Friday, May 14, 2010

The daily-ness

It has been quite a process but, alas, Lydia has finally filled up her sticker chart for staying dry at night: “Wakin’ up with a Dry Pull-up.” Her reward was setting up her fish tank again and, of course, getting fishies. Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 met their demise within a couple days. Lydia’s response, “I’m ok if they die, mom.” “Can we just go get more?” So much for my fear of her being traumatized! By the way, she named them, “Shirley Temple, Eliza, and Nemo”. Daddy named the fourth, “Pica” (because he was the first to eat and “pica” is a disorder in which individuals eat dirt and random other non-typical foods).

The themes “Fish died” and “Tree fall down” are repeated by Tobias as he notices the fish tank or the sticks in our front yard. Yes, our pear tree that broke from the ice a couple years ago has also met its demise, this time due to the high winds. As you can see it fell in a manner in which it did NOT touch our home. God is awesome! He certainly protected us and our house. Now we’re working on getting rid of it…

Lydia is into making up stories. Last weekend she declared, “Mommy, I want to write a book.” So we created one entitled “The Little Mermaid” – the storyline is quite close to “Jonah and the Whale”. She even added illustrations but quickly tired of that after a couple pages.

"1, 2, 3, JUMP!": Tobias can finally get both feet off of the ground at the same time after months of effort and frequent demonstration by his big sis. She LOVES to jump and now likes to jump off of things. :)

(Sorry, I can't get this pic to go vertical. You'll just have to tilt your head and hope no one sees you ;)

We had our first “Parent-Teacher Conference” on Tuesday. I can say I was a little nervous. Not exactly sure why… I suppose it’s the anticipation that the teacher will indicate that our child is extremely disobedient or that she’s mean or that there is something wrong developmentally. Alas, she is progressing nicely… Whew! We were encouraged by her teacher to set firm limits as Lydia “needs to know who is in charge,” that she doesn’t appreciate when kids take things from her (but does seek adult assistance in resolving the matter), and that she’s still struggling to write her name. On the up-side, she is caring, musical, engaged in the group, and enjoys the other children. I couldn’t be more thankful for her experience at the Apple Place this year and for her more than amazing teachers with hearts of gold and patience beyond measure.

(Lydia running and jumping into her teacher, Mrs. Ross', arms at the last-day picnic)

Yes, there are some days when I am simply emotionally exhausted. These little ones wear me down and out. Yet, in one of my “Proverbs 31 Ministries” devotions it reminds me to “rejoice in the daily-ness of life.” Here is a portion of that devotion by Ariel Allison Lawhon (2010) that speaks to my heart.

“In those moments I force myself to take a deep breath and thank God for this season of life. These children. The privilege of wiping noses and bottoms and countertops. A privilege many women would love to have, but don't. I remind myself that the days are long but the years are short. And one day I will look in the rear-view mirror and see empty seats. The cup that is overflowing right now will slowly drain. The stretch marks will fade. And I will find that a new set of daily struggles has overtaken me. When that day comes I will find the strength to face them as well because God gives the grace, daily.

The daily-ness.

As C.S. Lewis once said, "The thing is to rely on God... Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done."

Your daily-ness is probably different than mine, but it is nonetheless God-ordained. It is exactly what we need to live dependent on His grace instead of our own strength. The One who knows us best, who knit us together in our mother's womb, has allotted these days that are equal parts trial and triumph. And He knows that we will see Him most clearly from a place of dependence.

So today I embrace the normal things. The daily things. Another round of laundry. The ring in my toilet. The dust on my dresser so thick a child could write his name. But even more than that I want to celebrate the important things. A child slowly learning to read. A husband that finds his comfort in my arms. A baby who learns to walk and talk. Because all these are the things of life: some mundane and some holy. And all of them must be received daily.

Dear Lord, sometimes daily life is just hard. And we're tired. And overwhelmed. But You promised to be our strength and our hope and our comfort. So today we look to You for what we need. Would You meet us in this, our daily-ness, and help us receive Your grace? In Jesus' Name, Amen.”

So some day…
• Tobias will not erupt into a piercing scream at the slightest source of frustration and discontent.
• Lydia will not repeat “I want to do it myself!” (with attitude) 500 times a day.
• Toby will not distribute piles of sand all over the lawn (even though “sand stays in the sandbox” is a big rule around here).

• Lydia will not horde food, candy, special toys under her bed. She will not demand to use her pacifiers for sleep. She will not go to the bathroom 5 times after being put to bed…

Yet some day they also will not…
• Enjoy being sung to before they close their little eyes.
• Want to read with us, count everything and anything, fingerpaint with us…

• Enjoy driving trains on the windowsill for 10 minutes

• Make forts out of pillows
• Push strollers (filled with babies or trucks depending on the kid) around and around the “loop” of our downstairs
• Beg for “chok-et, gummies, and chuck chuck woosh! (swinging)”

• Be content watching tv during which they actually learn something
• Collect rocks,put themselves in cardboard boxes, dig in the dirt/mulch (and be ok with getting dirt dumped on them ;)

• Want to “help” daddy do anything and everything, help mommy cook or “keen” (clean)
• Be amazed and excited about any body of water from ponds to puddles.

So I’m sentimental today. Doing so helps me put the daily trials in perspective and embrace this season of life with open arms and a willing heart by the grace of God.

“Thank you, Heavenly Father, for entrusting these precious children, your creations to us. May we embrace this blessing and responsibility with joy, hope, and faithfullness. Amen.”