Disclaimer: these thoughts are several months old.
Last evening I met a girl at Natural Grocers. She was a student here for a semester, but her ethnicity was Indian. She was pretty and vegan and we talked about how we feel after we eat junk food. Then she asked how old my kids are. When I told her, she said, “Wow. What do you do with them? Like, can you talk to toddlers?”
I thought that was such an interesting question. What do you do with toddlers?
She asked to see pictures of them on my phone, which made me happy. I showed her these two from the day before. Adam fell asleep on the way to our garden, so we put him on a blanket in the grass. Ellie couldn’t stop kissing him and snuggling him. She often tells me, “Mom, he is so adorable.”
What DO you do with toddlers? I feel like I clean up after them a lot, and I take them places and train them. I read to them many books a day, most days. I tell them stories every night and I comfort them when they’ve pinched a tiny finger.
I’ve been saying it a lot lately: “I wish I could freeze time.” My babies are 4 and 2 years old and I have always had such an affinity for toddlers that I just wish we could stay here forever. I’m not so familiar with 6-year-olds and 10-year-olds so it feels a little more scary out there, but right now I really think it couldn’t get better. About once a day I think how nice it will be when Adam doesn’t launch into such startling, unreasonable fits of frustration, but I don’t take those too seriously.
There are two questions I hear a lot. “Are you planning to have more kids?” and “Do you think you will homeschool?” I didn’t know I was expected to have answers to either of those questions at this stage, but hearing them often enough has pushed us to develop some reasonable-sounding + humorous answers.
This week Ellie had dance camp, so every morning we were out the door by 8:30. I like it like that. We usually go somewhere fairly early in the day, come home for lunch and then they sleep all afternoon. Around 4:00 I start the laborious task of waking Ellie, who sleeps very, very deeply. I feel like I need some creative strategies for waking her, because it is really one of my most challenging chores. Yelling into her ear barely makes her flinch.
Miss Wendy was here for dinner a few nights ago, and we were sitting on the couch chatting when I noticed Ellie was missing. Hj found her in the bathroom with a scissors and a bunch of hair in the trashcan. She said she wanted to be like Miss Heather, my friend who has short hair. She spent a long time in front of the mirror after that, brushing her hair and coming to grips with what she had done.
The next day Adam took all his clothes off, went to the corner of our building right by the road and relieved himself and then stepped in it. Ironically, at the moment Adam was outside doing his business, I was on the phone with a friend telling her how frustrated I am that I can’t strike the balance between being a wife/mom and being a friend. I feel like I’m either neglecting my friends or neglecting my family, but I can’t seem to find the spot in the middle. I was on the phone catching up with a friend, but ignoring Adam for a full 50 seconds. The irony, huh?
The other day at staff meeting here on the campus, we were to sit in circles and take turns talking about what we personally are doing to reach the unreached, since our campus is called to stay focused on reaching people in the 10/40 window. I had to say my first mission is the unreached people in my home. Maybe not technically unreached anymore, but my kids came to us completely ignorant of the Gospel.
It’s a topic for another day, but I have a lot of thoughts and questions about teaching our children about God. I’ve always read Proverbs to them, but just recently introduced Bible stories like Joseph and Noah and Jonah. Their reactions are priceless. It has stirred in me such awe and wonder again for these incredible stories, and the Word of God in its mystery and depth.
This week Ellie’s dance camp has been very Christ-centered, and Ellie has loved it more than her birthday, I think. She told me on the way home one day, “Mommy, when I was dancing so beautifully something happened which I thought was going to happen. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit came and danced with me.” And I thought, I know that feeling. I’m fumbling through this beautiful dance of motherhood, but I can say with humble confidence, “I know what’s going to happen– God in fullness will come!”
I have been reading the story of Jacob wrestling with God over and over lately. In Sally Clarkson’s book “Different” there is a passage that talks about wrestling being a full contact sport; in other words, wrestling with God means being close to Him and engaging with Him. I found so much comfort in those words because I am always wrestling with big questions and beliefs, and usually I feel silly for getting hung up on things that most Christians seem to accept easily, or I feel like a traitor for my doubts. God has taken me back to Genesis 32 so many mornings in a row now, I’ve lost count. There are tears on those pages because I cry every time I get to the part where Jacob names his place of wrestling “The Face of God.” Even if I walk with a limp the rest of my life, I know that my wrestling and even my doubts have always led me back to the Way, the Truth, the Life. I know I have met God in the long, dark nights and I have never been the same.
I hope and pray that I will be able to let the people I love wrestle through hard things and deep questions too. I pray that I will sleep in peace, and when I wake up in the morning and see the limp of one who has wrestled with God in the night, I can say with joy, “Something happened which I thought was going to happen.”