It seems silly, yes, I know. It’s a first-world problem for sure. But the reality of it was an indicator of how ‘out of control’ my life sometimes feels. Today the kids were going to exchange Valentine’s with their sweet friends from our Adventure Club. Two weeks ago I felt on top of things- the kids and I were touring Pinterest for ideas. There were grand visions…..of beaded heart wands….penguins….packets of gum, to wish friends an “Extra” special Valentine’s. All hand-made items. Beautiful stuff. We did all the shopping at Michaels and Target to gather all the necessary supplies. I was on my A-game. The vision and materials were accounted for. The kids created samples of their visions to see if they would work. We tried dipping hearts in a Borax solution- to create crystallized formations; they turned out beautiful but realized we didn’t have the time to create enough of those with our road trip planned for the weekend. Creative energies were flowing. My heart was thrilled to see how much dedication my kiddos were pouring into handcrafted Valentine’s for their friends. It made the sprawling mess of our dining room table totally worthwhile to see and live with for a week.
On Sunday Jacob realized he was going to be short several sticks of Extra gum for his Valentine’s. So, Monday morning after dropping off Natalie at school we headed to Target to return the blow-pop lollipops for the butterfly Valentine’s that they had changed their minds on, and to buy more Extra gum. While we were there we bought some bananas and bread as well. At the checkout counter I told the lady we didn’t need a bag. So off we walked with our few items and headed home. I felt like I had wasted our precious morning homeschool time for this trip for gum. I love the morning time the best- it’s when my kiddos are the freshest and most diligent with their school work.
Well, lo and behold! Later in the day it was discovered that the pack of watermelon flavored gum we had bought was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t in my purse…or the car…or anywhere in the house. The bananas and bread had made their way into the house, but no sign of gum. Had we left it at the checkout counter???!? Grrrrrr. Aaaaaugh. Are you serious?!?! Last night I was ever so hopeful it would show up, so I went to bed optimistic for the morning discovery.
This morning no such discovery was made. Drats! So that meant getting all of us in the car for an early morning trip for a pack of gum. I was frustrated. This had already been planned for and the trip had already been made the day before. I felt like I was wasting my time. Again. For the second time. I already felt that way with the trip to the store the previous day. And now it was happening again. Grrrrr. I didn’t like starting my day like this. Now I was wasting a second morning of precious homeschool time. I kept trying to tell myself “it’s all for the amazing thing of teaching the kids the importance of loving on others through the beautiful gift of handmade art and cards”. I asked myself a few times why in the world I didn’t just take my kids to the grocery store and pick out a few boxes of the pre made Valentine’s. Why do I always seem to have a knack for doing things that are more involved?
Then we came home and the rush was on to finish the project. I also had the great idea of doing all the prep work for a crockpot dinner. The minutes were ticking. I needed to order pizzas for the Valentine party. But we hadn’t yet done any math, reading or writing for homeschool. Ugh. That feeling of not getting things accomplished the way I had imagined them or wanted them to be done.
It was time to get dressed. I wanted to wear my fun red dress. But that required finding my bra that crisscrossed in the back. Where in the world was that bra?! Drats. Dang it. Now is when I’m bummed beyond bummed that my laundry pile is out of control. Once again that horrid feeling- life feels out of control. Here I am patiently sitting with my kiddos day after day helping them figure out how to create beautiful hand-crafted Valentine’s, but aspects of my life feel out of control. Laundry always feels out of control. I can’t stand laundry. It is the bane of my existence.
There are things I know I am doing amazingly well and others that make me feel like I don’t have my act together. Organization and cleaning- those two things get me down all the time. Raising empathetic, loving kids who can communicate their thoughts and feelings clearly and who absolutely love to learn, those I know are marks of my success as a mom.
I know it was just a pack of gum. But if felt like it indicated so much more. In teaching my kids to love on others I somehow felt like I had made an exchange once more and had missed the mark. We dedicate so much time to learning and to loving, but not enough time on cleaning and organizing. I want my kids to grow up to be loving, capable, intelligent people who don’t struggle with neatness and organization. And yet the schedule of our week somehow never reflects the practice time in cleaning and organization. It doesn’t magically happen- I know that for sure. I’ve realized that the structure of our week doesn’t have ‘cleaning’ and ‘organization’ practice times built in. That’s going to need to be my next step.
The question is when? Ha! That limited commodity of time. It’s all about prioritizing, I get that. For instance I need time to clean off my computer hard-drive. I didn’t think this was possible- but I’ve completely filled up my hard-drive and I can’t download a single other picture. The 17,000 pictures I’ve taken and downloaded in the past 12 months alone take up a gargantuan amount of memory on my computer. Plus all the thousands of the previous years. I’ve hit the limit of my computer’s memory. Yes, I have an external hard drive and copied over all my pictures. But, really, did all the pictures get copied over? I can’t get myself to delete the 17,000 originals on my hard-drive without a surer sense of them truly all existing on the external hd. It would be a bummer of bummers if I lost part of our pictures in that process somehow. I should sit and organize my pictures into folders and then take a closer accounting of what transferred or didn’t. Or for that matter, make photo albums of the pictures that are the most precious. But with what time?
I’m trying not to get overwhelmed but I feel it creeping in. Time to clean. Time to organize. When/where/how do I make that time? It means giving up and changing other time allotments. That will need to be the focus of my next attention.
Or I can just go to sleep, call it a night, and hopefully wake up refreshed and less stressed tomorrow morning.
But reality is that tomorrow morning when I wake up and the light is streaming into Natalie’s mess of a room…..I won’t have any downloaded pictures from today’s Valentine party to remind me of the look of complete joy that was on her face as she anticipated passing out her beaded heart wands to each of her friends. Each one of those wands required her to spend time picking up, one by one, 50-70 beads and then stringing them individually, one by one, onto a pipe cleaner. That means she had the dexterity and patience to create intricate crafts utilizing between 700-1,190 small beads! And she did it with complete joy streaming from her heart! There wasn’t a single moment of “ugh! mom I wish I hadn’t started this project!” Nope. Not at all. She was dedicated and completely full to overflowing with radiant joy at the thought of loving on her friends in this tangible way. Today seeing her sit on a picnic blanket holding her vase with all the heart wands looking like a gloriously radiant bouquet of flowers each catching the sunlight in a sparkly way and her face expectant of the joy that would come with the delivery of each special gift to her beloved friends……that moment…..that precious moment is emblazoned into my memory. I hope to hold onto that forever……but especially tomorrow when I have a conniption fit over how messy her room is.
I’ve taught my kids how to appreciate their education and how to be good friends with big hearts. Now I need to focus some time and energy on developing their/my organizational/neatness skills.
Wishing myself luck with that one. Ha!