Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas is Worth It

Here's what I'm learning about  Christmas:

It's all worth it.

The choosing of very special gifts for the ones I love.

Even the wrapping of them, which I loathe.

The cookie making and decorating.

The homemade goodies we deliver to the neighbors.

All the cleaning about to be done before the big day and before company arrives.

The money spent, the extra effort put in, the gift of kindness... even if it is never returned or never acknowledged.

Listening to the same songs over and over again, all those old Christmas classics that the kids need to know.

Santa.  Whether we believe in him or not.

All those Elves getting into trouble.  Whether we have one or not.

Jesus.  First and foremost, always.  Whether or not the whole world celebrates Him, we celebrate Him here.

And Hanukkah.  And Kwanzaa.  Even though these are not our holidays, it is okay to offer a wish for those who do to have a Happy Holiday.

Love. Kindness.  Humility.

Those three things I see in the Baby Jesus, meek and mild, lying in a feeding trough when he should be sitting on His throne in heaven.  He cast off his rights.  He denied himself.  He gave the ultimate gift that none of us deserved, that many will never accept or never acknowledge,  He lavished his love upon us that we might become children of God...

This leaves me feeling, knowing, that it is okay to lavish love and joy and kindness on my own children and those around me.

All the extras of this season are worth it.

Costly sometimes.  And I'm not just talking money. I'm talking time.  Forgiveness.  Grace.  Letting go of my plans and my ideas of how things should be.

It really should be a Merry, Merry Christmas and a season of Happy Holidays.

Now, time to clean. Time to cook.  Time to  enjoy the snow softly falling before the rain storm tomorrow.  Time to celebrate.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Face It, Mama

Face it, Mama.

This house is never going to be in a magazine.

It will never really be completely clean.

The toys will always be scattered in front of the wood stove,  And across your bed.  And in all the other spaces you think are yours.

Spills will continue to happen.  On the rugs.  And furniture.

Walls will get dented and dinged.  And colored on.

Dust will settle, but their energy never will.  Unless they get sick.  And then there will be more laundry, more cleaning to do, and less energy for you.

Lights will be left on.  No matter how often you remind them to turn them off.

Showers will be long.  No matter how often you preach to them about the cost of hot water.

Face it, Mama.

There will always be interruptions.

That voice talking to you when you're trying to sleep.  Or write a blog post.  Or go to the bathroom in total privacy.

The mad hunt for lost shoes, uniforms, wallets, and borrowed items.

The sudden projectile vomiting from the back seat on the way to church.

The wet undies from the child who just went potty before you left the house.

The ear infections, broken toes, skin conditions, sore throats, and swollen ears that require a prompt trip to the doctor's office. Despite everything else you had planned for the day.

The knock on your door- or the bursting right in- when you and the husband you love are trying to rekindle a little romance.

The shrieking and screaming that seems to indicate a sudden amputated limb, but really is just the cry of an offended sibling... right after you politely- oh yes, you were polite- asked them to give you just fifteen minutes of peace.  Alone. In your room.

Face it, Mama.

This will never get easier.

First, it was a colicky baby.  A hungry baby who woke at all hours for sustenance.  A snuggly baby who just wanted to be close to mama.  No other arms would do.

Then it was having a biter. Or a hitter.  Or a get-into-everything-er.

Terrible twos.

Potty training.

You survived all that, though you thought you wouldn't.

And then it was separation anxiety.

The child who will sleep nowhere but your own bed.

The chronically sick child.

Food allergies.

Social anxiety.

Over stimulation.

Then, time for school.  The tears, from one or both of you, as they begin this journey away from you each day..  Or the tears, from one or both of you, as you try to teach them at home.

Reading disabilities.


Trying to fit in.

Or to not fit in so much.

And then, puberty.  Hair starts growing in new places.  The "talk".  New smells.  Crazy emotions. Boy meets girl.  Girl meets boy.

Then, getting ready to leave the nest. For good. The stress over financial aid.  And choosing the best schools.  Or choosing college at all. Another cutting of the cord, but this one you feel so keenly.

Face it, Mama.

These children will grow up.  They will, most of the time, leave the nest.

It is hard now.  It will be hard then.

The bestseller can wait.

The ruined furniture doesn't matter.

The things you buy them will be mostly forgotten. The things you can't buy them will be, too.

Your tears will not be in vain.

Everything you gave up for love- your body, your orderly home, your career, your money- will be an investment with returns you may or may not see.

But you will look back and see that it was worth it all.  Anyway.

Face it, Mama.

These children.

They are the only thing you have the chance to take to heaven with you.

You'll get a new body there.  No stretch marks.  No baby weight to lose.

A perfectly prepared home will await you there.

No more tears. No more sadness.  No more sickness.

No more interruptions as you worship together around the Throne.

And the words of your Savior, that you can hardly believe He is saying...

"Well done, Mama, my good and faithful servant.  Enter into your Father's rest."