From the Mouth of Babes

I am task oriented. If you look the term up in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure my latest passport photo is there to sum it all up. It doesn't bode well for life in Africa, actually. Or life with 4 kids. 4 kids IN Africa almost puts me over the line into certifiable.

I've read so many books and blogs about motherhood, and its sacred value, and I believe it all with my head. But in the day-to-day grind its really hard for me to get excited about laundry which just gets dirty again, or dinner which gets rapidly devoured, has to be cleaned up off the table and floor, and then has to be wiped off bottoms the next day. (Sorry if that's too much--I'm a nurse with 4 kids. Poop stopped horrifying me years ago.) What they don't necessarily tell you about task-orientated people is that we want to do a meaningful task, check if off the list, and move on to the next meaningful task---not face the same mundane thing 17 minutes later. Because that's not accomplishing tasks. That's my worst nightmare. And that's life. But as much as I despise the 'wash and repeat' nature of a mom's life, it's still easier to do that load of laundry than to tackle tasks like:

1. turn children's hearts towards God.
2. foster gentleness and grace towards one another
3. embrace each child's differences and build self-esteem without entitlement
4. teach children how to balance life between cultures and how to help without hurting
5. encourage generosity towards the needs around us while avoiding bitterness at the
     things we've given up to be here

Chad has been out of town a lot this year. The first few times were rough, mostly because I maintained such a long list of things to do each day, and I never put being both mom and dad to the kids on the list (cause really--how do you check that off???). But slowly, with gentle reminders from my dear husband and prompting from the Holy Spirit, (and the return of my work partner to take some of the tasks off my plate--hallelujah!) I'm starting to get it, and we're in a rhythm that's working pretty well. There might be hope for me yet, because... miracle alert!...yesterday I put aside packing boxes for our upcoming move and painted rocks with the kids all afternoon. No joke!

Last night, Omara was in tears because she couldn't find any pajama bottoms at bedtime. The clean laundry, folded but not put away yet (see, task undone) was nearby so I pulled out clean jammies and said, "Momma saves the day!" She laughed and said, "No, you don't!" so I tickled her, she squealed, and we went up to bed.

This morning, she was still in those jammies when she wanted to go play, so I told her to get dressed. She cried because she didn't want to go upstairs to get once again, I pulled out clean clothes from the same laundry basket full of cloths still not put away, and said, "See, momma saves the day again!"

Omara rolled her eyes and said, "Mom, washing laundry does not save the day."

I have to admit, that voice inside my know the one that always feels under (or un-)appreciated? It tried to take a jab at me. "For crying out loud child, it totally saves the day, because it's now TWICE averted a 4-year-old-melt-down, and anything that can do that is most definitely a day-saver!!!!!"

But that was just in my head.

Out-loud I said, "I thought surely washing laundry saved the day!"

In her best lecturing voice, she shook her head at me and explained, "No, mom. It doesn't. Kisses, and kisses with hugs, save the day." And with a big juicy kiss planted on my cheek, she danced off.

Kisses with hugs. That I can do. Maybe, just maybe, it'll save the day in the end.

I'll add that to the list...



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