It was at 1:30 on a Tuesday when I was done.
I mean, grab your lovey, get in the bed, snap your lids shut, take a 6 hour nap, done.
After 6 hours of non-stop tattling and arguing and crying and screaming and knocking one another down and stealing sippy cups and little boys’ crazy antics to turn the crying into laughing, and lunch thrown on the floor, and hair pulling, and did I mention tattling?, I sunk down onto the sofa in the playroom and nearly cried.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I blinked them back because nobody has time to cry with a house full of children and my baby, the one with the chipped front tooth and dreamy blue eyes, chose to stare at me and suck her finger instead of sleeping.
But I would have cried if she had closed her eyes for just 15 minutes.
After nap time, the house was buzzing again and I served snack to 9 children and cleaned up the crumbs of 37. I don’t know how they squeezed that many crumbs out of grapes and cheese sticks and 1 cookie each, but they did. Maybe they didn’t really eat the cookies. Maybe they just crumbled them when I wasn’t looking.
The pair of girls who don’t belong to me were gathered by their own weary mother at 4:15. I changed the diaper of my last baby and packed her bag and she and I picked up the last few toys before her mom arrived at 5:22.
My oldest boy dressed himself for baseball and then wore his cleats all the way through the house, leaving cakes of mud with every step.
I prayed for thunder and lightning and a mini hailstorm with each clump of mud that I swept up. I even prayed for a small tornado to sweep across the Rocky Mount Sports Complex. I prayed for it to arrive at 6:15.
The man came home for a throw together dinner of leftovers and we inhaled chips and chili and sometime before we were finished, I yelled out, I am so MAD.
Like really loud.
Almost like a growl.
The man leaned back into his chair and I leaned into the table, resting my head on my arms, and with my eyes closed I knew he was slipping into pastor mode.
I didn’t want a pastor. So I told him not to be one for the rest of the day.
I also told him to cancel our dinner/baptism chat for the next night.
The older girls began to snicker to themselves and then the babies began to roar at the table and the youngest boy just smiled big and wide.
I couldn’t help myself, so I laughed too and I growled one more time to keep the laughter going and we all laughed until I thought we were going to wet our pants.
I cleared the table and the kids loaded themselves into the car and at 5:59 I knew that God was not going to give me a yes to my prayer for thunder and lightning.
I grabbed the Tupperware container full of peanuts in the shell and dragged my hiney to the car.
And for the next hour, we cheered the boy on as he struck out twice and as he stood in right field and as he sat in the dugout. He was smiling and so we smiled with him.
We shelled peanuts and the babies licked the shells for salt and we were rowdy rednecks in the stands.
I watched the field while the kids ate peanuts and I tried to imagine a different life for us.
A different story.
One with boundaries and free time and evenings with nothing at all to do or say…or even be.
My eyes wandered over the other people in the bleachers and I imagined their stories. In my mind all of their stories took place on fishing boats or on the beach or in a tree stand or on a 4-wheeler.
And all of a sudden I wanted to ride a 4-wheeler.
In the mud.
This blurry hurry life of mine no longer feels like living.
It feels more like a blurry hurried death.
My burst of anger at the dinner table was an overflow of the over-planned life I live and even though I have been making strides at marking good things off of my calendar, I have not scribbled in free time.
I’ve not planned to have unplanned time.
And I have to.
I have to get this part of our story right.
I have to write in NOTHING on my calendar and treat that time as sacred.
Because it is sacred.
It gives God space to speak and it gives me space to listen…
So that my overflow around my family’s dinner table is less like anger and more like loving kindness.
*And on a side note, each time I go to the ball field, I have this overwhelming urge to get my tan on, to get my hair and nails done, and to monogram something.
Like my stadium chair. Or tervis tumbler. Or my ankle.
Happy Wednesday ya’ll!