Hey there, mamas. I thought of you tonight.
Because I crawled around the living room floor, tossing plastic food into a basket, setting the toy bin upright and returning baby dolls and blocks and rattles to its depths. I re-stacked the baby books, largest to smallest, and put all the dining room chairs back around the table, their destiny as forming the wall of a giant playpen fulfilled. Until tomorrow.
I sorted socks and switched laundry from the washer to the dryer and started a new load of darks, even though I've already done two today (thank you, river and woods behind my house). I eyed the menu on the fridge and wrinkled my nose because I've already used up the fun, easy recipes this month and the remaining meals take more work and imagination.
I hugged and kissed all the children in their beds and scrubbed marker from the dining room table and ran another sinkful of soapy water for the evening snack dishes. Bedtime seems a distant dream, but it's coming. And I'll need to rise once to nurse a fat baby girl, even though I neglected to feed myself a time or two today.
And when the alarm softly plays at six thirty a.m., I will begin praying from my pillow because I . can't. move.
Oh, sweet mamas, are you ever pressed into your pillow by the weight of a repetitive day ahead? Same old toy clean-ups. Same old overflowing laundry baskets and empty snack containers and piles of school books and dirty diapers and bickering children and bottomless stomachs and muddy shoe prints (oh, please let that be just mud...) and... and...
To be honest, when I thought of you tonight as I crawled around the living room, I smiled to think that I'm not the only mama doing the same things all day, every day. Setting up the pins for knocking them down. It doesn't matter what our position is in this life, we're all setting up pins for knocking them down. I truly believe it matters very much how we set them up, and how we react to the knocking down.
There is an exquisite beauty in this repetition. And there is simply no way around it; when one's life is full of the care of young souls, certain things must happen every. single. day. Bellies must be fed. Clothes must be cleaned. Character must be shaped. Love tanks must be filled.
And I could just leave the living room set up as a giant playpen with baby toys everywhere, because that beautiful girl will wake in the morning or from her naps and crawl happily to her things to play by dumping it all out anyway, right? But I'd rather put it all away, bring order to the room. Every nap, and every bedtime. It's a changing of the hours, a gentle movement into the next good thing. Same goes for sorting socks, I expect. And preparing meals. This rhythm- it's a gift to our families; order and routine are lifelines for children, and it's how they know what's coming next. It's how I know what's coming next.
(Some days, that sameness? It's all too much, and we need to shake things up. Eat dinner out, do school work in the back yard (or not at all- shh.). Maybe a morning and afternoon Quiet Time? Ignore the laundry for a day, and take a walk (or five) instead.)
But sisters, we were made to do this, by a good God who greatly values our role as a foundation of society. To be here now. Bring order, fill tummies, kiss owies. (And by the way, isn't "bring order" a much nicer way of saying, "clean poop from carpet", or "pick up ten jillion tiny pieces of paper from the five-year-old's scissors practice so the baby doesn't find them and eat them all"? I think so.)
So mamas, tonight when your head is sinking heavily into the pillow? So's mine. And I'm praying for you. I'm praying for us all, that tomorrow when the alarm or the baby's cry or the chirping birds wake us, we are not pressed into our pillow by the weight of the day, but smiling as we rise with the hope of it.
Let's set those pins up with style! They're gonna get knocked down anyway, we might as well give it all we've got.
P.S. - Pillow prayers? Sometimes they're all I get before the day begins, and I cannot tell you how much they help. Because Psalm 34:4.