broken!"... except it was at the end of the tape and needed to either be flipped over or rewound. For a child raised with his own iPod, this was a major inconvenience. He made himself a sandwich while it rewound.

Maggie and I had a great, ongoing conversation about life today. She's ridiculously funny. So witty. She got a new full sized bed yesterday and she tried not to move from it today. She ate, did school, helped me sort boxes, all from the squishy firmness of her "big girl" bed.

Chris and I discussed the cluster that was Maggie's check up yesterday. Her pediatrician is losing his mind. He interrupted, assumed, and lectured to the point that I was almost rude to him. He stopped. Chris recommended a carefully worded email.

I did all these things almost simultaneously today. My house isn't super clean but it is tidy. The kids did their school. The closets got cleaned. I got several long, whispery hugs from Chris that I am completely addicted to. And I found this... a page of homework from the very first time I went through Discipling by Grace circa 1999:

"While trying to do this assignment - Chris wants help going through his suits to give some away, Maggie wants to have a dialogue on why we should go to McDonald's, and Ty lets me know that he has poop in his pants. I get VERY angry every time I hear "Mommy! Mommy!" I'M TRYING TO WORK!"


"I woke up - sick, fatigued. Then I look around and now I'm overwhelmed. The floors need vacuuming, there are dishes in the sink, the table is full of the junk I emptied out of the van, my desk is overrun with papers, there are toys everywhere, the bathroom is dirty, etc, etc, etc. I end up either doing nothing and feeling disgusted with myself OR I push myself to clean and am mean to the kids and get even sicker."

I was dumbstruck at the difference in myself in the last twelve years. I wish I could go back in time and get myself to understand that the children and Chris WERE my job. Who gives a flying rat's ass about the dishes or the vacuuming? Those are just things that needed doing. My family was my job. I remember being so task oriented that Maggie and Ty were just interruptions.

In my defense, that's how you do every other job on the face of the earth. You have a job description. You have a list of tasks that need to be done and you do them. But being a mother is not a list of tasks or a job; it is a living, breathing, organic experience. It's not like pooping. It's like breathing. You don't put it off or try to hurry it along. You just breathe.

And also in my defense, I was still relatively new (just a few years) to the whole experience of washing dishes and clothes and cooking... I still had to think about them. As time has gone on and I've gotten so accustomed to doing those things, I don't have to give them a second thought. Remember when you learned to tie your shoes? For years after, you had to force your fingers into the right position, maybe even repeat under your breath the steps, "X them over, loop, over, under, loop, through, pull." When's the last time you had to think about tying your shoes? Huh? You can't even remember. You can talk on the phone, do whatever, and tie your shoes. That's what housework is like to me now. I do it without ever giving it conscious thought. But back then, back when my kids were little, I still had to think about it. And add to that the constant demand of their persistent voices and no wonder I got so frustrated!

The older I've gotten, the more relaxed I've gotten. There's a reason for that: I am not defined by the state of my house or how nice my kids are to me. My kids are sinners just like me. They don't mean to be unkind to me. They don't try to hurt my feelings. They are just like me. I don't try to be selfish or say mean things to people. But I get caught up in my own little world and before I know it, I've hurt someone. That's what they did to me. Poor things. They had no idea why I was so angry with them all the time.

I mentioned this to them tonight and asked them if they remembered it. Nope. Not even a little. They have no recollection of a messy house or a screaming mother. They remembered the walks we took in the woods and the trips to my mother's house. And today, my two oldest, at different times without knowledge of the other, came to me, hugged me and told me thank you for all the ways I helped them today.

I wish I could tell my younger self to hang in there. One day, they get older and become aware of you as a person. One day, all that housework becomes second nature. One day, they clean up after themselves. One day, they look down upon you and say "Thank you."

God's grace is sufficient. For my sin, for my children's memories, and for my heart. He is making even this right. Redemption is a beautiful thing.