Watch Me Ruin Everything

DSCN1890Today is Monday.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

Constantly – CONSTANTLY – there is a list of things I need to do, have done, should be doing, running on a loop inside my head. I did history lessons with the kids, time to do reading with Ola, now I have to change the baby, and then I have to unload the dishwasher, and I have to wipe down the table from breakfast so I can get ready for lunch – BUT WAIT! – I have to nurse the baby who doesn’t want to nurse but does want to nurse and screams at my chest while Will refuses to use the potty and Romulus (the cat, not a kid) just barfed on the floor and where on Earth did I put that math folder????!?!?

I can get three or four chores done each day, tops. I could do more, but that means leaving the baby to cry for an extra ten minutes while I scrub the toilet, and I’d rather not have that for my poop-scouring soundtrack. And then I took the kids to the park this afternoon because I simply didn’t want to fold laundry or read through a social studies lesson or scrub the kitchen floor.

Today is Monday.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

I seriously have to remind myself of this because I can and will lose track of days. And so I add that to the plethora of thoughts running through my head.

I chose to be a wife and mother. I chose to homeschool. I chose to work part-time. I chose to write and be a published author. I chose to do all of these things, and so when I’m clinging to the edge of everything, when I’m Jack, struggling and freezing and slowly dying in the ocean I can’t help but wonder why Rose won’t just shove over and give me some room on that massive door before she has to pry my cold, dead fingers off the wood.

Most of the time, I think I am ruining everything. I am ruining my kids’ education, I am not keeping up with anything in the house, I am throwing words at a page and wondering why none of them sound good, I am going to be swallowed up by laundry and dishes and panic that I have done everything wrong and there is no reset button because these are LIVES, tiny little lives that I am in charge of.

Not to mention my own life. That, too.

And there is this constant humming in the background, so many different voices that tell you how you CAN DO THE THING, and YOU CAN PICK YOURSELF UP and ORGANIZE and SAVE THE WORLD and STUFF SO MUCH STUFF.

But, no. No, I can’t.

I have this little world I’m overseeing. I have my kids, who love me, who want to help me and cuddle and watch movies and read library books to them. And then they fight and I want to tear out my hair and I go into the bedroom to eat chocolate they can’t see. But they love me. Even when I screw up. Even when I snap at them, when I’m impatient, when I’m a mess because I’ve lost a baby or a parent. They walk over and they want to hold me. Tiny things that they are, and yet they have something I don’t. Or perhaps it’s something I had once but it’s been drowned out by the lists and the chores and the stress and the budgets and the news and the world.

It’s that ability to see what is right in front of them, to focus on that, to put everything away for a moment and simply live in the present, and not lose themselves in all the stuff in their head. My daughter finds out that there are people who are hungry, who have less than she does, so she wants to help them. Not in a grand way, but just to give them food. Right now, when they need it. Not to begin a project that will eat up time and waste resources and fail to help anyone, but just to give what we have at that moment, whatever we may have. My brain doesn’t work like that. I go, “Isn’t that a shame?” and move on. Because there are too many other things I have to worry about.

Today is Monday.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

We now have a cardboard box that I am slowly filling up with food to take to the local food bank at the end of the month. It seems like nothing, and then so goes the hum of voices, that this isn’t enough, that I should do something that will go viral and then lots of people will be helped and once I get those socks sorted and the errands run I’ll get on top of that and do something that will really make a difference.

But, no. That box, that will change things. It’s nothing epic. It will not cure the world of all its ills. But it is something. Because somehow, my kids understand that everything you do is something. All of the little tasks and chores that I want to hate and mutter about are something, that I am caring for them, that each small job is my way of doing what I can for them. Like every can and packet of food in that box, each thing counts.

I may feel like I’m screwing things up on some massive scale because I’m not accomplishing things on an equally massive scale. But life is not made up of leaps and bounds. Just like God isn’t in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. It’s the still, small voice. The box of food. The change in your pocket. The sighs and the hugs of my children.

Today is Monday.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.

And thank God for that.




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