I move into the rhythm of the weekend, the slow, steady down, rest beat, the Ray Le Montagne in the speakers, the stir the eggs a little longer, set a while, feel it down in your bones pull of the chicory, cinnamon, bourbon notes of the coffee percolating away. It’s raining and warm, a mean contradiction in terms on the first decently spring warm day of March. We all eye the thermometer longingly, eyeing the sky, wait for the rain to stop. It never did stop raining.
I note things for the to-do list for the week to come. Clean out and straighten the pan cabinet. Switch the children’s clothes. Plant the lavender, the rosemary, the catnip. I scribble a veritable brain dump into my Moleskine- getting all my work commitments out on paper, the home projects, the learning goals. I put all down on paper and then I walk away, curl up on the couch in between the lanky legs of preteens and rounded baby bellies of toddlers and watch Doctor Who.
I slip through the house and turn the lights off as I make my way up the stairs. All is well and all manner of things shall be well, I think to myself. The thought that Elliana and I might try to go to church for the first time in over six weeks brings a smile to my face. She is going to be all right. We don’t know, but God does, and she is getting well. How I looked forward to the Sunday to come! More rest and respite were the only things on my list for the day.
As the sun comes up on Sunday morning, I hear a peculiar sound. Moving down the spiraling stars to our first floor, the sound becomes overwhelmingly loud- it is the sound, like rain, of water cascading from our second story bathroom to our first floor kitchen. Over the pan cabinet, no less, the very pan cabinet that needed a proper organization and scrubbing out. Like cartoons, they are stacked willy nilly and overflowing with dirty water. Funny how plans change. Everything we had hoped and prepared for on Sunday is scuttled for repairs…all because of a sluggish sink and a little one who slipped into the bathroom for a drink in the wee hours of the night.
The children needed to be kept busy, and out of the second floor (where they normally play in their rooms); most of the first floor was off limits too. As I cast about to keep them busy, it dawned on me that two birds might be killed with one stone- a ‘fashion show’ in the living room as we assessed the children’s clothing for size and wear. The boys, I’ll admit, were nowhere near as enthused as the girls who twirled and twirled to their hearts delight, but with the older boys’ quick and steady hands to carry the proper clothes back to the closet, we made fast work of the chore. I still haven’t been able to get the seeds in the dirt, but starting the week with a fresh house and no looming projects was quite a treat, even if it did feel a bit odd.
Monday had its own battles; a child wasn’t feeling well, and then two, and then three, a cold brought home from school and helped along by strange spring weather. So, to, today, with a kitchen and pantry bare and in need of replenishing, a chore I usually reserve for another day of the week.
As I was stirring dinner, I thought about plans. Control. Needs. Wants. A piece on NPR was discussing a corporation and a re-structuring, and it wound into my thoughts, I guess…my own little company of merry mischief makers and the intake and the outflow. My own plans. One of the hardest things in my mothering vocation to this day is a daily letting go of my need to control, to learn that ninja like flexibility a domain such as this requires. I think, dear hearts, we spend so much time focusing on our failures, especially in this area, and oh, it’s hard, loves. It really, really is. When a family gets out of step things can really go sideways in a moment and it’s hard to deal with the ensuing chaos that usually accompany it.
But today, I’m thinking about my plans for the weekend. I’m so grateful that the damage was minimal, and I can see how God ordered it all, how He calls me to each thing in His time, and how it’s okay to lean into the dance. How I did, how we children and I, we did a little shuffle-step to the left and we ended up on Monday exactly where we needed to be- a clean house and a calm mother ready for sick children. I memorized a Psalm of Moses a long time ago, and daily it seems to be my prayer, that I may learn to let go, learn to dance, learn to see and know.
Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.
For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Return, O Lord!
And have compassion on Your servants.
Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.