It only takes about one week of school before the idealistic plans I have for my family’s morning routine go up in flames, and I am brought back to earth. Today — on the 6th day of school — the fire started. And it was a doozy, my friends.
When my alarm went off at 6:00 this morning, I hit the snooze button twice. In. My. Sleep. (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it). When I awoke 20 minutes later, and remembered that I was supposed to attend a tea for new moms at the school, panic set in because I actually needed to squeeze in a shower before getting the kids out the door — THAT was the death of any hope of having a peaceful morning with my family, and my feet hadn’t even hit the floor. (Not that I don’t shower on a regular basis. I’m just saying that there have been days when the demands of being a wife and mom have taken precedence over my personal hygiene. I hope someone can relate.)
So I jumped in the shower, confident that at least my daughter would wake to her own alarm and get herself dressed, leaving me just enough time to get my shower in and throw on some clothes. But she also slept through her alarm. So when I climbed the stairs at 7:00, everyone was still asleep.
I woke Taylor first to get her moving. She is my only indepenent child who can actually button, snap, and tie all articles of clothing, so starting there is always a good strategy. Then I woke Zachary and told him to start putting on his uniform while I ran downstairs to make sure Kory had started breakfast. Fortunately for me, he had. He is a great dad.
Then, I flew back up the stairs to check on Zachary who was yelling from his room that he couldn’t find any of his uniforms. This was strange because I ironed a week’s worth of them on Sunday and set them on his bed to be put away. He didn’t do that. Instead, during a valient effort to tidy his room, he assumed they were dirty and threw them all in the dirty clothes. Fail. Back down the stairs to iron the chapel uniform…again.
Once everyone was dressed, I got them downstairs for breakfast. Oatmeal with blueberries in it. Delicious. Except not to Taylor. She does NOT like what happens to blueberries when they are placed in warm oatmeal. (Kory forgot — poor guy.) She refused to eat her breakfast. Tears actually ensued.
We opened the pantry to find something else to give her. But since we were out of milk, bread, eggs, and bacon there was little to choose from. So we gave her a Muscle Milk protein shake and some saltines. Yummy.
While Kory was talking Taylor off the cliff over her breakfast, our youngest, Reed, who apparently is related to Stretch Armstrong, took his breakfast and created abstract art…on his back. Thankfully, we had not yet dressed him. Kory stripped his jammies off of him, wiped down the high chair, and spoon fed him the rest of his breakfast.
But remember Zachary? We had dressed him and, bless his heart, he managed to spill the blueberry enfused oatmeal all over the front of his chapel shirt. THE ONE I JUST IRONED TWICE. The other one was in the dirty clothes with all of his other clean uniforms, so I fished it out, got the ironing board out again and went to work. I think tomorrow, we’ll eat in our jammies. And I won’t try ironing for the whole week again…waste of time!
Finally, we got into the car. I turned on a Christian radio station to help lift our spirits, and we began the drive to school. After a few minutes, I turned the radio down and asked Taylor to lead us in prayer since our wheels-off morning hadn’t including anything spiritual.
But as she began to pray, I found myself stuck in the same left-turn only lane I have been forgetting every day for a week now to avoid. So while Taylor prayed for a peaceful and calm day, I put the pedal to the metal of my red minivan and darted out into traffic so that I could get into the next lane. She actually stopped mid-prayer and said, “whoa…what was that?” I ignored her.
Finally, we made it to school, at which point I realized I was driving on fumes. I didn’t have my cell phone, and my wallet was on the kitchen counter at home. Geeze. The ride home would harken back to one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes where Kramer decides to drive as far as he possibly can without getting gas. It was funny when he did it! It was NOT funny when I had to do it!
But I did make it home. And when I walked into the house, I finally breathed. And then I did laugh. The scene we had left was something right out of a movie. No family could possibly be this messy. Except we were. And we are. I let it go.
I have a friend who has wisdom beyond my own at least three-fold. We are both Christians, and we are both attorneys. But her kids are grown, and I always treasure her perspective. At lunch several years ago, during a discussion about the busyness associated with raising young children, she shared with me that her definition of “maturity” is “the constant lowering of expectations.” Those words stuck with me, but I believe they have only recently begun to take root in my own heart and soul.
To be clear — my friend is not saying that we should live lives of mediocrity. She is a dedicated member of her church, she is an amazing wife and mom, and she is a successful attorney. But what she is saying is that it’s liberating to recognize our imperfections as we strive to live a life of contentment in light of God’s grace.
So that is what I’m trying to do, particularly amidst life in the “daily grind.” I have high expectations for myself as a Christian, as a pastor’s wife, as a mom, and as a professional. And I have high expectations for my family. But I am also trying to let go of things that have no eternal significance, focus my energy on the things that do, and embrace God’s grace as the path that leads to a life of contenment.
And that is my prayer for my family and for each of you.
What idealistic plans are you learning to let go of? This mom of three would love to learn from your experiences!