I really do have wonderful reasons to not tell you about yesterday, though.
And if I were to list some of them, I would mention that, you know, I am just getting the lights turned back on in this space and who really wants to hear about my Sunday evening.
I would hem and haw and protest that it was really no big deal. Everyone has bad days.
And REALLY when we get down to brass tacks (and if we want to do that we should carefully consider which end is pointing up) not even my dog cares about yesterday. Even he, who becomes frantic if I am more than 4 feet from him during any given point of the day, does not care about my lousy-horrible-terrible-no-good end to what was, actually, a really good day.
But here is the thing.
And you must forgive me for the title of this post.
The thing is, I think you might want to hear that yesterday, when all my little people were in bed and not even asleep, I curled up in a ball and whispered, “I feel like a terrible mom.” You might need to hear that I cried in front of my kids because I was just so frustrated.
All of my failings, all of my foibles, all of the millionstrillionszillions of things that I see where I don’t add up just felt, all the areas of sin that I feel like I’m constantly trying to weed out, and all the compare (you know what I mean here, yes?) just came crashing out of the cupboard I had stuffed it into. And the heavy things that I had foolishly put on the top hit me on the head.
There is this beach house that we go to. It’s blissful. We went not too long ago. It sits on a cliff above the ocean, and the views are spectacular. The beach always looks amazing from there, whether basking in sunshine or draped in sheets of rain. The Oregon coast has this rugged feel. A place where you can marvel at Creation. When you walk to the beach, you walk down this long hill. It’s not a terribly long walk. You get to the beach. And you walk on the beach. Or play on the beach. Or explore the beach. Inevitably it is more windy than you imagined when you were sitting high on the cliff in the comfort of the house. And it is colder. And there is more…sand. Lots more of these little particles than you remember seeing when had your aerial view.
And, then, at some point, the little people that you now have in your life need to be taken back to the house – whether willingly or unwillingly. They are wetcoldtiredhungry. Somebody wants to stay. Somebody was ready to leave half an hour ago. They are sandy. They are so so sandy. But you still have this hill to climb.
That pleasant walk down the hill to the shore…has become a death march back up the hill. Someone’s feet hurt. Someone doesn’t care that everyone else wants to be drywarmrestingfull – they want to look at the buttercup on the side of the road. Someone needs to be carried. Someone’s clothes hurt because of sand. Everyone is going to need to be rinsed off with the cold hose and no one is going to like that. Someone needs their crab-shell-with-the-dead-crab-still-in-it that…oh somehow…got left on the sand. Someone needs. Someone needs.
It’s motherhood. There are these moments when you sit in comfort and warmth and bask in the glory of these gifts. And then there’s this thorny grace* to it. There is sand…Good Lord! there is sand everywhere!
It’s work. Going to the beach is hard work. Motherhood is hard work. It’s not just spectacular views and romantic walks. It’s feeding the people you brought with you and shaking out their clothes and washing the sheets and packing. It’s feeding them again because they forgot that they, actually, were hungry. It’s walking up that blasted hill. It’s vacuuming sand out of your car for eternity. No, really.
And that’s what my Sunday night was. It was dealing with all the sand and the dead sea gull that someone wanted to bring home and all the little people who need physical, and spiritual, and emotional care. I couldn’t see the glory of the view from above, and I’d lost sight of the wonder of the starfish below. In the chinks between tiredness and emotion, it’s easy for the temptation of Not Enough slip in.
On Sunday night, I was sure that the jagged rocks and the crashing waves and the abrasive sand were conspiring to make me fail at this, this hardest thing I’ve ever tried. (And I don’t think I need to tell you that a little prayer and self-care go a long way. And Monday treated me much better.)
It’s not always beautiful, this mothering thing. It’s almost always hard. It’s ugly, sometimes. It’s messy, most of the time. It’s confusing occasionally. It’s overwhelming once in a while during the day every day. On my merits, it’s all these things.
But here’s the thing, Grace abounds. And that is Enough.
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