Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back to basics

Psalm 118:17 (NIV)

I will not die but live,
   and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
Kristie and the boys visited her parents this week, leaving late afternoon Wednesday (read: rush hour) and returning early evening tonight, just as I was finishing up mowing the lawn for the first time since July 4. The boys got haircuts while they were in Fulton (which Charlie proudly explained to me as best he could, punctuated with enthusiastic hops and fist pumps) and so each looks considerably older than however much a child ages naturally over the course of three days.

As Kristie has a social engagement tonight, I spent the evening home alone with three of my favorite people. They barely needed me, except to supply food and nudge them into the bathtub far later than usual, but in accordance with the naps they all took in the car. I also temporarily abdicated my laundry responsibilities in favor of completing the first 14 steps of assembling the rocket for Jack’s Cub Scout launching event Sunday afternoon.

None of this is remarkable, of course, except for the fact it is my family and I missed being with them. On Thursday I gave my mother a list of the errands and chores I hoped to complete before everyone returned. She said, “And you are sharing this with me because…?” I didn’t have a good answer. The to-do list wasn’t all that long, but I am entirely unfamiliar with doing things on my own schedule, in whatever order I choose. It’s almost unnatural.

After nine years of parenting, my internal body clock tells me when to start getting kids ready for bed. I am unsure what to do with myself when there’s a basket of clean diapers in the living room and yet no child to change as frequently as possible. I had to search the house for enough dishes and cups to fill the dishwasher and started to wonder how many days I could go without running the laundry machine if I had only my clothes to keep clean.

But now that everyone is home the water and electricity meters are back to spinning at full speed. The house is no longer eerily quiet and the counters and floors I de-cluttered have returned to their natural state. As much as it might drink me bonkers, my idea of normal involves short people chasing one another around the main floor of the house, shrieking with laughter and somehow making even more noise when they collide.

God has been very good to me and to our family. My eardrums might be a bit worse for the wear, and I’m starting to wonder if the home will survive long enough for us to get all the children through high school. But there is much to be said for those days when simple blessings let me know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in this life. I don’t always to the best job of sticking to the charted course, but I know I’m pointed in the right direction.

A prayer for July 27:

Lord, thank you for a house filled with laughter and love. Please help me do my best to set a good example for my children in all I say and do, and may they never doubt how loved they are by their parents and by you. You are our eternal home. Amen.

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