This is the story of yesterday. Yesterday is recurring in this household. It is a day that starts way before I am ready to get up and ends way later than I want to stop. It starts with babies crying that they want to eat and get up and it ends with babies crying that they are not tired and don’t want to go to bed.
Yesterday is the day that I wake up thinking about how irreplaceable I am. How could my family even survive a day without me? How many days would it take me to recover what little order remains if I were to leave for a day… On yesterdays, I am constantly aware of how needed I am. I am the one everyone wants to talk to. I am the one who answers the questions. Constant interruption. Constant interruption. I wished that I’d never even thought of that phrase in its relationship to parenting.
I try in vain to find a few minutes to myself. All day long. Every time, I get more frustrated. Because there is not enough time in the day to do a fraction of anything.
I wrestle with my identity. I wrestle with my purpose. I wrestle with the person I have become.
I think about the book I want to write. I set that dream right beside the one where my house is clean and in order. Where the laundry is done.
And I go back into the kitchen to clean up or make the next meal.
This is the story of yesterday.
This is the story of today.
Today I woke up to the softest, sweetest little human voice in all the world. And she is calling for me. And I am the best thing in the world to her. I pick her up, nurse her, try for a few more minutes of rest feeling the glow in my heart of having a little baby right there beside me. Her little tiny fingers. Her delight that it is morning and we are awake. The first smile of the day.
Today there is good coffee and fresh-baked muffins and the talk about the first day of fall which will be coming soon. The table is alive with eight beautiful faces. There is humming at the table! The unrehearsed symphony of voices at breakfast. This particular song will never be heard again. It is just for this meal, this moment.
I catch a glimpse of my husband across the table and feel gratitude that this is my life and we made it this far, and that we have accomplished something much greater than the book I wanted to write or the fleeting dream of a spotless, always-guest-ready house. Wow. This is our life.
The day progresses with a routine schedule, but I am really there. I am not fighting against the rituals of housework or schoolwork, because they are rich with meaning. These are the moments that, one by one, are making up our lives. There are the slanted loops of written letters, my girls’ laughing voices, thousands of tiny bits of paper on the floor. There are doll dresses and piano songs, train tracks and math facts, the indescribable beauty of sunshine on red hair. There is constant conversation about books and bugs and baking. Words fill up this house to the ceiling every day before they expire and clear for the following. But today I listen. I see that my girls are changing and growing. I notice how beautiful they have become. I hear that my boys think in ways I never would have imagined. I hear the dear, beautiful music of a two year old’s voice. I see the baby’s face. It is a healing balm for all that is wrong in this world. I watch, in amazement, as I am discovering who these children are.
I am loved and adored. This is the story of today. I settle into it. I don’t wrestle with my identity. I don’t wrestle with my purpose. I just live and breathe and use the senses that God has given me to experience this day, moment by moment, and to enjoy this life.
I am rich and my heart is full. I am deeply loved. I am present. I have so much to be thankful for. Life is such a gift.
This is today.