Today was a great day.
It didn't start out that way. It started out with me snapping at the kids as I hurriedly tidied the house before a play date. You read that right, before a play date. [How dumb is that?] The toys and clothes were put away. I desperately needed to sweep (and use a Clorox wipe to scrub off rogue spit-up drops that managed to escape my attention and dry like cement on the floors). I contemplated taking pictures of my full [nasty] dustpans. Somehow I felt like I needed proof of just how bad it was. I wanted all those people who say, "Oh, just leave it!" to look at those pictures and tell me if they would be comfortable leaving it on their floors. I'm talking spaghetti noodles from last night's dinner, broken crayons, stickers, human hair, cat hair, dirt, tricky little dried peas (from who knows when), sticks, dried bits of play dough, etc. Nasty.
Parker and Maddie wanted to play...with toys we'd just put away. I just wanted them out. of. my. way. Nice, huh?
The guests arrived, and a wonderful time was had by all.
Not long after our friends had left it was "quiet time." By some miracle, all three kids were in their rooms at the same time. I knew I had a good hour to catch some z's. But I couldn't. I tossed and turned. Something my friend said during the play date played over and over in my mind. She said she loved reading my blog because it reminded her of just how precious this time [with our children while they are little] really is.
As I lay in my bed, I was overcome. Precious = valuable. What do I value? A clean house? That's pride. Time with my children, now that is valuable, to be cherished, not squandered. I am certain some readers are sick and tired of reading about this revelation. I know I am. Shouldn't true revelation inspire revolution? Where is the change?
I jumped down off the bed. Lying face down on the floor I reached out to God. I prayed for humility. Here I was again. Treating the priceless gifts that He has literally placed in my hands with disdain and annoyance. I begged for forgiveness...for some true and lasting change in my heart.
An old sermon I'd heard years ago tickled my brain. Something about repentance and turning your behavior around. As I was writing this blog, I did a little research. Did you know there are actually about four different words in the original Bible texts that have all been translated into the word "repent" or "repentance" in modern translations? One means to regret or feel sorry (been there, done that). But one means "turn." Basically, it means don't just feel badly and say sorry; quite literally turn your behavior around. Repentance is an action.
I couldn't wait to get off that floor. I ran upstairs and hugged my babies (the older ones, anyway; I haven't had enough time to really mess things up with Jack yet). They were confused but happy. "Is quiet time over already?" I was grinning and crying. "It is today."
We went downstairs and began work on some "ordaments," as Maddie calls them. Flour and salt flew everywhere. Dough dropped on the floor. Mushy ornaments were torn. With each perceived infraction, two little heads whipped around to gauge my reaction. I didn't even have to fake it. I shrugged and laughed, dismissing it with an "It happens."
Love and warmth and kindness filled our kitchen. I watched in amazement as my two (typically territorial) children shared. Maddie climbed atop the stool and immediately scooted to one side. "Here, Buddy. Here's a place for you." "Do you want this cutter, Maddie?" They squished dough balls and traded cookie cutters for the better part of an hour. When we were finished, the counter was lined with stockings, gingerbread men, candy canes, and hand prints. They were beautiful.
With a huge smile on his face, Parker sighed, "This is the gladdest day ever." I couldn't agree more.
Tomorrow is another play date. Remember the mom with the white socks [see previous post: I saw your socks, and I'm sorry]? They are coming. My floors are a mess again tonight. Maybe I'll see if the kids want to play with the dustbuster and suck up some crumbs tomorrow. Maybe I won't. What I do know is that with God's help, I will set my pride aside, and tomorrow can be the gladdest day ever, too.