Coming to terms
I’d intended to write a cute post about how we came around to renaming our blog “A Place For Little Feet”. About the plethora of little feet that surround our life here, be they animal or human, there are many. But this post is all I could come up with and it may not be cute but it’s honest and honest is all I have to offer right now….
Last Wednesday found this mama of six in a mess of a kitchen trying to uncover some counter to make lunch for the hungry. There wasn’t a square inch available. Of the counter or of the mama. There were dishes and the various random somethings that inevitably get left out when eight people live in a home together and live a full, big life together. And there was the heart worn thin from ragged survival-mode days that take more than you think they do. The cumulative total effect of a year that was harder than the past several on many levels finally coming to be counted. Like it was time to pay the piper and the debt is always more than you think it is right?
Somehow, I’d been trying to keep up with my five-kid life pace despite having now six. Trying to fit in, accomplish, DO everything I deemed necessary and good and crucial whilst the reality of the half a dozen sweet things that call me mom was in the clouds and posed no limitations. Never mind the well-meaning “Well, I guess once you have a few, it really doesn’t make a difference adding more right?”. Words like that rang in my mind as the months ticked by and I kept doing and kept keeping up with my (many) friends who have two or three children. I made sure to say yes whenever it was humanly possible and worked hard to make all the moving parts of our life somehow keep moving.
Where things got off course, I don’t really know. Well, I have some ideas but that really is a whole other post. Though Liberty is a sweet thing of a baby, has been from Day 1, she is still a person. She requires attention and care and mental/physical energy. She is absolutely, unequivocally a profound gift that we are incredibly thankful to have been given and wouldn’t trade for anything. But to operate without any adjustments when someone new joins the family, is foolish. No matter how much like super mom you might feel like. When my wise friend (and mother of eight) up yonder says things like “I just don’t know how you’re keeping up with this pace….” I should do a little inventory and assess just how we are keeping it up. Instead, we just kept on going.
Until last week when we were one day away from going on vacation and I said I couldn’t go. Friends, if you get to the point you can’t handle going on vacation (albeit with the entire extended family which, though crazy fun, also requires a certain ability to function) then perhaps you can’t handle your normal life either. That same day I was in my (disastrously messy) kitchen a woman walked into my backyard. Not living in a neighborhood but out in the country this was highly unusual. I looked closer through the window and recognized her from church. I walked out on the deck and said as calm of a hello as I could muster and asked what she was doing here. She smiled and said she was here for the meeting, the VBS planning meeting that I’d offered to host. She walked into my lived in, things-all-over living room and I just tried to keep breathing. The fact that I was hosting a meeting and hadn’t a clue, was again evidence of the debt and the time had come for some re-evaluating. She told me how coming in to my house in this condition was like a warm hug, because how often her own house looked the same. I silently wished I could just have given her an actual, real warm hug instead of endure sitting through the meeting wondering how I was functioning this poorly.
I called my husband at work and told him I could not possibly go on vacation. He graciously offered to take our five oldest with him and left me at home for a couple of days. I would join him if I was able. And I had serious doubts about just what I was able to do. I had been trying to keep up with too much for too long. Something had to give. And the reality was, something had given. Me. Every day of the week, every hour of the night, living, breathing, giving. To a degree that was far beyond was was intended for any person, whether they have six children, a slew of animals and all sorts of people with needs (and brokenness) interwoven into their life…or not.
About at that point, I read this post. I sat shaking my head at my computer, which I only sit at every few days even, no time to read. Planned neglect. It sounded strange, how could neglect be a good thing, but then it all made perfect sense. I’d said yes to so much good and tried to be faithful to so many great things and needs that I’d missed out on doing the very best things excellently. My kids paid a price, as did I. The mom they had two years ago was more focused, more intentional, most aware of her own need and thus more dependent on grace to come through. The mom and dad they had two years ago did not have their hands in so many different things and they loved each other patiently, kindly. They did a few things and did them well.
There are so many great things. But we weren’t created to do them all. We were made with limitations and needs that God alone can meet. We were designed each to give and love in certain circles and to learn how to say yes and when to say no. I do know this, but I absolutely have not practiced it. The pie was sliced in so many pieces that the ones who matter the most, who are my first calling if my priorities are right, got less than best. My practical husband who often has short, simple and clear wise answers to life’s challenges heard my heart last week and agreed with my “state of the union” assessment. And he knew better than to give a quick easy answer. When a significant course correction is in order, there isn’t a quick and easy five steps today and we’ll be good to go tomorrow sort of way forward.
So, I guess that’s all today, just coming to terms here with the reality of my life with all these little feet. And its a beautiful reality. A treasured, blessed one for certain. One I need to make count every day, in the all the right ways.