last post i wrote about the value of going out for adventures. but i didn’t want to overlook the equally (moreso) valuable flip side of that: just hanging ’round the house.
beautiful things happen at home.
our lives ebb and flow within the domestic hum of the home… the buzz of the washing machine, the smell of dinner in the oven, the watering of the plants, the sweeping of the floor for the seventh time today… the pitter pat of little feet, the laughing and giggling, the fighting and tears, the cuddling and searching for personal space. our hearts break and stretch and grow and break again, wide open, at home.
beautiful moments happen at home.
bathtime, cuddles, bedtime stories, airplane leg rides. jumping on beds, hide n seek. quiet conversations while the children draw, little hands helping you prep dinner. pudgy little fingers smushing and exploring your face while they laugh at you and make silly faces.
we have a rhythm now, a daily and weekly rhythm that allows for things to run more smoothly. like whenever we have a full adventure day out of the house, you’ll find us hanging at home the next. after trial and error i’ve found that it’s a great rhythm for us– one day out, then a day or two at home (or mostly at home). it puts the kids and me back into a real comfort zone and i can see how much they love just being able to wake up and play with whatever suits their fancy, or have a leisurely breakfast then stroll outside to play in the backyard, jammies still on, no Mommy urging, Come on we gotta go go go!
digging for rollypollys. sandbox castles. playing on swings. butterfly sightings.
but truth be told, finding that rhythm was hard-won. hard-won through frustration and trial and error. i had to feel my way through it. trial. error. seemed so simple, so easy. until i was in the thick of it. hormones raging, sleep deprived, three people’s needs (plus my own, plus my husband’s) tugging at you every day. i needed to put systems in place, a structure, a routine for almost everything until it became embedded in me, and it just flowed out like a loose, flexible rhythm. trial. error. i am not a structured/routine type of person. trial. error.
there were hard things about being at home. there were hard days. the relentless tasks of cleaning the same. old. thing. umpteen times in a row. things like spending all day cleaning but your kids haven’t been outside all day and you feel like a shadow of your former self. things like how one fling of an oatmeal bowl results in an hour of picking sticky oatmeal flakes off the blinds and walls and you resent that you spend your hours merely cleaning. there are hard days where you feel like a failure because you can’t give your kids and yourself meaningful, fun, productive days while keeping the house clean and still getting dinner on the table at a decent hour. you succeed at one thing but fail at the other. you’re hard on yourself. you feel isolated. you haven’t showered in days. you went out and had a great day but now you’re back home, the kids are dirty, you’re exhausted, the house is a mess, there’s nothing to eat and nobody’s got anything to wear because you didn’t do laundry for two days.
i was working on it, trying to figure it out.
there were hard days.
hard days, great days. ebb, flow.
something fell out of me, sifted out in the flour, the laundry, the scrubbing of the floors. the bottom dropped open and with it, my heart. i fell through — past anger, past irritation, past keeping score. perhaps it was guilt that sifted out, perhaps it was judgement. maybe ego. certainly it was hormonal imbalance, that fell out thankfully. but through no doing of my own, Grace washed over me and i fell through into some greater vision, some larger purpose and renewed perspective. i remember it like this:
i am forgetting who i am. i am seeping through cracks in the floorboard like the crumbs from breakfastsnacklunchsnackdinner that i clean 365. i lost myself in the laundry somewhere, in an orphaned cream sock we bought for her tea party, in a diaper rash that required gentle tender baths at each changing. or maybe it was this morning in the deathly quiet, alerting me something was amiss, and surely, tiny, sweet, sticky fingers spread stickiness across twenty eight things — walls, chairs, candlesticks — in the dining room of my life, maybe that’s where i lost myself. or maybe i baked myself and all my anger into the quiche last night, or in the snuggle bunny i found under the couch for the third time. the repetition grinds me into a resentment. i wipe and clean and wipe and clean and wipe and clean floors til finally, through God’s Grace, i realize: i have not been cleaning the floors; the floors have been cleaning me.
yes… something sifted out of me in the laundry.
there is Grace in this, Grace in this constant level of caretaking, this responsibility, this nurturing, this people-making, home-making, this housecleaning, these chores, this repetition of things that continue to grind out of me things no longer needed.
i have begun to figure it out — a rhythm, a schedule, a delegation, this working-in-the-home thing. we have a loose but steady system that allows me to give give give yet still maintain something for myself. i’ve begun to figure out a “contribution system” where the children are able to help with chores, and a system for myself that keeps the household running smoothly. maybe not perfection but far from disaster zones and last minute scrambles. a system where we can go out on adventures without other things falling apart, where days at home are full and meaningful, and where the house (and therfore my sanity) stays relatively clean and orderly. every day isn’t perfect, but it’s smooth and stable and good and full.
beautiful things do happen at home.
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