Wednesday, July 23, 2014
This Is All I Have to Give
This is all I have to give. These are not words I speak aloud, at least not very often, and only to a close friend during a very trying time. These are words I am more likely to speak to myself...at the end of a day filled with what I consider to be failures...or right in the middle of a plan or situation that is disintegrating right before my eyes. These are not encouraging words when used in this context. These are the words of a mom who is trying so hard...trying to have a productive day...trying to juggle an over-filled calendar...trying to give the kids a fun day filled with activities....just trying...and not succeeding, at least not in her eyes.
I know I am not alone. I make a plan. I am excited about the plan. The day begins. Then in the midst of it, one child says, "Do we have to go today?" Another says, "Can I just go to a friend's house?" There goes all the air out of my Mommy balloon.
Or let's just assume the day goes as planned. I am excited and content, satisfied that everything I have planned happened and happened without any issues. Then I am thinking, time to relax. And then..."Wait, I thought we were going to do..." or "Can one more friend come over?" or "Are these all the snacks you got?"
Hello deflated balloon.
Let me share one recent example.
My daughter had 3 friends spending the night. My younger son had 2 friends spending the night, and my older son had a friend spending the night. Let's not stop to analyze my sanity. Let's just move on. It was a Sunday night. I tutor on Mondays, and on this particular Monday, I had to pick up a friend from the airport. I knew I had to have a plan. I went to the store and got snacks for the evening, both sweet and salty. Then I went ahead and mixed up pancake batter and made pancakes for the morning. I put them in the fridge and let everyone know they could just heat them up in the microwave the next morning because I would be gone to the airport. Wow. I have to admit, I was a little impressed with myself. I thought ahead and tried to plan for everything. The next morning I went to airport, picked up my friend and took her home. I arrived home with 20 minutes to spare before my tutoring student would arrive.
And then I walked into my house. Chaos. The girls had decided to embellish breakfast by making toast (with pancakes?! and with my last loaf of bread?!) and fruit salad (with the last apple, banana and pear...and which was not eaten). The boys were waiting to eat because the girls wanted to play restaurant with them. And my entire kitchen floor was sticky.
This is the point of the story where I would love to be able to say that I smiled and joined in to help out. I would love to say that I decided I could tutor my student at the picnic table outside, so that they could continue with their fun. Yep. I would love to say that is how I reacted. Instead I whispered those words to myself...That was all I had to give.
I didn't scream. What I did might have been worse. I used that quiet, tight-lipped voice. Know the one? The one that really conveys, "I am a half a step away from losing it completely, so don't push me any farther." The boys ate quickly, and I began cleanup. My floor was covered in sweet tea...except for the part that had the puddle of Swiffer Wet Jet cleaner...the rest of my Swiffer Wet Jet cleaner. My tutoring student was 10 minutes early, so she got to see me at my, well, not at my best.
Not only did I end up cleaning the floor on my hands and knees that day, but I also spent a ridiculous amount of time beating myself up about my reaction. We moms are really so good at that.
I could give many more examples, and I am sure you could as well, but that is not where the story ends. There is more. This is all I have to give...now rearrange the words. I have all this to give. What? Thank God for giving me all I need. When I go to Him before reacting, my reactions are so different. And I know this. But it is a lesson I learn over and over again. God has not given me this husband and these children and said, "Okay, good luck with that. I will check in on you later if I have a minute." He is with me all the time. He gives me all I need...I just have to remember to ask.
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