I haven't posted for over a month. I hope this means or at least is a small demonstration that perhaps I have my priorities in order.... Maybe.
And I just had to stop to go clean up baby puke. How's that for priorities?
The night before last, my husband got home from work, kissed the baby that I was holding on my hip and then moved in to hug and kiss me and... stopped. I followed his gaze to the shoulder of my t-shirt. "Oh,..." I said. "That's probably sweet potatoes." I still received a kiss, but only a hug on the opposite side. Later, when I was near tears from a day that had prevented me from showering or changing out of my pj's, my husband practically shoved me towards the shower and said he'd watch the little man. I'm sure it had more to do with the sweet potatoes than anything else. :P
And we have.... more puke. Please hold. Ok. All better.
As a side note, I'm thinking that I should probably stop calling my son, "Chubbies". Just a thought...
Little man is now five months old and so completely awesome. We are enamored more and more each day. This morning Daddy "had to" wake him up to see those sweet smiles before leaving for work. And I actually didn't mind, because to be quite honest, I wanted to see those happy good-morning smiles, myself. Even if he did wake me up at the unholy hour of 4 a.m. Love makes allowances for such disturbances. Gladly. Not always easily, but gladly.
One of my dearest friends gave birth to her first child, a sweet little baby girl named Heidi, yesterday morning. I am in awe of life. Of these
tiny miracles that grow in us and then grow up, keeping us enraptured and wrapped up in their glowing eyes and their tight fists and their chubby thighs. My friend texted me this morning to say how in love she is with her daughter. How she can't stop crying tears of joy she can't explain. How it's so much bigger and greater than she had even anticipated. At one point she said, "Yes, like I keep crying because it's like my heart is breaking and getting bigger. Didn't know this feeling was possible."
I think that's what true love does. When you love someone that much... it breaks you. And when the pieces fuse back together, it has grown, somehow. Having my own son has changed me and opened up my spirit in so many ways. It's not just that I would do anything for him. There is a sacredness about parenting. I may not always find the time in my days to sit and study or flip through the Psalms, but I have a living, breathing need that requires me to love selflessly. That demands my patience. And let me tell you... I've had a lot of middle of the night prayers about my patience. A child is delightful and beautiful and new. And sometimes it's really, really hard. Rewarding? Without a doubt. But that doesn't change the fact that with any growth - any breaking - sometimes some uncomfortableness has to take place. Some readjusting.
Yesterday I was doing laundry and thinking about respect. Specifically, respect for God and executing my job as wife, mother and literal maker of this home, with the attitude that I don't report to myself or even my husband. I thought back over my employment days and I have worked for some really honorable people. Individuals who I felt honored to give respect to. I was quick to do whatever was necessary to do the job better or more efficiently or to do things or speak in a way that would make my boss look good. I took my association with them seriously. My job as an employee was not to just clock in and clock out. My job was to polish and shine - myself, my actions, my skills - so that all that glimmered was genuine and gold.
And sometimes in the midst of another load of laundry or another nap time or another bag of diapers to haul out to the garage... I forget. I sit here and shrug. That's how it is, sometimes. Those days when you would sleep all day if you had the opportunity and someone else was watching your baby. Days when you don't even think about dinner until your husband walks in the door and you remember, oh hey, maybe we should eat today. Days when a trip to Walmart is the highlight of your day (week?!) and some ice cream from McDonald's is your consolation prize for actually leaving your house at all to begin with.
I talk to God all day long. Or rather, I should admit that I chatter to God all day long. I don't know that we actually have many substantial talks. But even if I haven't been talking, I've been pondering. Kind of like with blogging. Maybe I'm not writing, but I'm still thinking and feeling and living. And I wonder how different my days and my attitude would be if I held up my role - not just of wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend - but of being God's and of Him being, in essence, my boss - as highly as I have held up human employers in my past.
I once had to consciously learn to refer to one of my bosses by his title and I had to work at it, because for years he had been a friend of my family. I had grown up walking in parades and going to fundraisers for him. And then, suddenly and gratefully, my dream job opened up and with a lump in my throat and fear consuming every inch of my 5'6 inch self, I waltzed in, wobbly, I am sure, in my big girl heels. It was not that I didn't respect my boss. I most certainly did. But in order to show him not only respect but to honor the office he held (a seat in the United States Congress), I had to drop the first name familiarity that I had known since I was twelve years old and attach "Mr." or "Congressman" to his name.
And I wonder... have I ever applied that much devotion to respecting the Lord's name? Is capitilization all that is required? Of course there is going to be familiarity with how I talk to the Lord... but He shouldn't become so familiar that I forget to be just a little fearful. Just a little bit in awe. And how different would my mornings and afternoons be if I kept in mind that I'm not just raising a son. That this is my job. Is it an honor to be home with my little boy? Of course it is! But was it also an honor to work for the government and my former boss? Yes. The only difference is that I don't wear suits and pearls to work anymore and that people rarely see me.
But my God can still hear and see me. While no one else may be aware of how my days go or when I lose my patience and lock myself in the bathroom, He is. He is aware of when I do less than maybe I should in a day's work. And I don't want to just get by just because He's God and He forgives. That's ridiculous and shameful and the easy way out. I want to be passionate and entrenched in life. Not just the life of husband and son, but of friends and their children. I want to shimmer, not because I want to be someone who does it all, but because I genuinely want to be worthy of my calling.
I want to make my boss look good.
I know that part of being a good mommy is taking care of myself. I've been thinking of how "Mommy" sounds. That yes, I'm a "Mom" but I am still "Me", too. A few nights ago I asked my husband to listen for the baby (he was napping), because I was going to go paint my toes and I didn't want to have to hobble into the nursery with half-painted toes... plus, I desperately needed just 15 minutes to myself. It sounds silly. Why does toe color matter? I don't know, all I can tell you is that it just does. To me, anyway.
And you know what, every time I look at my toes, I feel refreshed. Isn't that silly? But I think it just goes to show how much of caring for myself ties into me caring for my boys and being efficient in my job. When I worked in an office I didn't think twice about doing my nails or hair. It was a given. I wanted to look my best, because I knew my image reflected on the job I held and who I worked for. And now? Now it's easy to let things go because God is in Heaven and my husband is at work. I'm just being honest.
But part of respecting the job God has given me is to take care of myself, too. If God dwells in me and I am His temple, then I should take pride in caring for myself. That doesn't mean I should spend all of our money on salon treatments and massages (ahhh, massage!) but it does mean, I think, that there is something simple and blessing about painting my toes, for instance. I am a woman, first off and I don't find joy in unpolished nails. That's just me. I also dislike feeling ugly and dirty and so a shower and clothes that don't have regurgitated sweet potatoes on the shoulder is kind of vital. This doesn't mean that my son is neglected. In fact, he will receive more attention and better quality attention from a mommy who doesn't feel - and look - like she's been dragged all over town behind a truck. Umm, eww.
I just think that I need to pay attention and be aware of respecting God. It's easy to say, "Do everything as if you're doing it for the Lord!" but when you're struggling through another afternoon full of blowing raspberries and talking nonsense to coax smiles out of a little person, you forget. You forget there is something holy and great and big about being a mommy. About being a wife. About being a child of God. If you let it all blur, it'll just stay blurred.
So, I'll paint my toes on a regular basis to remind me that it's okay and good to take care of myself. That it honors my husband, in a way honors my son, and most of all, honors the God who created me to be girly and into such things like lip gloss, mascara and things that sparkle. While my worth is not tied to these things - and my beauty is not dependent on them - they are things that enhance those aspects of me. They are things that make my woman's heart thrill a little bit.
And I think God wants my heart to thrill. I think He wants my respect and my focus. I think He wants devoted times with just me; not me distractedly reading Scripture with an eye on the passage and an eye on the baby. I think He wants my awe. My heart. I think He wants me to do the things I do well and efficiently and I find joy in my to-do lists and my routine. I think that is something that He blesses when I make the effort. When I put aside trying and focus on doing.
It's not about doing everything, but about choosing what things are worthy and then doing those things better. And maybe the laundry and dishes won't always feel worthy. But right now? Right now they are. Somehow. He wants me to respect His office. He wants me to behave honorably outside and inside the home. But He also knows that He made me feminine. And when I embrace all aspects of who He created me to be, I believe that glorifies Him.
And that includes my red, "Juicy Tomato" painted toes and all.
"Why would a princess put on
an old dress to dance with her
beloved and a chance to catch his eye?..."
~ Nichole Nordeman