I read very few blogs regularly. Maybe four or five. Surprisingly, as a non-religious person myself, there is one blog I do enjoy even though we do not share that particular aspect in our lives at all (the Christian lifestyle, for one thing. Also the farming one). Amy has a gift and I take from her blog what I can to pick myself up and dust myself off whenever this need presents itself. (Often, apparently).
For example, nothing I have come across recently has applied more to my life than something I saw on her blog just a short while ago. Amy quoted someone else, interestingly, but she has this knack of putting words together into a blog post that resonates so wonderfully with me. I can say this for a fact because I read that particular post a few days ago but it stayed with me, today, during a snow day when all the family was home and there was more clutter and mess and wet clothing around than usual.
I remembered that post while hanging up, for the umpteenth time, the 3 year old’s wet snowsuit (how long is the average preschooler’s attention span anyway?). I remembered it again while in two stores looking for a cheap tiara and not finding one. I remembered it while making a tiara out of an empty cereal box and tin foil, stickers and glitter, and bits of paper which were distributed everywhere an hour prior to dinner at the table where we eat dinner.
Amy quoted Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood, who said, among other things:
Instead of seeing fusses and messes as irritations in my day, for instance, I am more likely to see them as opportunities to train my children to be peacemakers and to learn to be responsible for their own messes. Instead of resenting the interruptions in my schedule, I am more likely to accept them as divine appointments.
Hm. How interesting is that?
There are two important tidbits I take from this little quote. One, the ‘fusses and messes’ that exist around here hardly register on those kids’ brains. They don’t care if they have to eat at a table with stickers and sticky spots. They remember the reason why there are stickers and sticky spots, possibly well into and past their immediate childhood. (Plus mommy takes endless photographs!)
It is only me who gets irritated at the extra work. And the mess and clutter. But why? I ask myself this right now, while typing the words. Why am I irritated? Will they want me to make them a homemade item that they get to decorate themselves, in a few years time? I must learn to let go…I must learn to live in the moment. I look back at the photographs and remember my own joy at seeing their delight with their cardboard crowns. We bonded, learned something together, and made a memory. THIS is what is priceless (and the mess won’t interfere with that either).
The other is the ‘learn to be responsible for their own messes’ tidbit. This is the kind of thing I preach on a daily basis, so often and so consistently that 50% of the time, they actually remember to do some of those chores without me
asking telling nagging reminding them. (It warms my heart when I walk past his room and see his pjs folded neatly and placed at the foot of his bed without the slightest hint of reminder coming from me.)
Twice today the 5 year old boy went out to shovel and play. Twice today he came in and dropped his entire wet gear along the tiny hallway and into the livingroom. Twice we called him away from his Lego to pick up his stuff. Twice we quizzed him why it may not be a good idea to hang up a wet snowsuit inside a closet, or leave soaking gloves in a basket full of dry ones. (Think boy, why should you not put that in there?) Twice, he had to come back and take charge of his mess.
Aside: by the time winter is over in these parts, he will have mastered this skill in time for the next winter season 6 months down the road. Right?
Bonus points today for Sonja, who, upon observing very carefully our intricate exchanges with Ben about wet snowsuits, went placing all her wet items on top of the vents. Everytime I stepped into a room a saw a floor vent covered with a single boot, a crumbled scarf, or lonely mitt. (I wonder which vent she put that other sock on?)
I am on a mission. Today is another first day of the rest of my parenting life with those tiny children who grow so fast and make my heart ache.