There are little Legos everywhere.
All week I take the boys on adventures here and there because my boys have so much energy and need so much exercise. This morning it was a bike ride to Gleason park where we fed the fish in the pond and played in the freshly rained-in sand.
Yesterday it was soccer in the morning and the beach for body boarding in the afternoon.
As a result of all those adventures, when we are home I am usually running around doing things and don't have time to play with the kids, but once a week on Sundays I set a timer for 20 minutes for each kid and do whatever they want me to do. This week it was Legos for both of them.
I reserved a book from the library called "Amazing Machines" which gives a step by step for building multiple vehicles with ordinary Lego pieces. I thought for sure that this would be a fun thing to do with Aquaman today, but after 5 minutes of searching through pieces he was totally over it.
And after I got over myself, I just played the way he wanted to play.
He is so sweet. Every time I make something (and for the record, I am not a good Lego builder) he loves it so much that he asks if he can play with it after our play time is over.
We have all the Legos on a train table from Grandma's house now, but they still make an enormous mess, especially when Greystoke pulls up one of those toddler chairs and starts swinging his hands around flinging Legos around the room with glee.
So we pick them up 100 times a day but they're always there.
And with JT working 70-80 hours a week lately...there is a lot....undone around here. And as difficult as that has been to accept, I am learning to accept it.
I say learning because I was learning last week and I am still learning this week and I highly doubt that I will ever have actually learned it, but every day I make a conscious decision to just breathe and step forward and do what I can do in each moment, and leave what I can't, and know that is ok.
I wish I could say in this learning to accept the undone housework that I was also being some sort of amazing mother, but I am wearing thin on this job too.
This morning I got so upset at Aquaman for smiling in my face when I told him to go to time out for picking on The Dude, I ended up having to distance myself for a little while where once I calmed down, I realized that he was just doing it because he was embarrassed and didn't know what else to do. So I went and talked to him and told him that he really shouldn't smile when I correct him because he should be sad about doing something that is wrong. And then I added....but I think you did feel sad and just didn't know how to show it? And his eyes filled with tears and he said "yes. I just smiled because I used to throw a great big fit and that really doesn't do any good, does it?"
My whole goal as a parent is not to raise a well behaved child. I want to sometimes because when your kids sin all big in front of everyone it is embarrassing. But it's what kids do. It's what people do. It's the reason God gave kids parents...to teach them....and the whole reason that Jesus died and rose again....to save them.
My goal is to raise boys who will be "men after God's own heart". And that means taking the long view and persevering today when some days it doesn't feel like I am making any progress at all.
The Dude is totally wearing me out. He has learned to tie knots in things and so he ties knots in everything he can find. He ties most things to door handles. He even tied his own foot to one. He is not, however, good at untying knots.
The Halloween candy has been the bane of his existence. Aquaman has always been able to handle it. He eats like one a day and doesn't really even ask about it. The Dude is obsessed. He has been sneaking it every time I turn around. He does not seem to have any self control whatsoever.
He threw Greystoke's antibiotic at a little girl at Publix who was trying to make friends with him.
He threw a block at Aquaman's head because Aquaman wanted a turn with something.
He colored the toilet seat with a dry erase marker...and didn't tell me until it dried.
He spent his entire last soccer game twirling around the field with a little girl, completely oblivious to the game going on around him.
And flooded the bathroom trying to fill an empty Listerine bottle with water.
He has completely worn me out this week. This has been a week in which it would have been really nice for him to have some time with JT. But we muddled through somehow.
And in the middle of the night, just after JT had come to bed from a late night at work, he climbed into bed with us and JT pulled him next to him to cuddle him and The Dude broke free and said "you know why I like mommy better? Because on her skin, it is softer." and he fell asleep against my skin and in my heart which suddenly felt softer than it did when I was scrubbing the toilet seat and sopping up the water and groaning on the sidelines of the soccer game.
Greystoke is on the floor making car noises now and pushing a matchbox car around. I could watch him all day, he is absolutely adorable. He is still so agreeable that I had no idea he had an ear infection until the doctor told me at his well visit.
The other day he wanted me to give him something and when I didn't, he wound his hand back like he was going to hit me, but he never hits because he simply doesn't care as much as my passionate older boys. And the sight of his hand all wound back and the totally unconvinced look on his face was too much for me and I burst out laughing and said "you aren't going to HIT me are you?" and he collapsed into giggles too. He never did hit me. Thank you, Jesus, for this boy. I love my 2 little fighters, but a 3rd might have been too much for me!
I've been trying to wake up early and read my Bible but as usual I can't seem to drag myself out of bed before the boys' 6:30 am wake up call...especially since many nights I am sleeping fitfully until JT joins me back in our bed.
It is the best feeling when he climbs in. Like everything is right again.
I am grateful for his return, and even grateful for his absence, because it has reminded me that while God has gifted me with JT who has this totally calming and uplifting influence on my heart, in the end, that calming and uplifting influence comes from God Himself.
So nights when I am falling to sleep by myself, I try to think of all the verses I can remember, and feel God's comforting arms slipping around me.
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the future of our family. What direction will we take? So many things are already behind us but there are even more ahead. The early years have been tiring, but the unknowns of the future are perhaps even more tiring sometimes. We have so many dreams, but we've placed them all in a basket of what ifs. I don't like to dwell on any direction because I don't know if it's the one that will open up, This was making me feel unsettled until earlier this week when I read this quote by Oswald Chambers:
"As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. This can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world."
In the middle of the night, one night when Greystoke was restlessly rolling in our bed and JT was still running around a banquet room floor getting blisters on his feet, I got up to go to the bathroom, and I said to God: "you can have it all."
I don't want it anyway. I spend so much time wanting God to lay out my 10 year plan but most of the time He doesn't work like that. He works in the day to day...plugging along with the time outs and the cornbread crumbs and the holding hands under the covers.
And that's ok with me.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” -C.S. Lewis
I am praying today that I would only be pleased with God's best. We have been given so much, it is staggering. But I don't want to be easily pleased with the things of this world...I want to want only the best. God's best.
For now I am going to go eat a quiet dinner with the youngest member of our family, who by my estimation says about 50 words now, but, like me, is still comfortable with long silences.
I am going to pick up the Legos....again...and get everything ready for another busy week to start.