As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Kids: Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them

The timing of these throwback posts never ceases to amaze me.  As I recount the story of a particularly frazzled evening with my kids many years ago, I am just returning from a six-day vacation alone with my husband, our first ever.  We returned home grateful for the time away, for the gift of our children, and the family and friends who lift us up and give us the opportunity to get away knowing our children are in good hands. Someday I'll write a beautiful post along those lines but until then, here's the other side that is so often the reality, and equally beautiful.

Kids - Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them
First published May 5, 2008

This weekend was a really tough one for me. Most of the time I love being a mother, but this weekend the challenges of my vocation got the best of me, and I have to say that I did not handle it in the best way (anyone who saw me run away from my family during mass yesterday knows that!) 

The kids were very "exhuberant" (thanks for the good word Lita!) at mass yesterday, and that topped off a day that had gone very different from what I had intended. We went in town early to have a family day before mass, but the weather made it difficult to do anything so we ended up being cooped up in the van all day, which was fine for us, but not so much for our kids. I had been asked to help out with LifeTeen last night, and I was so excited because I rarely get asked to do things like that. But when we were at supper, I spilled strained peaches (baby food) all over myself when I opened them to feed the baby. My shirt and pants were totally messed up, and the mall was closed so I couldn't buy a new one in time for mass. I had to ditch my cardigan and wear my coat all through mass, because the cami I had on under it was too inappropriate to be worn by itself. Then during mass, the baby spit up more peaches on my cream-colored coat, and I looked at Jeff and laughed to keep myself from crying! When I came back from cleaning up, still smelling of strained peaches, my two older kids (and particularly my oldest) pushed every single one of my buttons to the point that I thought I was litterally going to crack (hence my retreating to the back of the church with the baby for part of the mass). I didn't even want to go to the LifeNight anymore, because I had been asked to give a monologue of the Passion from Mary's perspective, and was feeling like the last person on earth who should be reading Mary's words. To say that I handled everything that was going on less than gracefully would be an understatement - the stress of a long hard day was consuming me. But Jeff felt that we should still go, and we did. And let me say that it was soooooo good for me! Not only to fulfill a commitment, but also to have a break from the kids, and feeling like I have a bit more to offer the world than just raising my children (which, on this particular night, I was doing a pretty shotty job of!)

I woke up this morning feeling really sorry for myself. I had slept through the time I normally try to get up for a prayer time, not because I was tired, but just because I was lazy. But when I was finished feeding the baby, the other kids were still sleeping, so I did my prayer time then. Joseph got up shortly after I started, but was very well-behaved for me, which was such a blessing! It helped for me to write down everything I was feeling, and it helped even more that the child who had caused me such struggling the night before was lifting me up so much today. I put so much pressure on myself to be a good steward of my vocation so that others who see me will want to become wives and mothers, and I felt guilty that yesterday I did not do that (but hey, maybe I encouraged people to consider religious life!) But I know that it can't always be perfect, and that in a family, the ones who drive you crazy are the ones who will bring you to redemption also. When I loose it, it's not my kids, but a result of my own weakness. In the end, I don't know what I would do without them, because when I feel like I'm in the pits of despair, they're the ones who lift me up. Praise God that I made it through, and please give me the strength to laugh at my misfortunes, to be calm in the midst of the storm, and to be a reflection of you to my children.

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