"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to let you in."

-- Robert Frost

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I feel complainey and nasty and out of breath and fatigued in this body that still has a long way to go.

That's not a very good opener but it's where I'm at right now.  A long term wracking chest cough that leaves me certain I'll expel a baby at any moment, isn't helping ... though on the bright side, I might be the first ever to come out of pregnancy with abs of steel?

I found myself tonight, sweeping every one's stuff into one giant pile in the center of the room with a warning to retrieve & home it or I'd use my one and only bend-over for the day to bag & chuck it ... at the same time repeating "Rise above yourself" over and over in my mind.  It's become my mantra when I just can't seem to muster another ounce of energy lately.

Back in December, an evening found me and all of the kids over in town, reveling in Ikea's Tuesday "kids eat free regardless of an adult meal" — special.  I couldn't help but feel like I'd won the lottery because in case you haven't noticed ... I've got a lotta kids :) Between mouthfuls of Swedish meatballs, Christian gazed at the overhead fixtures and then declared that I could "totally make one of those".  All the kids chimed in, bless them, and I humbly grinned and silently marveled at their expectations of me.

And spent a lot of time thinking about expectations ever since. (My friends and family will note that no one received a handmade origamied light fixture from me for Christmas ;)

I do seem to hold myself to some level of expectation and when I fail to meet those, I feel insufficient.  Maybe we all do.

A couple of Sundays ago, a friend balanced her way into the meeting herding a reluctant toddler while maneuvering a new born complete with luggage and accessorized by a precautionary oxygen tank.  We chatted briefly and she asked me how in the world she should find balance with two.

I fumbled with no good answer because realistically, two was probably when all my expectations dumped headfirst into the trash. And right now?  As lumbering cumbersome as I feel, I'm afraid my expectations of myself just got swept up into that selfsame pile with all the kids stuff.

But on reflection, what I'd like to tell her is that there really are times where we have to let go of our expectations of ourselves a little and just bathe in the unexpected pleasures of living life.  Her questions were a much needed reminder of that as I've struggle to keep my usual pace whilst inwardly grumping at my super-slow state.  In the not too distant future, I too will easily catch myself feeling guilty that my newborn sits far longer than I'd like in a baby seat while I scramble to put back the pieces of a too long neglected life.  Or, I can shift my focus to dwelling on the fact that I'm doing all I can do and utterly soak in the pleasures of a quiet afternoon, toddler and newborn tucked under each arm, stack of picture books and sleepy path to a rejuvenating nap. 

The same goes for my here and now.

Newel's been traveling lately and that leaves me shuffling with the morning rush. Needing to make every second count in the turn around of leaving my early morning seminary girl at the church and jr. higher's at the middle school, it's a blitz back home to get round 2 out the door to the elementary bus.  Every single morning, Christian meanders the entire distance to the school door and then turns to wave furiously one last time before crossing that threshold to face his day. I can feel the clock ticking and know I might be too late to make the schedule work, but I just can't bring myself to move knowing he needs my reassuring wave.  And I think I've grown to need his every bit as much.

Janie's eyes just light up when I take the time to try a new hair-do on her rather than throwing out my usual, "I want to know you can do this for yourself."  Funny how letting everything take a back burner for just a sec, can feed her whole day and bring her home still chattering of the exciting newness of a simple braid.

I'm certain Grant's second and third hugs hold up Mr. Mike the Bus Driver longer than he cares to wait.  Sorry, Mike, sometimes buses have to wait, too.

Just like a mom soaking away the day's tiredness in a warm bath, can feel a small inevitable rise in irritation as the voices of children long since sent to bed, seep through the vents interrupting her peace.  Yet, when I actually listen to the words of their conversation ... Annie's inquisitive request of what moving into the young women's group at church will be like in the next months, or girls camp, or high school ... followed by Celia's response of fond memories and exciting experiences .... the tiredness of the day magically melts away even more and irritation can no longer exist.

Maybe I'm not all that I expect myself to be right now, but as long as the light in these people's eyes tell me that they at least think I can origami my way through it all ... well perhaps I'll I need do is enjoy the unexpectedness of life.  The neatness of a home can't compare to the neatness of the moments and balance is in the shift as I try to rise above me while I focus on them.

Even when I feel complainey and nasty and out of breath and fatigued.


  1. you are a really great mom marlowe...how lucky this new baby will be!! hope you're able to get some rest :)

  2. Oh, what a beautiful post! Just to make you feel a little better....every time I sweep my floor, I sweep it into a big pile in the middle and yell for them to come and save their "treasures"....I sometimes even have a countdown to destruction! I love that you don't speed your way through the waves, the hugs, the hair-do moments. You should also feel good that your kids think you can make such special things. Mine complain that I am the one that is always proclaiming....we don't have to spend good, hard earned money on that.....I can make that! They hate it!

    Can't wait to see your abs of steel and please don't expel that baby too early! :)

  3. Sometimes your posts leave me with a lump in my throat, because it's so easy for me to get caught up in keeping the house clean, and getting the kids to school on time, and I wonder if I'm taking the extra time to squeeze my kids enough.
    Beautiful post :)

  4. Oh Marlowe, I hope you can re-energize this weekend! You are such a loving momma and your kids really love you! I bet hubby will give you a well deserved break soon! big hugs, cathy