Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sights and Sounds

"But then I saw that all toil and all skill in work comes from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 
better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and striving after the wind"
Ecclesiastes 4:4-6

You know, I really like cookies...but cookies are bad. Making them with my kids is a loving experience, full of sticky gooey smiles, but letting them eat more than one? BAD. Same with ice cream at bedtime, or a slice of fresh pie before dinner. Bad bad, all bad.

But by whose standards?

I was talking to some girlfriends a few weeks ago and we got on the subject of stimulating the senses in our home, creating smells and sounds and sights that they will crave when they are older - creating a unique home, separate from pinterest and Southern Living and Better Homes and Gardens. See, all that is good and helpful, but most of us use it as a guidebook to how it "should be". And doing all the right things, where does it lead us? To success? To kids who are "perfect"? To a Facebook worthy life?

I have what I've always wanted - the most amazing humble husband who comes home at least once a week with my favorite flowers, beautiful kids who I can homeschool and who love each other and get along
(although this is a new development), a home to call our own, and yet I struggle with finding meaning in it all. I was praying a few weeks ago for the Lord to just help me find meaning, or purpose, or joy in what I already have. It wasn't but a few days before my morning quiet time brought me to Ecclesiastes. This is my lot, I should find pleasure and joy in the toil of being a mama. But for the most part, I didn't see where I'm going to get my kids on a typical, boring, stay at home kind of day, until a song triggered my own memories.

It's no secret in our home that my husband and I love Tim McGraw, and so we've been listening to his new song on repeat around here. The song is about having it all - new car, big city, perfect mate, and yet craving "home" and all it comes with - supper on the stove, his daddy watching TV, the sun setting in the backyard, and it reminds me of my childhood. My childhood story smells like my Dad's coffee, which meant he was home from being away for work, it tastes like the mint milano cookies my mom would let me eat while she folded laundry and watched the Chicago news station. It feels like a ragged green comforter that wasn't pretty on the eyes but was pulled out of my parent's bedroom trunk on snowy days. If I could record my childhood it would sound like the typing of my mom's keyboard as she worked hard to stay at home and homeschool us. It looks like my dolls set up all over the entire downstairs living room and through the hallways in "school". I ate my veggies, we listened to worship music, and I cleaned my room, but that's not what I remember.

So what am I creating for my kids?

I wake up at 4 am. I bake a loaf of bread that between my neighbor kids and my kids gets eaten every day. I turn on a worship CD so that it's the first thing they hear in the morning, We do bible study, eat a hot breakfast, and do our chores in the same order, starting with teeth brushing and dog feeding. But what will they remember from that? Will they remember the disciplined chores, the healthy breakfast, the fresh milled bread? No - they'll remember the mornings that one of them wakes up before sunrise, interrupts my morning prayer, and we sit on the porch together, drinking their hot chocolate and my coffee, while we listen to birdies sing and watch the sun rise.

We don't turn the TV on until the evenings, we get dressed before breakfast, and we start school right at 8. But they'll remember the "jammie days" and the rainy day movies, and the cookies on the couch on the days Mommy doesn't care about crumbs.

Will they remember the worship music? Sure. But they'll also remember dancing around the baby's highchair singing old Kenny Chesney songs that they probably shouldn't be but I let them anyway.

Will they remember the fancy veggies and kale smoothies? I hope not. I hope they remember the nights that their Daddy decides apple pie counts as a serving of fruit.

Will they remember that the floors were mopped on Tuesdays and Fridays without fail? I hope if they do, that it's because they remember the nights that we play "rodeo" on the floor with them and that Daddy is the best bronc even though his back was killing him after the first 8 second ride.

Will they remember the smell of lysol and scrubbing bubbles? Maybe, but I really hope they remember the smell of the burnt chicken and the excitement of McDonalds that follows (while I cry because they're eating ammonia and styrofoam and GMOs and fake meat and...and...and...)

When their kids ask, they wont remember what their bedtime was, but I'm sure they'll remember the nights that they stayed up late and played with the neighbor kids outside while the moms took turns cooking and the daddies helped each other fix the lawn mowers...or the four wheelers...or the cars, or the fence, or whatever they could get their hands on...

I want them to remember that when they asked if they could throw flour at each other outside, or if they could build a fort with the fresh clean towels, or if they could have a sip of my coffee, or if they could make a pie from scratch with me on a Thursday afternoon that I said YES. And though in my mind we were making a mess and breaking routine, we were creating a HOME full of memories and senses and love.

And I'll remember it all, too. When they're grown and I have grandbabies to rock and no more juce boxes to buy I will remember the sights and sounds and smells of motherhood. Then I'll know what the day-to-day job of a mama was for.

"Everyone should eat and drink and find pleasure in his own toil - that is God's gift to man"
Ecclesiastes 3:13

1 comment:

  1. Abby I am amazed again at your talent for writing. Thank you for sharing these thoughts. Something I, for one, should think more about than trying to have a perfect home all the time. :o)