“Mama said there’d be days like this.” It’s a good moment to stop and reflect on just how fragile is my glass house, just in case you might think I have this mom-thing all together.
Today, toddler-girl decided to decorate the coffee table with stickers (all the stickers) and that her older brother needed a new set of eyebrows (drawn on in fluorescent red marker, of course). Older brother in turn decided this would be a good day to smack her in the face with a pool light (don’t ask why we have a random pool light hanging around here). Both of them have the sniffly/sneezing/coughing ick; and of course, both of them want to kiss all over bitty-baby with their runny noses.
Bitty-baby, meanwhile, chose this afternoon to nurse for a solid hour, and in the forty-five minutes that have ensued since then, has protested quite vigorously every time I’ve put him down. In the middle of the marathon nursing session, toddler-girl woke up in a foul mood from a mid-afternoon nap and I had to figure out how to rock a covered nursing baby and a crying toddler at the same time (thankful for a long nap).
We abated toddler-girl’s tears with an offer for older brother to get gloriously muddy in the back yard. I took advantage of the quiet moment to try to fold some of the clean laundry (piled so high that it’s falling off of the couch) and banish the tension headache I’ve nursed for two days (present solely because I haven’t slept a night through in three months). Thinking back on my recent exchanges with my children, I decided to pull out a couple of popsicles and remind them that Mommy loves them, even when her head hurts and she’s cranky. I walked outside just in time to see older brother in the act of hoisting toddler-girl into the water-filled fire pit in the back yard, and I’m caught in the dilemma of what to handle first–a screaming bitty-baby in the bouncer or the older two determined to have a swimming pool one way or another.
After my ice cream interlude, I picked up the still-moderately-fussy bitty-baby, who promptly spit up in my hair. He also proceeded to sneeze, an occurrence I’ve been trying to capture on video since his birth three weeks ago (trust me, it’s adorable). The camera was still rolling to capture the back door flying open and older brother tramping across the floor in his dripping rain boots, a fist full of white-flowered weeds in his grubby fist, proudly pointing out that he pulled them up by the roots and that they wouldn’t die. Toddler girl shadowed him in the door with her own bouquet, and promptly wiped-out over the remains of an enormous box fort their daddy brought home Sunday (it collapsed during the week and we’ve been tracing ourselves and drawing stick figures on it for three days.
I share all of this to give context to the Instagram-filtered moment I could have posted. It would have been easy to share the bright-eyed boy holding flowers without bringing in the cacophony of bad attitudes, sickness, and cranky baby that has been my afternoon. As of this moment, I still have five hours of computer work to do for the part-time job I work with a solid deadline of tomorrow morning. The laundry that was falling off the couch is at least partly folded but has spread to cover the couch, end table, and coffee table. One child is bathed and another is still wearing his scribbled, red eyebrows. I’m still nursing a headache behind the bridge of my nose, and now I’m adding muddy footprints tracked across the floors I mopped two days ago to the list of things I need to do tonight.
But, there is a vase of tall, white flowers on my kitchen table.
Around the time all of this was happening, my Bible app alerted me with the delivery of the 3:45 pm verse-of-the-day to my phone. It read: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable” (Isaiah 40:28, ESV). Now I know that “understanding” here means intelligence/wisdom, but the word was exactly what I needed to “hear” this afternoon. I was weary. I was overwhelmed. The truth be told, I still am to a degree. But He understands. He doesn’t get weary when I get weary. He doesn’t stop working the fruit of the Spirit in my heart when I’m overwhelmed. In the bone-tired tedium of day-by-day, when I’m drowning in yet another “pointless” conversation with a child who doesn’t understand I don’t particularly care about Batman; when I have to stop running back and forth putting laundry away because the same child poses the fortieth question (about something he already knows) that hour; when the nagging voice in my head points out that only a tiny fraction of the folded laundry on the table is mine; when I have to stop typing my blog to kiss yet another imagined boo-boo and explain yet again that we don’t need band-aids when we’re not bleeding and oh by the way band-aids aren’t stickers; He’s still faithful, still strong, still alert, and still upholding me by His right hand.
Are you weary? Overwhelmed? Struggling (like me) to ignore the muddy floors and focus on the white flowers? He loves you, and His understanding is unsearchable.