For when you get to the end of a long snow day and look around the house and wonder, how? Just how does it always come down to this? The juggernaut of chaos that lives in between these walls. You still wearing the long sleeve TShirt you stole from your little brother last time you were home. Or maybe the time before that.
And the boys who made all this mess, they wilt and whine and drop down on the floor in a pretty good imitation of sinking sand at the suggestion that they pick it all up again. Maybe you’re losing your voice by then and maybe you’re thinking that the neighbor up the road, she doesn’t have these sort of hamster wheel conversations and if only you could live up to your own ideal of a day at home.
But maybe you remember what someone else said, how this season of raising small humans is the sweat and blood and tears of growing futures out of a whole lot of muddy beginnings and it’s OK to be tired. It’s OK that your hair is clipped back at a crazed angle. So, OK that you remember to laugh instead of sigh when you catch sight of it in the mirror.
And maybe those verses about “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden” applies to moms of preschoolers and toddlers too and that it’s the exact kind of theology you need at the end of your day and your rope and your supply of reserves. Cheerios crushed under foot. Snow pants hanging from the shower curtain rail, the kitchen chairs, the bunk beds.
Chances are there are icy, wet footprints melting into carpets across this neighborhood. This isn’t failure, this is living. This is life with kids and it’s OK that it tires you, just don’t let it defeat you. Drag the vacuum out again. And again. But don’t stop sending them out to play in their pink Hello Kitty boots and your own red gloves, Lisa-Jo. Don’t stop that part.
Just put in another tray of chocolate chip cookies while they’re outside.
And that good man, he lets them ride him cowboy, piggy back when they’re too cold to be booted back outside, but too riled up to be still. While you’re dishing up the fifth helping for the Michigander, you will stop, set the knife aside and step around the corner just to watch. You will see him, this man you’ve known since he turned 21. You will see him strapped down by the skinny arms and legs of three enthusiastic kids, glasses knocked off his head and no hope of surrender.
It’s enough to give a girl fleeting thoughts of a fourth.
No one has perfect figured out. No one makes it through the day with a perfect score. Heck, no one should be keeping score. Peter once told me that he doesn’t want to live in a museum. And tonight I laugh as I look around every single surface spilling over snacks and brown paper rolls pillaged from inside left over gift wrap and abandoned after just one round of sword play.
This is the heart beat of a home.
All that mess that makes you want to pull out your hair? That’s the good stuff, right there. That’s your pulpit and a day that’s preached home and grace and creativity and fresh mercies all in the span of 12 power packed hours. Go ahead. Put down the paper towels for a minute. Sit down. Put your feet up. Pour a cup of tea.
And just revel in a day well done.