Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's coming

Sadly, this is how so many people respond to Christmas.  This looming holiday that threatens to overwhelm and destroy...instead of uplift and uphold.  We know what "it's about", yet somehow satan comes in and steals it away and instead of an anticipated, hallelujah chorus and an "It's coming!"  We hear the Dum dum dum...and groan "it's coming."
This year I am determined to try and treat it like a hallelujah chorus.  Turn greed to giving.  Turn overindulgence to indulging others.  Turn hording to sharing and turn our eyes and hearts to Jesus.  Sounds charming.  Doesn't it? 
Reality check.  I can only control myself.  And so...I revise:  I am at least determined to try and keep a Christ like attitude in my heart  and be intentional with these lessons. 
I have been given ideas from preschool, Sunday school and if you look at pinterest, well, it's an explosion of Christmas ideas. I'll tell you what, from experience, pinterest ideas often look far better on pinterest. Did any other mom yell at their kids that they were making the "Thankful tree" wrong? (Not me of course...never.)  But the pinterest pictures paint it all lovely...I am sure it was nothing but sunshine and joy!  It completely overwhelms me and I sit back unmotivated and dejected that somehow I am failing my children because I am not have tons of patience for crafts with kids, I don't have enough money to buy every grocery bagger, mail person, garbage man, and salvation bell army ringer a gift card, and I do not have the time to do something everyday until Christmas.
However, I do have some craftiness in me, I do have some money, and I do have some time.  I have made a little calendar of things we are doing.  Our advent calendar this year is both giving and getting.  Sometimes they get a gift, sometimes they get a note of what we are going to do to bless others.  I even made a little grocery list to have the items ready and looked at the calendar to make the time to do these things, instead of squeezing them in, like an obligatory good deed.
Intentional...that's my word this Christmas.  I am going to be intentional.  And I am going to pray.  I am going to pray for patience, dilegence and understanding when my kids don't respond the way I want, when messes are made, when cookies don't rise, when crafts are ugly, when candy canes are broken, when money runs out.  I am going to pray when lessons go awry, when time slips away and when attitudes are not what I would hope for.  When my child falls apart, pees their pants or whines about wanting the candy we are going to give away. I am going to pray that I stop to enjoy this time with my children and bask in the gift of them.  I am going to pray that my heart lives out the lessons I am trying to teach.
Mostly, I am going to pray that in all of it, my kids hearts and my heart get closer to understanding the miracle of Jesus' birth and His road to the cross.  Because as I think of the lessons I want to teach my kids, I realize I have a lot to learn!  IT'S COMING......!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

More Time

I wish I had more time.  There are so many benefits to having the kids close together, the one draw back is having less individual time.  Oh, I carve it out.  The boys and I go on dates, I enrolled Amanda in a mom and me gymnastics class (after claiming I would never pay that much for a two year old to do anything, unless medically necessary...I broke down, just to have the time with her), I try to find time each day to do something...if only 5 or 10 minutes, with each one, but still...I want more. 
Certain days, I feel like I took Gavin's baby alone time for granted...the tummy time with him face to face, laying there soaking it in.  The dance parties we held.  The books we read.  At 18 months it was gone.  He had a brother.  Bray's baby time is a blur and Amanda's seems to be spent in a carseat or being jumped, galloped or ran around by her brothers. 
A day goes by and I miss what Gavin learned at school, because Amanda's screaming for a snack.  Bray tries to sing me his song, but Gavin is saying it hurts his ears, Amanda has a slew of words and stories to tell, hand gestures and all (none of which we quite understand) but she is cut off by a brother who thinks it means nothing.  No one is trying to get in the way.  No one is intentionally saying they are more important.  It's just life... their life.  What they know. 
Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to hear how the school day went, from beginning to end.  I wonder how many songs Brayden would sing, if I were always listening.  I marvel at the idea of capturing one of Amanda's wonderful stories or explanations on video without the background noise of "let me see" or "get me mom, look at me on camera".  But in the chaos, I have to let it go.
Don't get me wrong, I DO NOT regret the chaos.  I don't regret the sibling rivalry, the interuptions or one second of any of their lives.  I see the returns.  I get bigger dance parties, I get more belly laughs, I get many voices singing, I get a toddler in a doll stroller pushed back and forth down the hall between brothers, with squeals of delight, I get group dish washing, I get many hands using disinfecting wipes to clean the table, I get little protectors looking out for each other and I get three voices that say "love you mommy".  Totally worth it.
But some days, I still wonder what it would be like to have more time with each of them.  How it would change them, how it would change me.  If I have somehow shorted them, by having them so close. 
But then I remember, this wasn't the plan.  The plan was at least two years apart, maybe more for each...but God has a way of changing plans.  And when someone's singing is cut off by screaming, or a story about school is interuppted for an emergency potty break, I try to remember that God took our plans and changed them.  And if I am honest with myself, His plans are better.   I know this...it is just sometimes hard to remember when I am trudging throught the grocery store and see a mom of one  sweet and obedient four year old look at me like I am a nutcase because my daughter is screaming for her brother to stop pushing the cart, one brother is insisting on "helping" by pushing the cart and the other has his shoes stuck in the bottom of the cart (who knows how Bray accomplishes these things)!
But try and remember, I do.  Just learning to be thankful for the time I do have and make the most of it.  It's all these little guys know and to be honest, I think they would be lost without each other...and I know I would be lost without having any one of them!