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The Life In Between

From this spot in my bedroom, I see the Lake of Laundry at the foot of the bed, swelling after a week of wash, dry, and dump into a heap before repeating the cycle, before running out the door to our next great adventure.

From this spot in my bedroom, I see a pile of good intentions, leftovers from gifts we meant to give over Christmas, colored pencils, stickers, little books of Jesus’ great love for us and how to be fishers of me.

From this spot in my bedroom, I listen as Alex lists off the five reasons he did not like taking Dharma out to put her on the runner this morning – #1 Because raindrops keep falling on my head (sadly, he did not get my musical reference when his list made me hum.) #2 Because Dharma ran away.

And so on.

I sit in this spot for my first coffee each morning. I sit here to read. I sit here to write. I sit here and pray and think. I sit here to escape the thousands of in-between moments of life that threaten to distract me and send me bouncing off the walls as a giant ball of stress. And, admittedly, I sit here, with my back to a wall that separates me from the rest of the house, in the (often vain) hope that I might get ten, five, or even two minutes without a whine or a whimper, without the long drawn out words, I’m boooooooored, or the fast and demanding, Can I have a snack?

I sit here, because in these 1200 square feet, it’s the only corner that’s mine.

 

A week ago, Asher circled me in the kitchen and asked with great anticipation, when will it be Christmas again?

Oh, not for another year, I told him.

Oh. When will we all die and go to heaven?

A mother at the very last thread at the end of a beautiful, but long and challenging year, all I could muster was, someday. 

 

But now, this foggy, rainy morning, our first of normal routine after the holidays, I think I understand. As I sit here, in my spot, and begin to think of what’s next. Because the holidays have only been over for less than a week and certainly, this laundry and mess and dog running away every other morning life can’t be all that there is. There must be something to look forward to now, now that Christmas is gone.

It’s too soon for Easter. A vacation we’re vaguely starting to formulate won’t come until late next year. Summer is going to be the return of stress and rushing and working. This, this rain on my roof morning, time to pull out our school books and talk about the world and science and math life, this just won’t do.

And I realize, I am Asher. I am already, just one day in, and needing something greater than the calm hush of a morning in a household of my family of six, dragging from their beds after dragging their bodies over the calendar lines to this new year.

Oh, still my heart, Lord.

Let me be slow and not fast, in these mornings, in these days, in a lifetime of in between moments that are what makes up my life. Let me be slow and not rushed in the time given and efforts I make with my children. Let me be unrushed in my love, and undistracted in my life.

These in between moments, the days that are empty on the calendar, that are just here and then gone, these are every bit as purposeful and meaningful as the Christmas Eves and New Years mornings.

The life in-between, is life.

And please help me to accept that, Lord, even now.

It seemed somehow easier when my babies were so small that their breath on my neck and their beating heart on my chest, blended us into one rocking, soothing heartbeat as the nights passed. That was an in between moment, gone too soon, and though I thought I relished it, I know I did not nearly as much as I should have.

Now, my in-between moments are cluttered and busy and spent snipping Gogurt wrappers and sweeping crushed Goldfish. My life in-between is refereeing disagreements and navigating the treacherous emotional landscape of seven year old girls. It is repeatedly asking Evaline if she wants to try the potty and reminding Asher that the word please is more important that the word want.

But Lord, help me to embrace, even this. Because I know that these are the moments where life happens, where children are molded and relationships established. The holidays, the great family gatherings and exciting vacations, every daydreamable moment, is just that. A moment. It’s the pretty bow on the box, but the gift inside, is all the rest.

And the messy, gritty, tiresome and repetitive work of life, cannot be rushed, will not be ignored, and is only going to be happy if it’s embraced.

And on that note, my first cup of coffee has been drunk and it is time to clear the breakfast dishes and make way for school books and another year of life, of in-between moments around this table, with these children.

And I’m thankful.

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