It's quarter until nine and Becks is saying "All done" and then immediately covers her face with milk-sticky hands and I have to play the "I-need-to-wipe-Becks-up-but-don't-know-where-she-is" game. I move over to the sink to make my coffee when Blythe peeks her head around the corner and says, "Mom, you have to come to the place to pretend to buy some ice cream." And I'm thinking, "Can we pretend that Mommy gets dressed? And has her cup of coffee?" But before I get that out of my mouth [or buy my pretend ice cream] screams have broken out over who gets the harmonica.
I manage to make coffee and "buy" it at the store, but only after Blythe is screaming because "Becks wants my cash register but I WANT it, and I CAN'T share because I NEED it but Becks wants to take my cash register..." tears. fits.
I buy my coffee and some ornaments from our tree and promptly remember the load of wash I started yesterday that is still sitting in the washing machine. So I throw in some of those scent booster things and run a rinse cycle. When I close the door to the laundry room I notice the pencil scribbles on the door--- one of three doors that was marked by artistic Becks--- and make a mental note to come back to it.
I then happen to glance under the kitchen table and Lord have mercy on my soul for how disgusting I let that get. There are two spoons tossed haphazardly and an undisclosed amount of cereal and two peaches cemented to the floor. I ask the girls, "Do you want to play Cinderella and scrub the floor?!" Because they are three and one and this works for now, my floor gets flooded but also cleaned as I follow them around with a huge towel.
This also means by quarter after ten the girls I had somehow managed to get dressed are now naked again because their clothes are sopping wet.
Some days are easier to embrace than others. Some days I can step on another cheerio and mash it into my living room carpet and continue in my game of hide and seek. But most days I struggle with embracing the chaos and the mess. If I just didn't have to keep the house clean, I could really enjoy this time with the girls. If I just didn't have to think about what to make for supper, I could go for a walk right now. If they could just stop needing me every blessed second and I could drink my coffee in five minutes of silence, then I could face this day.
The truth is, even if I had a cup of coffee that was still hot when I finished it, and even if I could get ready all at one time without needing to stop for twenty different little things, and even if my house was clean and I perfectly focused on the girls, I couldn't face the day. I couldn't face a single day without Jesus. His kind of love embraces the imperfect, the distracted, the flawed. His kind of love looks past the mess. His kind of love allows me to be okay with the crazy role I'm in right now.
It is exhausting work. Physically. Emotionally. The whole gamut. Sometimes I just want to have an adult conversation instead of pretending to be a turkey.
And then this afternoon when I felt like everything had been spent, and Blythe wasn't even being naughty but I was out of patience, I thought about the Chris Tomlin song, "Good Good Father". In it he sings You're a good, good father-- it's who You are.... And I am loved by You-- it's who I am. It's such a simple truth but everything hinges on that. He is good. And I am loved.
And so, even after a morning of scribbled on doors and wet floors and exhaustion, I sat down with Blythe on her bed and I looked into her big brown eyes and I said: Blythe, did you know I really like you? And a smile spread across her face. I like how you have such a big imagination and can pretend all sorts of things. I like how you love your sister and include her when you're playing. I like how you are kind to other people. And I like how you can make me laugh because you're so silly. She was beaming. And then she gave me an example of one time she was kind to someone, and then she made a silly face to make me laugh.
And I didn't say those things to her so she would like me and forget about all the rotten ways my heart had spewed that day; I said those things because I have a good, good Father who loves me despite it all. I said those things to her because that good, good Father calls out good things in me that I sometimes can't see for myself. And I said those things because I want her to know that love of the good, good Father, even when my lack of love may get in the way.