Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bits and Pieces

Yesterday morning, Greystoke woke up just before my alarm rang. He especially likes to be cuddled in the early morning. Sometimes if I am already up when he wakes up, he will point to the pillow and cry and insist that I lie back down and snuggle him.
So yesterday morning I pulled him close and nursed him back to sleep, and rolled him back into his crib trying to buy myself just a few quiet minutes to get ready for work....
But the minute I turned the shower on, I heard him stirring and complaining.
I was tired. No coffee yet. No shower yet. I consider myself a morning person, but still, I am a quiet morning person. I smiled at him and picked him up and he smiled back. We took a shower together. He wouldn't let me set him down...he never does....but he's my baby, so I don't mind. We didn't say a word to each other, even though he's been bursting with words lately....

I think he is a quiet morning person too.

I held him with one hand and washed my hair with the other. As I did, he watched in concentration and copied every move I made. When I squeezed the soap out onto my hand, he held his hand out flat too. When I rubbed it into my hair, he rubbed his sparse white hair too. When I leaned back into the water, he tried to lean back into it too. When I brushed my teeth he opened his mouth and rubbed his teeth with the side of his finger. He didn't smile until I spit out the toothpaste. He always likes that part.
Neither of us said a word as we left the shower. I rubbed him all over with the towel and he showed me that he wanted me to wrap him up with the towel, and when I had, I set him on the counter in front of me so I could get dressed.

We started talking not long after that. There was a lot to pack...water bottles for backpacks and my lunch, and bottles and caps for the pump, and diapers for the diaper bag. And then Aquaman came thumping down the stairs, and Greystoke squealed with his usual delight, and then Greystoke stood outside the door to the bedroom where JT was sleeping and yelled "DaaDEEEE" until I let him in to give Daddy a kiss because JT worked 2 days in a row of 18-20 hours a day and all the boys were starting to wonder if he still existed. He kissed Daddy and then waved and said "byeee" as we headed down the stairs to pack up the car.

I couldn't get that shower out of my head all day though, and I don't really know why, except that I needed to write it down because I want to always remember it.

My boys are all so different....from each other....from me.
We had a tiring weekend because Daddy was working a ridiculous number of hours and because The Dude seems to have a sinus infection which exacerbates his asthma which all in all makes him sleep a little more and cry a LOT more. And Aquaman has been feeling a lot of frustration lately about never getting a break from the exhausting Dude "except when I'm at school, and that's not a break!", and I also realized over the weekend that Aquaman who has been more and more resisting outdoor activities and therefore the TONS of exercise he used to get...is making himself crabby by avoiding exercise. Because for whatever reason my little math brained way too competitive to enjoy anything organized 1st grader was also wired with a high activity level requirement...and we are going to have to find a way to fulfill it if he is not going to be just one great big ball of stress.

And if I'm not going to be one too.

The beach is good for that.

At one point on Sunday when the big boys were fighting AGAIN I went upstairs to my bedroom to pray and ask God for wisdom on how to deal with these crazy boys, and when I came back down, I found Greystoke sitting on the stairs feasting on a stick of butter he found in the refrigerator.

I love being a mom.

The answer was a timeout in separate rooms for the older 2 that lasted until time for the birthday party where we were headed, and by the time they finished riding scooters and eating cupcakes and getting body slammed by the waves they were like different little boys.

The ocean is our dear dear friend.
Greystoke almost got sucked out to sea and he smiled the whole way out, certain that I would fetch him, and completely unaware of any danger, and while I suppose that should worry me....he's only 17 months old. He has plenty of years to learn about all the things out there that will hurt him.

 I'm debating taking The Dude to urgent care tonight if he's still not better, because I want him to feel good for our trip to Legoland on Thursday.
My best friend is flying 4 kids to Florida all the way from Wyoming next week and I can't wait to see her.

So that's it. Nothing profound. Just fights and butter eating and warm quiet showers and drippy noses and barking coughs and Legos and best friends.

Greystoke slept in this morning and I took a shower by myself. It was good because after work yesterday we had dinner at the pool and then went to the beach, and then JT had to dig a foot long splnter out of Aquaman's foot and then it was bedtime for the boys and I was too tired to make lunches and pack bags for tomorrow. Aquaman's writing homework got done, but his reading didn't, But since it was the first time the boys have seen JT in a few days, it was worth it.

Off to work.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Future Grace

My phone is broken again, which is what happens when you buy one on clearance, and also what happens when you have 3 little boys, but then again, that is also why I tend to buy them on clearance.
Oh well.
The saddest part about the whole thing is that I kept forgetting to put my memory card back in which means that none of my pictures from the last 2 weeks were saved, except the couple that went up on Facebook. Oh, and also that I didn't get a video of Aquaman last night at the fair, riding "The Drop Zone". We let them each pick one ride, and The Dude predictably chose the tame carousel but Aquaman immediately zeroed in on the Drop Zone and climbed up without a backward glance. How I would have loved to capture the look of surprise on his face when it shot up and then shot back down. Wondering if he was actually enjoying himself, until he caught sight of JT and I and grinned. I guess I will just have to capture it in words.
The way it felt to hold JT's hands and watch only the shoes of our biggest boy who surprises me every day with his bravery, shooting up and down on a ride that is carted around on trucks and put together in one night.
The Dude loved the carousel. But he was most insistent on going shark fishing...mainly because he wanted the prize at the end....a little plastic trumpet. He and Aquaman tooted their horns as loud as they would go all the way back to the car. I am so thankful for a husband with a sense of humor.

The past 2 weeks have gone quickly, as all of 2015 has gone. The weather has cooled and then warmed again, but the wind still swirls and the clouds in the sky look so Octoberish, and when I walk Aquaman through the hallways of Ocean Breeze Elementary while I smell the salt air, I can't help but smile.

The waves were huge from hurricane Joaquin for almost a week which left all of beachside electric....and sore.

I love October.

JT had the day off yesterday. 2 days this week we walked Aquaman to school as a family, and it was really nice.
The boys have their second cold of the season. The Dude sounds like he is coughing up a lung, but he is maybe even more cheerful than usual. It hasn't seemed to make them cranky at all...except maybe Greystoke yesterday. He caught it later than everyone else, and it seems to annoy him a bit.

I feel....so full of life. Just bursting with it. The leaves aren't changing, but fall still feels so dizzy with hope.

I have been trying to get up earlier than the kids the past 2 weeks, and only very rarely succeeding. But one morning, about 10 days ago, The Dude was up and as usual crowding me...talking too much, cuddling up in his usual painful ways, demanding things. I was trying so hard to get a few minutes along with God and it wasn't working, and this is what I prayed:

"God, I just want to feel you like I used to. I haven't felt you in a while. I follow You, and I really look for You, but it feels so hollow and academic and rote."

Over and over I kept praying those same words, frustrated with the silence. I didn't have time to go outside and take a long walk like I used to. I am too surrounded by kids to have hours of alone time in prayer. This was it, this chaotic everyday, surrounded by laundry and crumbs...this was all I had to give. I needed him to meet me there.

At last, moved by the forlorn sight of The Dude sitting alone in a chair looking at me, I gave up, called him to me and wrapped him in a hug.

And then I heard God. Clearer than I have heard him in ages. And I felt God....gentler and warmer and more real than I had felt Him in ages, and He said "here I am. This is where you'll find Me in these days."

And something has brightened and come more alive in me since then. God doesn't use the same ways to speak to all of us, or even to each of us in every stage in our lives. He couldn't possibly, because we are all called to different things and different times.
But where He meets us, where we feel that intimacy? Is in doing what He has called us to do.
Yes, He speaks in a whisper, and yes He wants us to seek Him....but He can whisper above the chaos.

I heard Him.

Nothing ever feels done anymore, but this is the stage of life I am in, and I am embracing it.
I have been dropping everything to sit down with my boys at both breakfast and lunch, as well as before bed, to read to them from God's Word, to talk with them, to share my wisdom and to hear theirs....and to pray...with them and for them.
Lately when I see them sitting there at the table, with food all over their mouths and all over the floor and barely able to stay in their seats, and often forgetting to use their manners, I don't see any of those things, I see.....arrows.

Arrows of light that will shoot out into this word with accuracy and aim.

And then I don't feel so afraid of not being able to give them all the things this world thinks they should have.

Those things don't matter.

The world lately seems like it is falling apart, but I don't feel afraid. I am so filled with peace and joy and gladness, and hope.
This country is probably going down a road that it won't be redeemed from. The people have chosen. We have chosen. But that doesn't scare me, though it does sadden me. It only fans the flame and makes it brighter and stronger, because you can't force God out of any country, because you can't force God out of the hearts of Christians.
And I am convicted of apathy, of enjoying the pleasures of this world instead of focusing on the mission...the reason we as Christians, already redeemed and heading toward a most amazing eternal life- to share with others that this isn't all there is. To shine like stars.

Lately JT has been praying for us before we go to bed at night. He's been praying that God's will would be accomplished in our lives, and not our own. It is a good prayer, and it is sometimes a scary prayer, but only when I momentarily forget Grace. Grace from the past, and Grace for the future.

I've been reading my favorite book again by John Piper: "Future Grace". I love Piper because he gets me flipping in the Bible. I love the way the pages feel in my fingers. I love the way my disorganized heart stills at His words. I think of the years upon years that He has spoken to me in it. I wonder if my children will always be able to hold it in their hands here in America.

“The only life I have left to live is future life. The past is not in my hands to offer or alter. It is gone. Not even God will change the past. All the expectations of God are future expectations. All the possibilities of faith and love are future possibilities. And all the power that touches me with help to live in love is future power. As precious as the bygone blessings of God may be, if He leaves me only with the memory of those, and not with the promise of more, I will be undone. My hope for future goodness and future glory is future grace.” 
― John PiperFuture Grace