When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


It was the best of times; it was the worst of times

So many intense and contrary emotions and situations are flooding my life right now; I feel as though I can't keep my head above water one moment and like I'm floating on cloud nine the next. I'm not sure how much of it is internal [hormonal] and how much is just plain situational. Here are some examples...

Last weekend the entire family stayed home for the majority of the weekend. This may not sound odd to some families, but my husband is such the antithesis of a homebody that 2 days after Jack came home from the hospital the whole fam-damily took a trip to Bass Pro Shop because Daddy was so stir crazy. So, when Aaron voluntarily stays home on the weekend, it's a big deal. We cleaned, played, and cleaned some more.

On Sunday evening, after all three children were tucked in bed, Aaron grinned and asked if I wanted some wine. [Is the pope Catholic?] Soon he was off to the store to buy our victory drink. When he left, I surveyed the house...a wreck. How was this possible? Oh well. I started by unloading the diaper bag (which had become stuffed beyond maximum capacity over the course of the weekend).

What the...? Why was it soaking wet? I knew we'd put some wet diapers in there, but they weren't that wet. Then it dawned on me. Breast milk (which had been pumped and left in the pump...long story) had spilled all over the inside of the bag. The bag. My brand-new, super-cute, unexpected-gift-from-Grammy, embroidered-with-Jack's-name, diaper bag! I did what any sane person would do. I lost it. I sobbed. Why, oh, why couldn't I have anything that didn't get ruined? Why couldn't I have nice things that stayed nice?

With puffy eyes and tear-stained cheeks, I looked around the room. Dishes piled high in the sink, a full dishwasher, shoes and clothes on the floor, crumbs on the table, toys under the table. I sat in a chair and sobbed. Just then Aaron came home, wine in hand, a smile that quickly faded. "What's wrong?" he asked innocently. How dare he? Couldn't he see that we lived in filth and chaos??

"My diaper bag!" I wailed. Between sobs, I explained about the breast milk. "Well, can't you clean it?" he asked simply. I glared. "Of course I cleaned it! It's just that nothing stays nice in this house! I'm sick of it! I'm sick of toys and laundry and dishes!" I could see the vacant stare in his eyes. He was retreating to his happy place. "Forget it!" I yelled.

Then I went about the house cleaning like a maniac. While I was picking up the toys and placing them in a laundry basket, wouldn't you know it, demon doll (see previous post -http://rauschfamilycircus.blogspot.com/2011/08/demon-doll.html ) fell on the floor and began to cheer. I went to the door and launched her off the back porch onto the driveway (secretly hoping one of us might run her over in the morning). Aaron shook his head and retreated to the office [a wise move]. The crying and cleaning continued for some time.

A similar scenario was repeated the next evening. Finally, I stopped, prayed, apologized to my poor spouse, and rested.

Fast forward one day...We went to Grandma's house to visit with Gigi (Grandpa Bob's mother) who was in town from St. Louis.  I put Jack down for a nap, then was able to rest myself while the two other kids played with Grandma and Gigi.  When I awoke, I found Parker playing cops and robbers with Gigi, each taking turns shooting each other with toy guns and giggling.  Grandma was preparing a picnic lunch while Maddie worked a puzzle.  My mom never ceases to amaze and inspire me.  Rather than struggling down the steps (to the covered patio) with Gigi's walker and a bulky picnic basket, she tied the basket to a rope and lowered it over the edge of her two story deck where Parker and Maddie "caught" it.  They were ecstatic.  Parker insisted they were pirates catching treasure.  It was a delightful day.

The next day was Parker's first day of preschool - another wonderful day!  This day was filled with milestones and blessings.  I had been so nervous that things wouldn't go well.  There were so many variables...would we wake up on time [we didn't], could I get everyone dressed and fed and out the door on time [I did], would Parker get along with his classmates with whom he didn't really make a connection at orientation [he did], would he listen to and obey his teacher [undetermined].  When he bounded into the van at noon prattling on and on about his new friend, Noah, his painting, and his excitement about returning on Friday when he would be allowed to paint his hand, I knew the day had been a success.  I offered up a silent prayer of thanks.

A few short hours later, Parker and Maddie were dropped off at Grammy's house so I could take Jack to his one month appointment.  When we arrived at Grammy's, it was like Christmas in August.  She had purchased shoes for everyone in the family, save Jack (who got a hat and bib instead).  I must say, Gram has amazing taste.  These are the shoes she got for Mommy.  (Score!)

I was giddy at Jack's appointment.  It was so exciting to be at the doctor's office with just Jack.  I know it might sound silly, but after having lived far from extended family and having to take multiple children to every medical appointment (including my own), there is something wonderfully relaxing about being able to focus on one child at a time.  I was able to answer the doctor's questions and snuggle with my sweet baby boy during the entire appointment.  I could think and speak clearly without interruption.  Even more exciting than the new found focus, was Jack's progress and growth.  He is now 10 pounds, 1 ounce and has grown 1 inch in length.  He is right on track.  I don't take his perfect health for granted.  I recognize it is a blessing from God and am extremely grateful. 

So there you have it...chaos and drama juxtaposed with fabulous family and memorable milestones.  That's life right now, and for right now, I love it.

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