I'm burning a lot of food these days. Burned bacon is especially painful, because it's such a treasure for the boys. And burnt granola is just like burning money, with all those dried cherries and pecan pieces. I burned four packs of hot dogs all at once, on a summer day with so many kids jumping like cannonballs into the pool. Because I dared talk with another mom, turning my back on the barbecue. Then a child yelled, "The hot dogs are on fire!" Turns out none of the children like their dogs "black". So we filled their bellies on empty buns, carrots and watermelon.
Its collateral damage, this burnt food, as I try to master the fine-art of fitting me in again. I've never multitasked well, and everything seems to be another task on top of mothering these little people; talk time with other women, exercise, a trip to the doctor, a stop at the store for a package of strawberries, a walk through the late summer rose garden, and a trip to get my hair cut.
Practicing the fine art of who I am is like practicing scales on the piano. Practicing me. Do-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Ti-Do...
So I'm burning a lot of food these days.
But better a few dogs and a batch of granola, charred, than my soul. Because my soul gets all shriveled up and dead when I forget about her. Like rolls in the oven, forgotten and hard as hockey-pucks. I don't want those words to define my soft heart; "forgotten and hard as a hockey-puck!"
I've tried hard to flourish in this intense season of mothering, by turning to the Lord for His strength. And He's honored my surrendered heart by growing me up as I've persevered.
However, in these last few months I've felt Him whisper new dreams to my heart. Or maybe very old dreams, laid down for a time. Calling me to pick them up again now that the boys are growing tall and strong. That whispering voice sings, and the boundary lines expand just a bit. Like tent walls widening and my lungs expanding and my old dreams all flooding back in and making their home within my heart again.
Here I am, just a few steps past the constant days of mothering young. As my kids grow more independent, I'm experiencing a taste of independence as well. Not entirely, but just enough to start fitting me back in.
Today they're just slivers; silver slivers of stolen time, sequestered, sanctified, and set apart. But one day, a blink or two from now, the boys will be grown and gone, and the time will be all mine again. I'm not wishing for those long days today. They will overtake me before I know it. But I am practicing me, their mother, his wife, in the interim. Because she's valuable and needed.
Though we know it's right and good to lay ourselves fully down, it's ironically our family who needs us ALIVE most of all. Alive and not sacrificed.
And your family needs you too. They need all of you; every fearfully and wonderfully designed part you've laid down, that you might pick up that little swaddled person. But a time is coming, for those of you who struggle to multitask yourself back into life; a time is coming quick upon you like a crashing wave, when your boundary lines will stretch to the east and to the west, widening to the northern territories and those to the southern parts as well. A time is coming.
But until then, it's a dance. So keep on dancing. Dance with your children each day. Dance with your husband each night. Dance with the One who whispers love and returns dreams long laid down. And dance your way into stollen spaces of quiet time to find your pulse again.
Tell me now...
Tell me, how you fit unique and wonderful you into your busy life. How do you fit yourself in amidst the folding, caravanning, teaching, holding, soothing, healing, cooking, cleaning, going, coming home, and tucking them all in with a kiss?
I'm a teachable woman, so share with me now: How and when have you learned to fit mom back in without burning down the kitchen?