This morning was fairly normal in that nothing went according to my plan. It began when I slept in because Night Owl Leah thought Morning Leah would be fine with less sleep. She was wrong.
While getting Ben dressed for preschool, I felt rushed and a bit of shame, because we’re always late. I pulled his shirt over his head and grabbed his pants from the drawer, trying to keep things moving forward as Ben begrudgingly let me.
But then Ben realized that his pants had a button on them and he wanted to do the button himself.
I sighed and in that moment I realized I had a choice. I could let him button his pants, however long that might take. Or I could continue hustling us along in order to get out the door. The look of determination on Ben’s face convinced me to let him try. But then something incredible happened: Time slowed down.
Ben grabbed the button with one hand and found the button hole with his fingers on the other hand and brought them together. The pants were taut around his middle with the baby fat that hasn’t yet disappeared (thank goodness) and I wondered how he could see over that round belly to discover the button in the first place. But he did and he focused all of his energy there.
He brought the sides together, but soon enough the button slipped from his fingers and did not make it through the hole. I prepared myself for a scream that never came. Instead, this mature four-year-old boy grabbed hold of that button and the hole and tried again. Once again he lost his grip as that slippery button couldn’t quite reach the hole.
I wondered out loud if the pants were too small, but the idea was rejected as preposterous. Ben continued to try and try again. We eventually zipped his pants up to bring the button and hole close together and within moments, the deed was done.
Ben looked at me with confidence and self-assurance. “I knew I could do it,” he seemed to say. I held out my hands for high fives and exclaimed, “Well done!” He jumped and danced as I lunged for the Spiderman costume to finish getting dressed. It is Character Day at school after all.
When we got in the van, Ben announced, “My name is Ben, but you can call me Spiderman.”
“Ok, Spiderman!” I replied.
I turned the key in the van and everything happened at once. The wipers were wiping, the rear heat was on full blast, the brights were lit up and the emergency brake was in place. Someone has been here.
On a typical morning, this would have brought great stress, but sometime earlier I had decided things were not going to go as planned so instead I found myself laughing. I was laughing!
Jack must have stopped in the van on his way home from the bus yesterday afternoon. It is the only explanation. After shutting everything off, I sat in wonder at my two kids who are exploring their worlds in button holes and vans, discovering how things work, what they can do, what they cannot, just as their mom is trying the same thing.
I have been spending a great amount of time focusing in on the things that are good in my life, praying for a new perspective. It is easy for me to see the things that are less than ideal, much more difficult to find the joy in the moment. So it has become a journey. Just as I hung Philippians 4:8 on my wall, I need the reminder every day to take a moment to consider the positive. To not see it all as a disaster or lost, but another moment to be thankful.
This is one of the first times I can see that this discipline has paid off and prayers are being answered. I know I will continue to be overwhelmed by late mornings, children running around screaming and crying about who knows what as they should be getting dressed or brushing teeth or just in general listening to what I say. But maybe, just maybe, I can begin to see the joy and even the humor in these moments as well.
After dropping off Spiderman at school (there was none of the typical complaining about being left there today, those teachers are onto something), I returned home to sit with my cup of coffee and my book. It may have gone well, but I still need a moment of rest before I return to the grind of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, etc. etc. etc. Self care is soul care, after all.
So God, I close this little post in gratitude. I believe you prompted me to stop and to see the needs of my little Spiderman this morning and stop pursuing the urgency of my own stressed out heart. In allowing him just a moment to branch out into the new, I was given the opportunity to see who you’ve made him to be. Calm. Persistent. Courageous. Especially when given the opportunity. Please continue to help me remain calm. Keep my eyes on the good. And I ask that as I experience the fatigue that can only come because Night Owl Leah has no foresight for Morning and Mid-Afternoon Leah’s need for rest that you would help me continue to make choices not out of fear and anxiety, but out of truth and peace. Let me not see my need for rest as a weakness, but as a valid necessity of life. Amen.