Monday, January 4, 2010

First Day Back

Well, our Christmas vacation has officially ended and regular life has commenced again in our household. Steve went back to work, the children and I picked up our daily routines and the washer has been going all day for our usual Monday Laundry Day. These are all familiar things and familiarity and routine are so wonderful when we can be comforted by them and not ruled by them. Of course, our only lament after these wonderful weeks of fun and the holidays is that our beloved Daddy has to go back to work. I know he's ready. He loves to be with us but knows that being home all of the time isn't what he's cut out for...he's made to go out and conquer the world. Even my little boys exhibit these primitive man behaviors by playing outside and killing the bad guys with whatever weapons they possess. They don't want to be inside. It's just a "man thing" I guess. It's not that we can't make it without him. We can. We just don't really like to. But alas, life continues to move on and we all adjust slipping back into our places and spin and move together as if in dance. It's just the way it goes. And as we glide back into our routines it's nice to reflect.

I always learn things when I'm on vacation. Oftentimes it's that I need to relax, be joyful about the chaos, approach my children in different ways (mostly by watching their Dad interact with them so much) and be spontaneous. This year, I tried to approach the two weeks off with a more cavalier attitude giving myself a little "vacation" myself. I ordered myself not to clean (beyond the necessary) and to just keep up with laundry as needed. Of course, that meant I was still working a TON (the floors just get messy so fast and when two little boys pee in the toilet, they must be cleaned before too long) but the pressure to get things done within a certain time were lifted and I found myself enjoying our time and really on vacation!!

Both Steve and I agreed that this was our best Christmas break. I think over time we continue to understand each other better causing our transitions in and out of vacation to be smoother. I have come to see that Steve being home is not my invitation to pile a bunch of tasks on him (although I want to sometimes) but that he needs rest and recreation from all that he endured during the first semester. Teaching day in and day out is hard work and to get a bit of rest is best for his mind and his soul. I believe he has come to understand me better as well by giving me lots of time to go for walks and take long showers. These extra little privileges are so wonderful and really bless me. The burden of disciplining and correction are also lifted off of my shoulders for a good stretch of time, due to Steve being home all day, giving me a bit of freedom to relax and enjoy the ride. I love the covering my husband is to me. These are wonderful benefits.

But I saw yet another benefit this Christmas vacation that came out and surprised me. One that I hadn't thought about in this way before but I need to remember. I saw the benefit of me being where I am, as a mom and the job that I have taking care of my children, not just for them or even for my husband but for me. I don't often think about it that way. I usually think about how great it is for my kids that I can be around or that my husband benefits from me taking care of things at home so that he can simply worry about things at work. And these things are true. But I don't often think about what a benefit it is to me. I truly am benefiting so much from being able to be here. I know not all women have that privilege and that there are many who wish they could but can't. I understand that and this isn't meant to demean their place in life in any way. But for me, the privilege of being around was so apparent to me this vacation.

So you're wondering why I'm bringing all of this up so I'll tell you. One of the nights over break I had a dream...a nightmare rather. I dreamed I was in a military boot camp. I was doing well and passing all of the physical tests. My Commanders were so pleased with me. They kept telling me I was a good soldier. I felt pleased I was doing so well but something plagued me. I knew that it was my son Caleb's birthday and I wasn't going to be able to be home to make him cupcakes. In fact, I wasn't even going to be able to talk to him or see him. I woke up in a panic and roused my poor husband awake (he tells me to always tell him my nightmares) and finally realized after some time that it wasn't true; I was home and Caleb would be getting cupcakes on his birthday in a few weeks. But I was genuinely upset by it. It really stuck with me for a few days.

What I learned from it was this. As hard as my job can be, day in and day out, where I am is a blessing and privilege to me. I get to see everything. My husband doesn't. I get to relay all of the funny stories, help brothers sort out fights, wipe away all of the tears and share in the daily triumphs. These things bless me. I get the majority of the kisses, the hugs and smiles. And when push comes to shove, my boys LOVE their Daddy but when they need comfort, they want their Mama. But even more importantly, I get taught crazy lessons by their honesty, my failings and all of our shortcomings. God uses them to make me more like Christ. That is where the true benefit of being a mom is. God uses my children to refine me. Wow!

I pray that I can be a blessing to my family but ultimately, I'm the one who is blessed by them. And if I can keep that in the forefront of my mind as I start this new year and I think about adding another one, well then I think we'll all be just fine. That is as long as I get to stay in my little house and no one ships me off to Boot Camp!

Hope your Christmas vacation was full of so much family fun, love and the Savior. Happy New Year from our family to yours!!

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