It’s a spring day in the middle of winter. A quiet stare through a beam of the sun points to imperfections on the wood- paneled wall nearby. A spatter of dust, I run my fingertip catching the few that would fly away. My hand stops while my heart studies each imperfect divot, scratch, and stain. A smile. I had waddled through the year of the light saber with three obsessed little boys and one little girl on the way. With each scratch of wood, I could hear my constant complaints, my screams and pleas for the Star Wars Light Saber duels to carry outside. For months, I’d mend a few wounds of the wood with Old English only to see them fade back into my life. Would these boys ever sit still, sit down, stop beating everything and anything with mere plastic till destruction arose? It seemed endless. And now, it’s over.
The three littles are big. I beg to see them run around and destroy once more. Even the two little girls that followed are caught up in the new play of “i” this and “i” that. But it was the years in-between Darth Vader and Minecraft that drove my smile to full blown laughter. The homeschooling mother of 5. Well, four and the fifth and most energized infant known to man. I had morphed into something I’d pitied. So many mothers dress for success and have mastered the ability to sell it well. I was not one of them. A once controlling, clean freak with a pantry full of pledge. . .my beautiful white neatly vacuumed floor had now turned hot pocket covered floor in a matter of just three children’s time. Yes, you heard me right. Hot pocket covered floor. Life became life and children played while momma shuffled laundry, dishes, mealtime and schooling. . .all while one little girl constantly at the breast. It was a three ring circus in a petting zoo. Quite the attraction. Did anyone know it? Not really. Not if you gave me a ten minutes notice. I was tired, busy breeding and raising puppies and chickens, cows and kiddos while the hubby traveled. My standard was to stay just above CPS standards. But everyone was healthy, happy and well fed. Well, fed with hot pockets that is.
There was a sale on everything hot pocket. So, I bought it. The picture looked good and microwavable nutrition was not only acceptable, but fully justified in my sight. The littles loved them, but never finished them. And while I rested on the sofa, they’d visit me, hot pocket and all. Now, it wasn’t unusual to find a nugget or french fry nestled between couch cushions. But the day I found my first hot pocket, I knew we were headed down, way beyond the standards I had set so low. Then those standards were soon deemed way too high when in a matter of 2 days I had actually stepped on two hot pockets on the floor. Bewildered, amazed, confused and somewhat upset, I picked them up and went on my way, past the injured wood paneled hallway.
Let the Hot pocket’s fall! It literally seemed like it was raining Hot pockets. The finale of our Hot pocket season was on a Saturday. Our oldest, arriving at the front door, flew in the house excited from a basketball win, hopped over the sofa to pour out his adventures when he slipped and fell to the ground. To our amazement, or better described as disgust. . .a hot pocket. It was like manna. I picked them up and the next morning they would miraculously re-appear. . .in multiples.
Now, present day, with tears streaming down my face through laughter, I see the line of shoes neatly placed by the door. The windows are clean and pillows fluffed on the sofa. My house, while cluttered is now clean. While others deemed me pretty much unfit to parent in those days of chaos, I had the time of my life. So I grab my non pregnant belly, now hurt from giggles and I wish to revisit just one moment as the ring master. . .just one more cape around a kid’s neck. . .just one more hot pocket.
This life is but a vapor, a mist on a cold day. Here one day, gone the next. I know this too well and although I’ve spent many years in a frenzy of clean up, wipe up, and dress up. . .God opened my eyes or more like, my heart, one day and I’ve tried to never look back.
In the reality of life, I have learned my limits. Have embraced my talents and have let go of man’s view of perfection. I have discovered what is important to both me and my children. Life on earth is short. . .so very short. Just ask any empty nester out there and they will tell you it was simply a blink of an eye ago when their married children were in diapers; learning to master those first steps. Eternity on the other hand is forever. My focus as an almost 41 yr old mother of five has changed from the constant living up to expectations of this life to showing my children Christ’s love, dedication, loyalty, Grace and Mercy. It has changed my life and most importantly. . .it has changed theirs. We no longer run around just to be running. I no longer yell and scream at the “mess” in the house.
I can do laundry all day long, every single day of the week and still only succeed at being caught up for a mere 24 hr period. What do I get? A metal?
;A pat on the back from my friends? Self glorification? What does it matter? “In the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.” -Philippians 2:16. While I do not necessarily condone a floor full of french fries or Hot pockets. . .I believe mothers today are constantly measured against the Pinterest ideals, the mirage of a perfect neighbor, friend, or family member. This need to “be” or “do” is the reason I must constantly look to Christ and the eternal.
“You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” -James 4:14. After merely 18 yrs of mothering, I offer this advice for you to leave or take.
- Embrace the life the Lord has given you. Whether or not it is the one you dared to dream.
- Slow down and smile at the imperfections.
- Listen to the laughter or your littles.
- Hug constantly and wipe away tears with a tender heart instead of frantically being irritated by the speed bump placed in your busy-filled day.
- Learn to love and teach it by example.
- Leave the dishes for the night and read a book to the kids
- Live for the eternal
And lastly. . .go buy a box of Hot pockets.