Putting My Apron Over My Head

IMG_8436 IMG_8452 IMG_8454Every time I scratch their backs, I realize I can do this one more day.  I can mediate arguments and teach them how to fold a blanket one more time.  Face the kitchen sink at noon and shake my head at how it piled so fast.  Again.  Talk through why we don’t bite and hit.  Again.  Just one more day of it.  I can.  Because here they are, caught under the simple complex love of a mother’s 5 fingers stroking up and down a little bare back and they don’t move a muscle.  It’s contentment fleshed out.  No words from either of us.  But the child feels my limitless love and I know his.  I know hers.  The sky could be falling and we dare not move from this contented place.

The Christmas tree is coming down.  Ornaments packed safely away until next year. Trash cans spill over with boxes, tissue paper, empty foil pie pans, and lights that didn’t work.  Another Christmas tucked in warm hearts never to be forgotten.  There’s a lull about us.

And as long as little feet run hard and fast from room to room to room, there is this regularity.

As sure as Christmas comes.  As sure as two and two make four…

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Tomorrow, there will be messes to immediately follow the tidying.  Those I never anticipate.  The bottom of the bag cereal crumbs that are poured into a hand too fast and left in a crunchy display.   The colored pencils used as arrows when 2 boys play hard.  And one has the hand scar to prove it.  The campout that happens in the bathroom with every blanket and towel from the closet of linens.  And then, they could fill buckets with all the weeping when I ask them to clean it up.  That fire truck of a brothers that was broken when the fit went bad.  The ripping off of shirts when the fire ants look like a black paint explosion.  Asking them to come down off of the top of the neighbor’s fort.  And nearly passing out from waiting until they’re down to breathe.  I can! I will do it tomorrow.

Tomorrow,

But at 6:30 when dinner is cooking and almost burning and children are leaping off couches and chairs and missing tables by centimeters and angels, I just shake my head at the thoughts of doing it again tomorrow.  I’m 12 hours in and I secretly want to clock out.

But child-rearing isn’t shift-work, is it?

I’ve mothered a mere 8 years, but I’ve learned that ought to be on billboards.    Loving them when they’re otherwise hard to love.    When blankets are unraveled during nap time.  When you hear stomping feet under the umbrella of a hot temper.  For the fourth time today.  Squatting low and feeling them plop their hands in yours because they already know you’ll ask after they’ve done wrong. When “tired” sounds like a pleasant adjective compared to how you really feel down deep.

Tomorrow.

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I sometimes go to my bathroom for a breath of peace in the day.  To finish reading something.  Whisper prayers.  Cry.  I go there to sit.  To think.  To be in solitude for a minute or 10.  Though interruptions still come, my children are learning this is a sort of resting place for mama.  To busy themselves for a few minutes.  She will return!  

Squashed in the middle of bedlam, we need a peace place.

Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, raised 10 children during countless trials and hardships during the early 1700’s.  With so many children, she often found it a challenge to find a place to be alone in prayer.  She worked the gardens, milked the cow, schooled the children, and managed the house all by herself.  It’s a story all on its own.  Though, clever as she was, Mrs. Wesley taught her children that when they saw her with her apron over her head, she was not to be disturbed.  She was talking with the Lord.

Humbled and stirred, I need my apron.

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Because things are going to get sticky.

I will lose patience.

I will want to yell.

I will not want to do mama things.

I will stumble in exhaustion.

Sadness will overwhelm me.

I will say the wrong thing.

I will need my apron.  

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” – Isaiah 41:13  I’ll be preaching this to my soul in days of doubt.  Maybe you too…

Tomorrow is coming.  I think we should ready our aprons~

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Comments

  1. And sometimes i feel all alone with these feelings. Its nice to know i am not alone. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mary Henderson says:

    Beautiful, Kristen, just beautiful! Thank you for eloquently expressing what so many of us mammas feel. Tomorrow is coming and His grace is sufficient. Praise! Bless you and your sweet family in this new year. Miss and love you dearly!

    • Mary, it’s so good of you to write and to share. I miss you so! You’re a beautiful mother, inside and out. Thank you for shining your light! Happy New Year to all of you Hendersons!!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Great reminder for us moms.

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