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Thursday, August 27, 2015

God Bless This Mess

Yesterday, God taught me a sweet lesson.

A couple weeks ago, my mom said, "one day you'll miss those fingerprints on the door."
"No, mom," I assured her, "I may miss the good things, like the cuteness and the innocence of children growing up, but I won't miss the bad stuff, like the messes they leave or the gross things they do."
She ran her fingers along the little fingerprints on my door and said, "Oh," and left it at that, knowing she was right, but that I was still too young to understand.

Then yesterday happened.  We started our first day of homeschool.  Steve woke us all for family prayer and headed out the door to work.  I wanted to have school done by lunchtime so my kiddos could play the rest of the afternoon away with their friends, so we got dressed and went to work right away.  I had decided to combine P.E. with their grammar lesson, so I told everyone to get on their shoes, I grabbed their language lessons book, and we headed out the door to go on our walk.  As I approached the driveway, I was greeted by Amara who was "all ready to go!"  My initial reaction to what I saw was, "Oh no.  Must we?"

"Amara, you're going to be too tired to haul that around, and then I'm going to have to pull it along, why don't we just leave it."
"No, I can do it.  It's really easy." she pleaded.
"Just leave it." I said.
So she started to wheel it into the garage, when something inside told me, to just let her bring it.
"Fine." I said, wanting to get on with things, "But you'll have to pull it."
I relented and let her bring along her over-sized stuffed dog, placed atop her old carseat, placed atop our garden wagon.  Her dog had a blanket tucked around it, just in case it got cold.

I know my mom would be saying, "Oh!  So cute!"  In my mind I was saying, "You shouldn't let her bring that!  You know she'll be distracted, won't listen, and get tired of hauling it around."

We went on our walk.  We began to review the poem we had been memorizing.  We had only passed about 5 houses before Amara was distracted because her dog's blanket was sliding down.  So, we stopped, fixed it, got back on track and started talking about synonyms and antonyms.  A few houses later, Lily hopped on the wagon, and Amara pulled her, I turned around to look at them to make sure they were listening.  I couldn't tell.  Lily was smiling facing backward and Amara was trudging hard.  I continued with the lesson, asking them questions, and they gave me correct answers, so we moved right along.  Then, Lily offered to pull me.  She made it look so fun, that I didn't pass up that opportunity.   I hopped on, Amara pushed, Lily pulled, and I actually had a lot of fun riding in the wagon.  I'm sure people who saw us had a queer expression on their face as they saw a mom reading aloud, sitting on a stuffed animal, on a carseat, on a wagon which was being pulled by 2 small girls.  If they could hear me, I was reciting "All Things Bright and Beautiful," by Cecil Alexander.  Then the girls were tired.  We all stopped, sat on the wagon along the roadside and continued with our grammar lesson as we rested.  We waved to a few passerbys and spoke to a neighbor who came walking up the road.  Then, we started our walk back (for your information, I think we made it just shy of 1/4 mile before turning around).

"Mom, I'm tired."
"We're almost home."
"This is heavy."
"You can do it." I encouraged her.
She trudged along pulling the wagon with the animal a little further before I said, "Let me try that," and took the wagon handle from her and pulled it home the rest of the way.  I ended up pulling that wagon after all, but at least we got the grammar lesson complete.

So, nothing really out of the ordinary for us.  Similar things like this happen every single day.  I probably wouldn't be sharing it here if it weren't for what happened at night.  I was laying in bed with the lights out and saying my prayers.  I was recounting my day to my Father in Heaven, when He brought to my memory that experience earlier that morning, when the girls and I had gone for a walk.  I could picture that funny little scene of Amara holding the wagon filled with her happiness, and my reluctance to let her take it.  "You know," were the words that crossed my mind, "someday you are going to miss that."  Tears filled my eyes as I realized how fast time is moving.  I go to bed tired each night because my day has been filled with children and their learning, their joys, their sorrows, their pain, their messes, their complaining, their love, and their generosity.   I'm blessed with work, with the work of a mother, a mentor, a teacher, a maid, a nurse, a tech specialist, a cook, a gardener, etc. etc. etc...

Lesson learned: Life with kids is messy, but the moments turn to memories, and when your child companions are no longer children, you'll be glad you have messy memories because it reminds you of them!  So go on and make a mess!

So, wanna see a bit of our everyday messes?  Come up my front path.  It's the one flanked with tall weeds and interspersed with a few flowers.
 Don't look too close.  The weeds will draw the happiness out of your soul.  Just close your eyes when you pass it.  That's what I do.
 Next, step up to my porch.  You'll have to cross the random bath mat that the kids found blown into our yard and "decorated" the walkway with.  And watch out for the mop.  Why that's out of the garage is beyond me!
 Alright, you made it to our front porch.  This used to look welcoming.  Now it's just strange and scary.
 Below you'll see a dry weed that has been placed into the pot of sticks.  It's weird, but beautiful in it's own sort of way.
 Look closely and you can see it's decorated!  What the heck!  Are those the heads of my sweet petunias shish-ka-bobbed all over that dry weed?  Huh.

 And it's also neatly skewered with the shiny trash from a yogurt container.
 What are those round things in the pot with the sticks?  Those are more "decorations."  They are year old walnuts still in the shell.  I'm not touching them.  There's spiders in there.
 And then atop the table, you come across this old sour cream container in which sits a recently made "potion."  The kids love to play "witches" with their friends.  I see this gross concoction and think of "mosquito breeding grounds," but the kids see things differently.  I'm not touching that either.  They get to clean that up.
 Those old pipes...  Ha!  Fancy seeing those again!  I keep throwing them away and they keep wandering back out of the trash along with other random junk and making their home around my yard and front porch.
 The muddy hand smears all over the front door...
 This naked barbie greets you face down (good thing) as you walk in the house.
I know I've lost your trust for putting you through that gauntlet of terror before you entered my home, but if you look up, you can see that I do try to make a welcoming home.
 And even though the creativity of my children gets messy and dangerous, it also can bring me smiles.
Ah.  Time to go clean.  Again.


Margaret Christensen said...

What sweet memories. You capture it so well. Love, Mom C

Bobbie said...

Oh dear. It is hard to write this through my tears. It is one of the most beautiful of posts ever! Yes, I will miss the 'precious impressions' they leave behind in their path that we walk with them. Someday, they will have children, too. And you will say the very same thing I did. hehe I love you, Lani for capturing this and writing it down to share the joy with us. My heart is full :)