In the midst of this morning’s whirlwind of activities in preparation for a “normal” day, as Seth obsessed about his cars, delayed brushing his teeth, taking his inhaler, and eating “at least three grapes”, Clare went from sweet to sour in seconds over which coat to wear, finally screeching both “I can do it ma’SELF!!!!” and “Do it FOR meeeeee!!!” and Sheila climbed up on top of the Cinderella chair and pulled down and scattered across the floor the “secret-box-for-tiny-toys-that-Sheila-could-swallow”, I had this thought:
If the morning ritual of preparing children for the day were fully embraced by moms and dads and lived with the heroic virtue it calls for, then all of purgatory could be emptied, our own hearts instantly sanctified (a kind of microwaveable mysticism), the eschaton hastened and salvation history brought to an abrupt but happy close in a matter of minutes. There. Done. Kick in the Nunc Dimittis chant cause this saint-making job is over!
But alas, the scripture sayeth that the just man falls seven times a day, and daddy just lost it thrice in the last five minutes. Well, it’s a process right, not a project.
My sister in law Christine, mommy to five, has a little plaque in her house that reads, “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling snow while it’s still snowing.”
Process. Journey. Stages through the ages of purification. Learning how to roll with it is the key; to roll with the often hilariously abrupt mood changes, likes and dislikes, emotions and attitudes. I think, and I might be totally off on this because I’m typing while holding Sheila who won’t fall asleep, but I think its about letting go of our own control, saying less, being more…. Not expecting checks in little boxes that make one feel “successful” (checks in mailboxes are most welcome, however).
Dr. Peter Kreeft nailed it when he said, “The family is God’s school of saint-making… You can’t have a family and be selfish.” Mommyhood and daddyhood are absolutely awful if you are trying to put your comfort first. Death traps, honestly. Children will and must destroy you, then remake you into one awesome unselfish person. Thank God. Anyone who imagines it’s anything else is about to get grape jelly on their dress shirt.