Monday, December 19, 2011

all is calm, all is bright

Christmas is near. We are taking several weeks off from homeschooling to prepare for the season and to simply relax and interject many more creative, leisurely moments into our day.

Today was our first would-be school day turned holiday.

After breakfast, chores and of course, a load of laundry, we headed out for a morning of errands. After making an exchange at our local hobby shop, getting my eyeglasses repaired and visiting the craft store for pretty paper, holiday stickers, craft sticks and a dozen bars of Ghiradelli chocolate, we returned home eager and ready to get working on our projects.

Bliss was felt today as we welcomed the ability to keep our books on the shelf and get straight to work with our hearts and hands!

At the end of the afternoon we had split-wood swords with wool strip handles, a dozen holiday bookmarks and a very large rectangle of peppermint bark to show for.

Our rewards were tangible, edible, recreational and useful.

While Luca napped and the other children set off to play with their new creations I had the luxurious opportunity to sit down to collect my thoughts after lunch. The ability to simply be and regroup in silence was a holiday in and of itself to me.

Just sitting down to do one mundane thing at a time today made me feel so balanced and accomplished. The much-needed phone call to our sanitation department to request that the leaf bags be picked up, a check sent out as a contribution to the swim coach's gift and an online purchase of some of my very favorite woolens to give as a gift to my boys- these were all that was required to feel useful, competent and in control.

I could feel myself teetering on the edge of competence and pride as I sat back and admired my accomplishments- simple, cut and dry, externally focused and uber satisfying.

Motherhood and homemaking isn't always like this. Most of the time the tasks that are asked of us are the polar opposite of external and simple. We simply cannot right-click on the needs of our children and home and expect them to be neatly packed up and shipped out.

There is no real beginnings and ends. There are many needs that never get that 'check' at the end of the day. It often feels like we are not accomplishing much of anything because the nature of our work is fluid, continuous and constant- a journey and not a series of scheduled stops.

At times I feel like the nature of my work is unfair and that I am unfit to fulfill my duties.I foolishly believe that it is a reality to be swooping from one task to the next, from one child to the next with a sense of easiness and the ability to let every challenge in life simply roll off my back.

There is guilt at times, sometimes defeat and more often than not a questioning of if I am doing enough.

And even in this season of Advent when spiritually all is calm and bright there is an underlying tone of vigilance and fullness of life (not 'busyness'!) for mothers that make is difficult to remain calm and to be that bright light in our homes.

I often make the mistake of believing that I must throw off that shawl of work, toil and responsibility in my life that I so eagerly and humbly accepted over a decade ago- if even for a moment- in order to become 'calm and bright'. But I now know that the reality is that our Father is calling me to cover myself fully under the warmth of this layer of life and embrace all the aspects of this life in order to fulfill my calling. And in this striving and embracing a true peace and light can then shine through me in order to bring a sense of calm and bright to my children, my home and my family.

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