Church is over (and The Dude only had one time out for pulling another toddler's hair), lunch is finished and cleaned up. The washer and the dishwasher are both faithfully running. The boys are quietly playing in the sand in the courtyard, and I am finally taking a moment to write.
At the moment I feel like one of those mothers. You know the kind. The kind that has everything under control and running smoothly. Whose children play kindly with each other, and take turns and don't scream and throw sand. You know, the kind that doesn't actually exist.
I feel like one of those mothers until The Dude comes racing in, covered from head to toe with sand. Even in his mouth and ears. He rejects my washcloth. He screams. Bangs his head on the floor. Then happily joins Aquaman to play with the Leap pad.
Until he decides to steal it again.
Life is running along pretty smoothly. JT has been in Indiana for his great aunt's funeral the past 3 days, and to help clean out her house. I've had a nagging headache most of the weekend. But it's been surprisingly easy. The kids have cooperated about as much as usual. They've been ok with the occasional phone call. They've gone to bed maybe even easier than they usually do. It makes me sad, really. That everything can run so smoothly, and even feel mostly normal without JT here. After all, he would have been working all weekend anyway.
The Dude has just joined me at the computer, to pronounce his desire to regain control of the Leap Pad. "HAB it!" He demands. "I scream in your ear!"
And humility, I have often found, is the direct result of gratitude.
What I keep forgetting is that change is always looming in the near future. For everybody. Not one of us can take for granted that the way things are today will be the same way tomorrow.
"Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."
James 4: 13-14
So today, I am remembering to be thankful for life. And for the God who is with us through it. Even when it never seems to be our turn. Or when the uncertainties of the future seem too daunting. I've been spending a lot of time in Psalms lately. There is great comfort for me there. Hearing the desperate words of David, whom God called "a man after His own heart." That God does not condemn my insecurities, but rests His hands on my shoulders.
"Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass....The steps of a good man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand."
Psalm 37: 3,4,5,23,24
Despite the uneasy feeling that has been resting lately in my heart, I have been enjoying my children more lately. I feel less overwhelmed and less driven to accomplish. I feel utterly astonished and awed by God's creation in them, and the honor that it is to be a part of their lives. To write a line, or be an undertone in their story.
I don't resent it, because I know it IS true, and because, when I get to HER stage in my life, I don't want to have to say the same thing to a young girl pushing a noisy, runny nosed brood in a grocery cart.
I want to be able to look back and truly say: "I made the most of that time. I invested in my children. I spent time with them. I played with them, taught them, held them, and loved them. I enjoyed them. Even when all the days were running together, and my eyes were weary with lack of sleep, and I wondered if what I was doing even mattered at all."
I'm thankful for another day to be married to my husband and share in his life, even if I don't get to see him as often as I'd like.
Because each moment is a gift, and there is no guarantee of these moments tomorrow.
I'm thankful that this isn't all there is. That it's a shadow of what's to come. And when I put it that way, I can barely contain my excitement.
Because as hard as all of this is, it's also really really good. And it's nothing compared to what's to come. Nothing.
Looming horizons. Beautiful sunsets. Dark and cold nights. But always followed by that streak of pink. That little speck of hope that means morning is coming.