This is sort of an opposite post today. I've been dreading the theme for today because honestly, I feel sort of -- stupid, for lack of a better word -- lately. I don't mean that in a self-pitying, self-loathing kind of way. I just feel like I am in a bit of a rut for confidence in my role during this season of life.
Overall, I think school is going particularly well this year. I'm more organized than usual and we're a couple months into the school year (usually by now, I've already lost steam -- but I'm feeling positive energy in the area of educating our kids).
But while I've focused so much time and energy into school, a lot of other things seem to be sliding behind more than they usually do. I'm always behind on laundry and dishes (I mean, let's face it, does anyone outside of the nudist colonies ever really catch up on laundry?), but lately, I feel buried under the weight of them. It's just about the same as far as staying on top of the kids and their chores. It's just ... so ... much.
I figure it's good if I'm at least doing one thing well that I feel confident about. But then the guilt weighs me down because I figure I'm the only one who really notices the benefits of school going well. The kids don't care as much as we, the parents, do and C only knows it's going well because I tell him so. And I'm a biased source.
It's difficult for me to take the criticism of other things falling apart in the house because I feel like then the one thing I'm doing well at doesn't matter as much to others. Sadly, most of the criticism is my own. Or little things said in passing that I blow up into something much bigger and much more guilt-producing than necessary.
So I don't know.
And the boys lately seem to require too many of the same type of correction. I find myself repeating over and over the same behavior lessons. I am starting to feel like it's pointless for me to talk at all.
But then I try to keep in perspective how many lessons I've had to repeat dozens of times (or more) before I really let it sink in and change me from the inside out. They're no different. They're children and they only hear a bit at a time. Over the years, they'll eventually start to put the bits together and see the big picture and what I've been saying over and over. Then we'll get the big, "Ohhhhh!" when they finally get it.
In the meantime, I don't recognize a lot of "ohh" moments in the kids -- boys, especially -- and so it leaves me feeling a little battered from constant repetition and never heeded advice.
I don't feel I've mastered anything really this week, if it's not for mastering this feeling of helplessness that I have.
But alas, that, too, has not been mastered. Just when I feel completely spent and beyond hope, the Lord lifts me up and blesses me.
Blessings of Joy I've experienced this past week (in no particular order):
1. Seeing J's dirty little bare feet poking out from her blanket as she slept in the early morning light. Yes, she needed a bath, but something about the dirt just made me think deeply about how much fun she must have had playing the day before. It makes me happy to know that our children are happy and playful.
2. S actually expressing an interest in spending time with me and feeling ignored when my sister was over for a visit. For years she could have cared less. Now she wants my attention and time. And when I apologized for "ignoring" her, she forgave me and smiled. Later that day, we watched a movie together.
3. Already blogged about it, but H and Z working together on Saturday morning to hand out flyers for our church. I loved the opportunity to praise them for all the positives. I loved seeing them blush with pride when I cheered them on.
4. My husband jumping into action to help me plan a church event that was handed to me at the last moment. I could not ask for a better partner in life or in event planning. Also, I love planning and organizing, so to be asked to handle this event is a joy in itself.
5. Both of my sisters' willingness to help me out with different elements of the event! Also, the hearts of those other friends offering to help and come together on short notice to make it a success.
6. A couple good hugs and a smile from a dear friend whom I've been unable to keep up with for a few weeks. It was so nice to see her and know that she missed me, too.
7. My mom's constant encouragement at just the right moments and days. She always knows just what to say to lift me up. She definitely has the gifts of encouragement and helps.
8. Finding out that S has some things in common with me that she'll actually admit to. She's a starter like I am. She doodles to focus her attention on listening like I do. She cares deeply about pleasing others (I didn't say they were all great things to have in common!). There are probably more things like her dad than there are like me ... but that's okay. I like him, too.
9. Our fun day walking in the Bosque. Just autumn weather and scenery in general. What's not to love?
10. O's reduction in screaming and whining. Or maybe I've had more patience. I have been able to help him laugh at himself more easily in helping him deal with difficult situations. Humor instead of constant correction. Besides, I love his toothless grin.
Bonus joy moment: Sunday before church, C woke me by kissing my ankle (which was poking out of the blankets like Jesse's were the day before). I don't know that he's ever done that, but it was the gentlest way to wake up and I remember asking him, "Did you just kiss my ankle?" He said he did and then he headed out the door and downstairs. No explanation or reason ... I think he just likes me. :)
Extra bonus joy, just in case my uncle's reading (no, but really, this did bring me joy so I'd be remiss not to mention it): A couple of emails from Uncle R with pictures of my cousins attached. I grew up with this uncle who is only 8 years older than me -- he was more like a big brother than an uncle. So I'm always thrilled when he takes time from his busy schedule to check in with me -- by reading my blog or by dropping me an email. Love you, R!