The dust continues to settle on our most recent adventure—a whirlwind trip to the Midwest to participate in my baby brother's beautiful wedding. The trip odometer read 1,400 miles, 450 games of “I spy,” 125 rainbow goldfish crunched into tiny van crevasses, and 16 half-eaten sucker sticks melted into tiny teeth.
One thing that continues to amaze me about these trips is that no matter how I plan—I am a planner you know, there will be traffic in unexpected places, downpours in the middle of mountain driving and babies who wake up hours before they should. Flexibility is a skill that it forced upon us with the gift of motherhood. With each child there is another set of wants and needs, another hungry belly, another dirty face and another time frame that is not quite in sync with mine.
For the past two days I have had great intentions to unpack the bags, put the laundry away, finish organizing the toy room, take things to goodwill, mop the floors, put things away! The house seems to still be in post-adventure disarray and my little guy has done nothing but follow me around the house whimpering and clinging to my left leg.
Because of the whimpering and clinging we have spent the majority of the past two days outside in the baby pool where the sun is hot, and deep well water runs cool from green garden hoses. Today they ate Popsicles while sitting in the pool and the green ice melted down their chins and dripped into the water. I watched chunks of Popsicle melt into the pool and I watched Mason sift through the grassy water, find the chunk and shove it back into his mouth. It was a lovely summer day and as they splashed and played I stared at them—forcing a memory.
Then I was thinking about how even in the midst of lazy days where nothing is scheduled or planned, where the kids are deep in the land of imaginary play, the responsibilities of motherhood are there—lurking shadows that can instantly force a shift in fun:
- Suddenly realizing that the baby is playing with a mysterious “log” in the sandbox = an immediate fun-ender. <Insert 20 minutes of child and sandbox clean-up>
- Leaving the baby in the living room for no less than 60 seconds to retrieve a non-swimmy diaper resulting in an artistic display of some sort on the middle of the living room floor = a fun-ender. <Insert several minutes of child and carpet clean-up>
Long ago I willingly accepted these responsibilities: the constant hunger of bottom-less bellies, washing of sweaty kids and sweaty clothes, scrubbing of dingy baby teeth, driving to and fro and the immeasurable changing of diapers. I can't take three small kids and plan a day-o-fun that doesn't involve an unexpected mess and needs that must be met immediately. Instead of always worrying about all the hypothetical messes that could occur at any time during my day or tracking down that tricky fun-ender who is lurking in the shadows, I'm learning to enjoy the moment and clean it up when I can. Sometimes it's best to just eat Popsicles in the baby pool and embrace the gooey melted mess that comes with lots of smiles and laughter.
On this note I am supremely thankful this week.
- I am thankful for the flexibility of my young kids. They show me how to relax.
- I am thankful for a safe drive and a lovely visit with family.
- I am thankful for cheap popsicles and sticky faces.
- I am thankful for water splashes on the pages in my journal.
- I am thankful for the fun sounds Mason makes when he impersonates a jet flying above us.
“The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be – unbelievably – possible! The only place we need see before we die is this place of seeing God, here and now.”
“I don’t need more time to breath so that I may experience more locales, possess more, accomplish more. Because wonder really could be here – for the seeing eye.” Ann Voskamp