Working on finding true joy.
True joy like my oldest, Elijah, 5, singing and snuggling and rocking his baby sister Bethany (2) to sleep yesterday at nap, then dragging her to the bed and tucking her in with a kiss and a "good nap." Standing outside the door listening to him croon, off-key and off-tempo, each and every request of his sister until she hung limply in his arms. One of the most precious things I have ever seen. Baa-baa black sheep, away in a manger, twinkle twinkle, Jesus Loves me . . .the sweet repeat of countless bedtime rituals with him, repeated by him. This boy is going to make a great daddy.
True joy like obedience and helpfulness when I need it most. Life and marriage have been especially tough lately. As much as I try and hide my sorrow, my pain, my hurt and most of all my anger, some of it seeps through into my mothering. When the children are pushing each and every button I have, tiring me out, disobeying at nap. I felt myself getting to that point. The point where every word coming out will be a criticism, a yell, a correction. So I stopped. We sat. I put them all on the couch, told them I was tired, sad, angry and I was frustrated with the way they were treating each other. I went one by one, told them why they were so special. Words of affirmation that they needed but more importantly I needed to remind myself of. They all left the couch grinning from ear to ear and Elijah immediately took control of the situation. He grabbed the clean up list, assigned chores to his sissies, came into where i was cleaning up and said "Let me get that for you mom, I can do it" and he unloaded the dishwasher. Every piece of silverware got crammed in the drawer, every dish shoved in the cupboards and he was just beaming. He knows I HATE the dishwasher. He immediately finished and grabbed a rag to wipe the table and counters, just like he's seen me do. He found the clothes on the floor and put them in the laundry. Checked on his sissies and got them back on task. "What else mama? What else can I do to help you?" Words to bless a mama's ears. True joy that, while I may not be doing everything right, while I may yell more than I want to, my actions, my love, my service are being noticed. In that brief 30 minutes of helpfulness I saw my little boy becoming a man. I wanted to weep.
These moments I am able to see the fruit of my efforts. My constant discipline. My constant teaching. My kids know how to be helpful. They do have empathy. They do love and want to serve one another.
I was snapped back to the grind shortly after the helpfulness. The bad attitudes brought on by hunger and tiredness caught up with the children. I was ready. I was in my prime. "Stay calm and press on!" We ate a snack, we read books, we snuggled and told silly stories, they took a really long bubble bath and played bedbugs naked while I changed the sheets. They had dinner late with daddy and went to bed an hour later than I wanted them to. I am not in control. But I can influence my home. I set the tone. Yelling, fighting, angry? Fun, silly, playful?
I choose joy for my family.