Last night I sat in my living room with three other ladies from our church who have become good friends over the past (nearly) three years since we moved here. It was a small turnout for the women's prayer group, but we didn't mind. Matt attempted to put the kids to bed upstairs while we met, but ended up falling asleep in Hannah's bed while the kids "cleaned" their room.
With loud bumps and thumps and squeals overhead I shared with these ladies how I have been feeling, well...tired of my job. I've heard people speak of the "seven year itch" of marriage. I think I have the seven year itch of parenting. I find myself trying to get away from my kids, wanting to do something more with my life, wishing I could parent and do something else too...anything else. Three older, wiser moms smiled and commiserated with me. They shared experience and scripture, and upheld me in prayer.
Why do I continually find myself amazed when God answers our prayers? I should expect it by now, but I woke this morning with no expectation whatever of the grace God would pour out on my family.
Naomi had had a horrible attitude the day before, continually attempting to break family rules behind my back. She had been sentenced to spend the entire day by my side being "watched" today. We told her (in the words Pa Ingalls had used to Laura) "If you can't be trusted, you must be watched." We had never attempted this sort of consequence before, and I wasn't exactly looking forward to spending a day being the watcher of a grumpy, play-deprived child. There goes my "me" time.
But Naomi woke cheerfully and obediently followed my lead all morning. I never realized I could so enjoy spending a morning working together with my daughter. I taught her how to load the dishwasher, how to stain-treat the clothes, and how to run the washing machine and the dryer. We cleaned out and organized two kitchen cupboards. We baked coconut bread together and made lunch together. And we had a great time. Hannah was so inspired that she washed the dishes for me, and Emma set the lunch table.
This afternoon I dug out an American history computer game that had been given to us years ago and got it running on the school computer. Journals and math problems have never been completed so quickly as they were today, with the promise of a game to come. I took the time to cuddle Toby and play peek-a-boo with Elijah. We sang songs and acted silly together. We enjoyed school time, dinnertime, clean-up time, and bedtime today more than we have in months, and I feel refreshed. Maybe I do like this job.
All three girls were filled with that peaceful, satisfied feeling tonight at bedtime. I praised them for being such good helpers and for having such good attitudes, and I admitted to them that Mommy had needed an attitude adjustment too, and that God was gracious enough to adjust my attitude as well as theirs. "This is the best, best, best day ever!" Hannah glowed as I tucked her in, "I just feel so, so happy!"
I am thankful that the prayers of the saints and the grace of God reach out to the corners of my heart where I didn't even know they were needed. It was a hopeful day for me, and I'm sure it was for my kids, because after I had tucked them in bed I found "Ice Crem" smuggled on to the bottom of my grocery list--way to dream big, girls. May I dare to have sweet dreams for tomorrow too.