29 Oct 2015

A New Way To Look at Your Old, Boring, Routine Life

Some days there’s so much to share but none of it is interesting or original so you don’t say anything.

A kid lost his ever-loving mind in front of a guest because he discovered you’d eaten his laffy taffy. The kitchen is covered in dirty dishes. Again. And there are days you despair of ever catching up on all the after school activities and forms. Oh man, the forms. I sign them and sort them and turn them in and then they all turn up again tomorrow on my desk.

Some days I love washing the dishes. My hands are in love with my new sink and even the soap is a delight. Other days I’m full of resentment that it’s me, again, at the sink.

There are so many soccer practices I often drive to the wrong field.

And there’s a preschool daughter who gets schlepped along and I’m torn between feeling bad for her and feeling bad for myself that we both have to be there so much. Because at heart I’m the mom who’d rather be home cozied up with a good movie and a blanket. None of these are bad things – they’re just the pebble stuck in the bottom of your shoe that at first is only annoying but after a while makes you want to throw that shoe across the room.

It doesn’t help that I’ve been gone and Peter’s been gone – both for work – with a much higher frequency than normal.

Normal feels all stretched out and squidy around the edges when you’re splitting time and to-dos and yet it’s the stuff of life and marriage and kids and work that everyone lives. The panic of figuring out new school systems that require 5 days advance notice to make a change to the bus schedule and how that complicates organizing play dates for while you’re out of town. But you’re the grown up and while this still surprises you, this is the work of grown ups – organizing the mundane details that keep a family chugging along.

We’ve run right out of a steam a few times. Or at least, maybe it’s that we’ve each taken our turn to blow off steam – snapping at each other and biting off heads and corners of hearts – until we’re too tired to do anything else but fight the Wendy’s drive through lane and come home to chilli and baked potatotes that I didn’t have to cook. And we curl up next to each other on the couch – a kid on each side – and take comfort in simply being together and sharing our french fries.

See, nothing dramatic. Nothing out of the ordinary. Hardly worth writing about.

But this is the stuff of our seasons right now. How I drive the curving bends of Forest Avenue every morning and afternoon and never get tired of the golden, glorious trees even while I sometimes get tired of the driving.

We are a season of contradictions – life and death – like fall. Snapping and sniping all while loving each other fiercely enough to care that someone else was mean. We pass down the chocolate frosties. We hold hands. And at night I lie with Zoe in the bath and talk to her about beauty. About round preschool bellies that remind me of acorns – packed with all the potential to grow into giant oak tress. This is beauty, I tell her. This belly of yours loves you because it offers you life and length and growth and height – all stored up in there waiting for the right season.

She wraps her arms around my neck and we lie among the floating barbie dolls and it’s finally quiet.

Tomorrow we’ll discover we’ve run out of milk and there will be a panic when cereal is no longer an option for breakfast. I’ll be grateful we still have some croissants and someone else will eat a bag of Teddy Grahams. This is just what you do. You feed and keep breaking your days and your life wide open with the needs of someone else and it’s so terribly inconvenient for the lazy side of me that just wants to sleep in.

This holy work of making mornings a place of safety and the day a place of great expectations for elementary size kids.

Over and over and over again.

Morning by morning.

And when I look around the house on the days I haven’t made it to making the beds the sheets seem filled with last night’s laughter. And the abandoned music stand seems to chuckle with all those false notes played so enthusiastically last night. And the doll house furniture left lining the living room rug tells me it’s worth writing down.

All of it.

Every word.


{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    You do such a wonderful job of encouraging mothers in all their many forms. I am a grandmother and wish you had been around when I was doing this dance! Thank you!

  2. 2

    I’m at the end of my day here in Norway, and I’m not very proud of words that were spoken and heart attitudes that I carried today. But your words come as balm, as they so often do, and encourage me to go again tomorrow. Thank you for speaking into the real.

  3. 3

    Thank you Lisa for your from-the-heart words that paint a picture of some of your wearying, everyday, ordinary life moments… the kind of busy that we all want to just.be.done.with some (most) days! The kind of busy that we regularly convince ourselves that we must be the ONLY ones who are leading such a hectic paced life. The only ones with a messy house. The only ones who do not have dinner on time or perfectly planned out ahead of time. Honestly though, I wonder, if we did not have those kind of days, how much would truly appreciate the snuggled up moments when all is well with house & hearts? Earlier this week after we had dropped our teens off at school, we made a very short stop on the way home (hubby had a work appt. to get to so QUICK was necessary), for me to take some photos of the brilliant yellow, early morning sun glowing through the fog over a local dyke. The sight was heart stoppingly breathtaking! The awesomeness of God’s creation & the awareness of His presence in that moment, in that place, broke me & all I really wanted to do was to stay long…to walk in the stillness….and to worship. But our reality was the rush of the morning. Onward ho! …..Through my day though, I often thought of those majesty moments, and realized that the God who was present in those quiet, still, majestic moments, is also the God who is delighted to be present in my busy, disorganized, hectic, ordinary, everyday… right.where.I.am.now moments..when the house is a mess, when there is nothing thawed out to eat for dinner…again…. and the rush is all around me as well as swelling within. I can much more easily worship Him there in the beauty, in the quiet, but I have to remember that I can (and desperately need to) worship Him here in my ordinary, in the everydayness that hides behind each Mom’s closed doors…, and as I choose to worship Him here (where I do not want to be), rather than wishing that I could worship Him THERE (where I would prefer to be) His beauty fills and quiets and my soul finds rest.
    I am so happy to have just started getting your emails. Your writing is so refreshingly honest. Your family is blessed to have you!

  4. 4

    O my! so totally get this. it’s like not much and way too much all at the same time, all the time! i recently found this Virginia Woollf quote which i so identify with as a writer: “life piles up so fast that i have not time to write the equally fast rising mounds of reflection”. Always enjoy reading you! bless your mama heart! Please pop by and check out my just begin parenting series: The Best Parents… {what we want to be and how we are so often not and what to make of it all}.

  5. 5
    Rachel Ruby says:

    Love this Lisa! Thank you so much for sharing. These things are most definitely worth writing about! It is the little everyday things that make up a life. Thank you for that reminder to look for the little shimmers of grace in every thing!

  6. 6

    Lovely! And encouraging.

  7. 7

    Oh thank you. I needed to read these words at this very moment.

  8. 8

    Lovely post. I love hearing about living in the ordinary and how to be thankful and at peace with everyday life. This speaks into that. Thank you. :)

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