"Those were the salad days, the halcyon years! The sleepless nights, the wailing babies; the days the interior of the house looked like it had been hit by a hurricane; the times i had five kids, a chimpanzee, and a wife in bed with fever. Even when the fourth glass of milk got spilled in a single night, or the shrill screeching threatened to split my skull, or when I was bailing out some son or other...from a minor predicament at the police station, they were good years, grand years.
But it all zipped by. One minute my wife and I were in it up to our eyeballs, and next thing we knew the kids were borrowing the car and fleeing the coop for college. And now, here I am. In my nineties and alone."
Water for Elephants, by Sarah Gruen
I just finished reading this book ... it only took me a couple days, it was excellent. Now, there were definitely parts I had to skip through that made my face turn bright red, but all-in-all it was an amazing book. I became totally immersed in the characters, era, and story line of the novel. I used to be a big reader, I love, love to read. But now I just don't have time. And after Dalton broke my Kindle last night, I'm kinda over it for a while. I ended up downloading the book and finished reading it on my iPhone. ANYWAY, this quote obviously caught my attention. I'm so there. I'm right in the middle of the sleepless nights, ear piercing screaming, messy house, whiny toddlers and just loooonngg days. I'm exhausted. I'm overwhelmed. And I'm in over my head. True story. We've been inside for the last six weeks with a variety of illnesses. I'm so over it. Today's dreary downpour couldn't be more appropriate. We didn't get out of our pajamas, I've had four cups of coffee, and we've been watching tv all day long. Stellar. My whole family is overwhelmed right now with the upcoming wedding this weekend. Everyone has a full plate, so all of my aid's hands are full. This makes for an emotional breakdown- So, I've had a couple ... just keepin' it real.
As hard as these days are, I don't want to wish them away. I don't want to miss out on all the special parts, because the monotony of it all, I'm supposed to be teaching these little ones all the important things in life. Not physics, and algebra, and the history of western civilizations. But, love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, thankfulness, and self-control. Sadly, this is only learned by example. And I'm the main example.
A few weeks ago, I saw an episode of Oprah. This in and of it's self was extremely rare, because I almost never watch TV that hasn't been DVR'ed (with the exception of The Today Show). It was a family that had sextuplets (that's six right?? They had six. I just hyperventilated thinking about it again). A camera crew went in and recorded a normal day. My mouth hung open as she talked about their daily routine. Every minute of the day was accounted for. And her house was totally orderly, organized and under control. I couldn't believe it. I justify my messy house often because of all these little people, but she had twice as many and hers was in perfect order. (I will say she had like three volunteers a day coming to help her, but still.) That got my butt in gear. I'm totally Type B- down to my marrow. I'm impulsive, laid back, easy going, high mercy, and it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. I also suffer from an extreme case of optimism, so I just always believe everything is going to be OK and work out in our favor. Aaron is the complete opposite- it's one of the MANY ways we're opposite. ;)
However, I heard her say if she didn't have her day planned out and orderly then she would go crazy, which is right where I was heading: straight to crazy town. So,I drew up a little schedule for every day at home- our meals, naps, TV, play, "school" and one-on-one time is all in there. (Today we veered off our norm ... but you catch my drift.) I also try my darndest to stay off my computer and phone while they're awake. They LOVE our little school time. We color, count, work on letters, and memorize bible verses. Dalton doesn't catch on as well as Avery with the verses, but he does the hand motions and mumbles along. The first week we learned Genesis 1:1, and last week we learned Psalm 121:1-2. Makes my heart swell. Even Baby Sawyer sits on the table in his Bumbo and soaks it all in.
A song on the radio right now by Francesca Batistelli, called This is The Stuff reminds me that "In the Middle of my Little Mess, I Forget How Big I'm Blessed," and "I've Gotta Trust [He] Knows Exactly What [He's] Doing." And, I do. I know God is teaching me big things in these long days. A wise, wonderful lady at our church, Camille Richardson, says "God gave me a husband so I could see I was selfish, and God gave me children to show me I was angry." I love that she says she "was," like she's cured now. I'm so with her, and I'm so ready to be cured! It's so easy to get mad and not die to myself in these long days. I'm praying God shows me how to do it better. I know I've been blessed, and I know He know's what He's doing ... I just hope I can live every day like I believe that!