Sunday, January 26, 2014

Trains and Bathrooms

In a flash, life has returned to normal. Well, as "normal" as it ever gets. It feels really good.

I almost forgot who The Dude was. I didn't even realize how much I missed him, until his crazy eyes, poopoo jokes and silly mannerisms returned this weekend. True, we're back to hitting and potty training issues, and general non-cooperation, but those are familiar trials. I can work with those.

This weekend, which also marked the beginning of my 3rd trimester, I began sifting through the general chaos that has become our lives and our home. I looked for and found a used "bunk bed" for the boys to try to create more space. I finally cleaned out the refrigerator. I momentarily caught up with laundry (I'm behind again). I almost completed our taxes.

More importantly, I played a lot, and laughed a lot. I listened to Aquaman's run-down of his entire school schedule, as well as every bit of train and monster truck trivia that he knows.

My New Years resolution to be intentional is going well so far. I have sat on an unmade bed, with dust gathered around it, and sunk deep into prayer and quiet time with my Bible. I gave all my unfinished work and the total lack of energy and time to God, and He made the important things work.

And that has been my cry this week. My constant mantra. Not what feels urgent, but what is really important?

"What is important is rarely urgent, and what is urgent is rarely important."
-Dwight Eisenhower

I've believed that this week, mostly. Well, I've tried to.
There have been a few moments when I've almost lost my mind trying to sort through it all.

One in particular at the end of the day yesterday, when the floor remained un vacuumed, the clean sheets were still off the beds, dinner was being cooked, and Aquaman was crying. Again. Over who knows what.

And to be sure, I find myself wondering frequently what is going to happen when an infant is thrown into all this mix. But then I think...well, who cares? That's tomorrow. This is today.

The little one inside of me is strangely silent. Maybe it is just that I am so much busier, but I only feel him when I eat something cold/sweet, when the boys make extra loud noises, or when I poke him. Even then, he tends to find somewhere to retreat rather than fighting back much. I'm interested to meet this little fellow who feels so foreign and far away. I don't know him. All I know of him are those occasional pulses and one picture of him cuddled up to the placenta. I don't even pretend to imagine him. He will be entirely new to me the day we meet. I look forward to it intensely.

And I hope the time slows down a bit before he gets here.

JT is working a merciless schedule lately. His only day off this week he spent watching the boys so I could do some extra work, and then take a nap because I was exhausted from 2 weeks of being sleep deprived.
Now he is the exhausted one.

I continue to struggle with Aquaman's sensitivity, because I am his mother. Because it's my job to help him navigate in the world, and relate appropriately to others, and overcome his weaknesses. I envy sometimes grandparents who can simply cater to his tears. I don't resent his sensitivity, but I do sometimes stress over it. He cries when he hurts someone else, because it hurts his feelings that he hurts them. Which is sweet, and all, but not. I've seen that trait in adults, and it's not pretty. In fact, it's called narcissism.

Aquaman remains a mystery to me, and I find the balance of parenting him precarious. He cannot be injured in correction too deeply, or he will retreat or harden. But he can't be just allowed to wallow in his sensitivity either.

But lately, I just try to go back to the important. I pray and do the best that I can. To listen to the things that are important to him, but sometimes make him wait. To console him when something hurts him, but try to let him learn to handle the pain on his own.

I read a quote on another blog the other day that totally summed up my hopes for my children:

The plain fact is that the world does not need more successful people, but it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as our culture has defined it.” – David Orr

And as I read it, I also realized that I married the right person to help me raise my children this way. Because he is this kind of person.

The boys are hounding me to go vacuum and wash the car, which I promised them we would do before the days' end. The bathrooms are still haunting me, and Aquaman just asked if there would be any room for me to fit in a few minutes of playing trains.

Of course there is. The bathrooms will still be there in 30 years. My boys will be out in the world: restoring, healing, and loving.  I'll be a bit achier when I clean them, but I bet I won't need the radio on. I'll be playing memories of "WHAM-O" and train crashes, and "mama, I need a HUG", and wondering why these bathrooms ever felt so urgent anyway.

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