Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stepping into the Mess

It's Christmas, and my brain is kicking in with messages that it should be a relaxed time.  Time to play games, eat wonderful cookies and foods, do shopping and planning for gifts, enjoy life...

I think that is my child's view of Christmas.  It's coming into stark contrast with reality recently.  I think my Christmas blues have nothing to do with anything serious in my life right now.  Just with the awful reality that I am now the grown-up.  All those wonderful things that are supposed to happen at Christmas.... the food, the candy, the cookies, the presents.... they all mean WORK for the mommy!

I feel like I'm running all the time and am always running behind.  Every party, every event, every request for one more goodie for school, work, or minstry party... it is all one more thing to do.  And I am the mommy who doesn't buy store bought cookies.  At least my kids expect that.  Today, I told them that there is too much sugar and they should bring chips instead.  No one makes home-made chips, and the arguement saved face for me.

It hasn't helped that a friend is having a rough time.  I don't know what it is because I was gone today and not able to be there for her to talk.  But I have three extra kids.  Caring for them for her right now.  She can't.  She can't pull the energy together right now, and it is almost Christmas.  Kids should have memories of making homemade cookies, hanging out by the fire giggling at cartoons while eating cookies and chocolate milk, not memories of mommy crying and being too overwhelmed to play.  So, I have three extra kids right now.  I love them.  They are cute.  Oh, and then I have another extra because I had already promised my daughter and a friend that she could have a sleep over.  So that makes eight.  Not to mention the other five that I took home from school today, too.  Thankfully, I had not agreed to keep them, only give them a ride home.

So I feel like I am getting behind.  I'm not getting that perfect picture done.  My house is not vacuumed.  The laundry is not all done.... I'm only hoping I find clean uniforms for all these kids tomorrow.  I made batches of cookies, but they all went to carefully boxed gifts for the team.  I have to start again for our family baking.  And I'm tired.  I'm sitting at midnight waiting for the washing machine to finish so I can get the clothes to dry before morning so I am ready.  Six lunches sit laid out on the counter, and backpacks and jackets and boots and lined up in a row.  It will be an early morning tomorrow.  Two are not finished their homework, but we had a church program.  I'll have to get them up and get them focused.

I'm getting behind the perfect picture of Christmas, but this is Christmas.  It is about getting involved in other people's messes.  That is what Jesus did.  He got deeply involved in our mess.  So, I smiled at my friend and told her to hang in there, told her I enjoy her kids (I do).  That they giggled all afternoon while mixing cookies with me.  Three little girls sat lined up on my kitchen counter and I had to referee who got to stir for how long to keep it fair.  They had fun.  I hugged my friend and told her that she saw me go through last year, and that when she is ready to talk, I am here to listen.  If she doesn't want to talk, I am here to help her with the kids or anything else without needing answers.

And my house is full of children - children who likely will only remember playing games, watching cartoons, giggling, and eating cookies.  They don't see the midnight cleaning of the kitchen, the tired laying out of the clothes and lunches, the double checking sleeping heads, and the constant feeling of running behind.  For them, it is Christmas.  They're full of surprise and excitement.  They're looking forward to class parties, sledding, and fun.  I'm the one trying to locate 8 pair of gloves at midnight and make sure they all get dried for the next day.

It likely won't be picture perfect around here this year.  But, if we can keep some kids giggling and give some parents hope to keep going, it will be worth it.  There were people who stepped into my mess.  There still are.

Just heard the washer quit... got to go get six uniforms out to dry!


Angela said...

Ellie, that was beautiful!

Cindy said...

hang in there!! what you are doing for your friend is the true gift!

and don't worry about the house...I always do and make myself feel badly about it....
this week one of my boys said
he didn't know why I clean so much when it only gets dirty again :)

Becky Aguirre said...

I am so 'there'!!!! It's been an overwhelming month so far and now I'm facing all that I have to do this week! Ack! And I'm like you, I like all the results of of the work, but not necessarily what it takes to get us there...sigh. I pray you have a blessed week anyway. :)