Monday, September 12, 2011
I don't know about you but, I have a hard time just keeping things simple. Kinda like the magazine Real Simple. Have you ever read that? It basically masquerades as a manual to keep your life simple but really, all it does is make you restless because you don't have time to keep up with all of their "simple" decorating ideas or meal plans!
Most of the time my lack of simplicity manifests itself in the kitchen. We can't just have grilled cheese. We have to have grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup. For others it's in their crafting/decorating abilities. For me, I come up with a picture in my head about what something is supposed to be like and then, when things get difficult, I'll mow down anyone in my path to get it done. Just ask my husband. When I'm running around trying to get my vision a reality he says I'm "In Mode".
Some would euphemistically call that determination.
Others would realistically call it selfishness.
And if I'm being fair, I'd call it a little bit of both.
There are seasons of time that my love for the elaborate can be coddled and even celebrated a bit with fancy dinners and long-awaited house projects. And then there are times that I realize very quickly that if I don't pull out the Kraft Mac n Cheese, there will be no dinner and everyone will be starving. Usually at these moments, there is a wake-up call.
It's like God very politely taps me on the shoulder and says emphatically, "What are you doing?" To which I reply, "Ummm...making dinner?" He then responds with, "Oh, I see. Did you happen to notice the 10 people you ran over while doing so?" My look in response-huh?, says it all as my Ratatouille boils over in the background. He then whispers, "Simple my child. Simple."
Whatever! I can do it! See I can wash dishes with one hand, stir soup with another, keep the toddler from falling into the open oven with baking bread with one foot, and stomp on one of the million flies let in by older boys with the other foot. Ha! Look what I can conquer!! It's like the mommy equivalent of patting my head and rubbing my belly at the same time. Pure and utter coordination.
Although it's true that God made me to multi-task, He did not make me to plow through life. My husband and children especially do not need a lesson from me in rototilling either. Yet, sometimes, during these little years when I feel like I want to get back to "normal life", that is when I just want to sprint. Who cares who is in the way! I just want to go.
I've been getting hit with this lesson yet again (you'd think I'd have learned by now) as Steve has started back at Texas A & M. Things that were easy for him to pull off over the summer, just aren't that important now. And the more complicated I make things, the less likely everything will come out well. Even if the appearance is that all went well, I probably had to step on someone close to me to accomplish my goals. It's just not worth it.
Women are incredible in their talents and gifts. God has created us to take on so much and has given us the unique feminine strength to do it. He's also called us to work hard and make the best of what He's given us. But we love first. We love as He first loved us. That has to trump everything else. It's hard to be loving when you're literally knocking down others in an attempt to reach your goal. So much of learning to be a mother is figuring out how to wade upstream in the rapids without giving up. Yet, a wise, seasoned mother knows how to do this without losing anyone in the process. This is still something I have yet to master.
It's also difficult to remember that the things seeming to hold us back won't be around forever because the day in day out routine can seem monotonous. But those crooked smiles and grubby hands definitely won't be there for long. Our lives are but a breath. I'm sure, when my husband is out of grad school, heck even when the kids are grown, I'll have the time to make gourmet meals, train for marathons and volunteer to save the world. But for now, I better keep it simple.
I can aim for the beautiful, the perfect, and know I'll probably miss it. It doesn't mean I'm a failure. It just means that over the years I've become a realist....and even closer to becoming an optimist. For someone who has spent most of her life a pessimist, I think that's moving in the right direction.