It started with Mr. A deciding that 5am is a completely acceptable wake-up time. Being dependent on a demanding 11 pound baby for my sleep is becoming exhausting. He a a tyrant I tell you. A sweet, adorable one but a demanding tyrant nonetheless. I think it is also settling in that this is my life. Again. And I didn’t plan on the sleepless nights and demands of a baby again. You know….the days when you would sell your kidney for just one hour alone. At the same time I would not trade these crazy, packed but slow days for anything. I would never want to have someone else raise our watoto it is just that some days I don’t want to either. And then I feel guilty that I am not an apron wearing, super happy, crafting, and baking super mama.
And on days like that I try to escape but yesterday the internet and cable connection was tripping all day and I quickly realized that nothing on my to-do list would get touched. Honestly the thought of a whole day with the kids and no distractions made me feel depressed. Sad but true. I once again had to battle my belief that I am valuable because of what I “get done.” When I know the reality is my kids would much rather have me more present. I have wasted so many days surviving until J gets home teetering on the edge trying to balance everything, feeling stressed, yelling at the girls because they have the nerve to be kids. And yesterday I was waving the white flag by 9am.
So I packed up Evy and Abishai and headed to Aldi because the fresh food situation was getting scary around here. Have you ever tried to use a small Aldi cart for actual groceries when you place an infant carrier in there? Let’s just say Abishai had Greek yogurt and green onions nestled near his head by the end. I was also ‘that crazy lady’ with a 3 year old running in the aisles and a baby crying by the end but we got everything off our list and checked out. The store was packed as usual and after playing bumper carts I finally found a spot to load up next to a young mom with her son. She was having a hard time balancing everything on her pull cart and I reached over to catch some stuff that was falling. She thanked me and said “no one without kids ever helps me.” I feel you sista. We were both struggling, tired mamas in that moment. Different lives but same themes in this one moment. We talked for a minute while she finished precariously packing her stuff and balancing a stroller and a push cart and then as quick as we had met she was heading out the sliding doors to the train.
And immediately the thought entered my head “why didn’t you offer to drive them home?” I looked up but they were already out of the store and I figured I had missed my chance to show love in a practical way. And let’s face it Mamas out there; I need me some practical love. Like making coffee, playing with kiddos, bringing dinner, folding laundry, or just hanging out. Seriously those are my love languages these days. I packed up my groceries during which time the baby awoke and started crying and Evy had to pee. Then we headed out. As we turned in the parking lot I noticed that mama still fumbling with her stuff and knew I had been given another opportunity! I offered her a ride and she was so grateful. We loaded her stuff in and laughed about my hoopty of a car because the doors don’t open. Evy and her little boy Odin shared the many books strewn throughout our car. She shared about her many miscarriages and how her son was a miracle baby. Driving Mimi and her son a few miles was not a huge sacrifice. It cost me next to nothing but my heart needed it. In our short car ride I was reminded why God wants us to consider others better than ourselves. Why He calls us to focus outward instead of obsessing about our own lives. I was trying to survive my day but when we bury our head in our own junk and just try t make it we miss it. Real life. Perspective on the blessings we have. We miss the kindness, love, and grace offered to us that we can freely offer to others.
How often do you and I miss opportunities to show love, to be like Jesus because we are obsessed with our agenda or distracted with details that really do not matter? Mimi and Odin were a reminder to me that we are all meant to accept and offer love and help and compassion as we bump into each other every day. I have received this countless times. God wanted me to drive her and even gave me a second chance after I screwed up. And it was for me and not for her. As is so often with serving God calls us to it because it changes the game for us.
The rest of the day was the typical messy chaos of life with three kids but the night ended with dinner prep and a dance party with the girls (while holding a fussy baby) and then; once Jason arrived home, our family advent time. During Advent we anticipate, we wait, we look to the one event that changed history forever.
I have an agenda and so often I declare my day a success or failure by how much I accomplished. Even though I know that is not how Jesus measures a good day. The game has been forever changed so I need to ask different questions. Did I quietly sacrifice? Did I rest in His presence? Did I show love? Did I offer grace when I could have justified something else? Am I waiting and longing but still living fully in every moment and asking God to use me for His glory in everything?
Grateful for the butt kickin’