Thursday, May 29, 2014

We Will Call It Good

I've been waking early the past few weeks. Each morning I have a fleeting thought that perhaps I can use this time to write, but I am usually far too groggy for that. More often than not, a little curly haired girl finds her way to where I am camped out and curls up, head on shoulder, for another hour of cozy sleep. Today has been no exception.

Each winter I look forward to May…..there is something about this month that fills me with such hope. But then May arrives and I remember how hectic it tends to become. Preschool wraps up and the end of school year picnics, recitals, concerts, and shows begin. And now that my big girl is entering public school next year, we add to it the mad dash of doctor, dentist, and eye appointments so all her paperwork is turned in on time.

My list today is a mile long. I have nine hours of babysitter time (a complete luxury I readily admit) and indecision grips me – use the time to clean the house and organize or write? The reality that I will be interrupted every 30 minutes even with the help is not lost on me, and as I stand in the dining room, coffee cup cradled in my hands as a cool breeze blows through my house, all I really want to do is sit on the couch with them all day long. I want a good day.


They tell those of us with little kids that it passes quickly and we will miss it. And while we acknowledge the truth, we roll our eyes because when you are severely sleep deprived and spend your entire day changing diapers and everything is so hard because you have three under three, it doesn’t matter. But here I stand with a six (and ¾), five, and three year old alongside me and I want this summer to freeze in time.



I want lazy days where they all crawl in bed with me as they watch PBS kids while I read. I want mornings of pancake breakfasts and pajamas. I want afternoons filled with sprinklers and sidewalk chalk and riding bikes through the park. I want cuddles on the couch as we read each and every book in this house. I want adventures in the city, days at the beach, and time at the pool. I want them to look back and remember each and every day was good.

I also want my house to be magically clean each day. I want the groceries to just appear in my refrigerator. I want to suddenly not care that the floor is sticky and that if it stays sticky one moment longer we will have an ant infestation. I want to not feel rushed to get everything done. I want to have hours to write each day without it taking away time from anyone.

I don’t want my arms to be so sore from constantly juggling my responsibilities.

But.

I know that’s not what my summer is going to look like.

It will have bits and pieces of that, yes. It will also have time spent cleaning rooms, putting away laundry, and unloading the dishwasher. It will have spelling pages and math worksheets. There will be hours spent in the van as we drop off and pick up from summer activities. And when the weather gets so hot that we forget how cold we were this summer, there will be afternoons camped out near a window air conditioner watching Frozen for the two-hundredth and thirty-seventh time.


So today I’ll try to write, but I’ll also do some laundry, clean up some rooms, and wash the dishes. I’ll let them sit next to me for a bit, passing over crayons and asking them to do the illustrations. Then I’ll shut the door and take all that love for them, and all my hopes and dreams that I carry for them, and put them on paper. I’ll write words about how my girls are whole. How they can do and be whatever they want. How the voice that God gave them is good and they are worthy of using it.


After dinner we will sit on the couch together, we will tell each other about our day, and call it good.


******

What does a good day look like for you?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

When Waiting Is Hard

The sun comes up each morning and sets each evening. I lose track of the days’ details, focused on the waiting, straining to see what is ahead.


Almost two years ago I wrote my first blog post on a stifling July morning, the weight of our circumstances pressing down hard on me, leaving me gasping for breath.

Six months later I wrote about how hard it was to live inthis city we desperately loved.

One year ago I said we were stuck in the middle. We almost moved to the suburbs.
Almost.

Nine months ago we moved out of the condo into a house in our neighborhood. We exhaled.
And then we homeschooled because the local school just felt too big.

Two weeks ago I guest posted for Zach Hoag about how conflicted we were about homeschooling and how we wanted to be part of our neighborhood school.

One week ago I received a phone call from a school. A neighborhood school. A smaller school. There was room for her. We took our baby up the cement steps and held our breath. She fell in love. We registered her for first grade.

She’s going to public school.

******

There was a book I remember my second grade teacher reading to us during story time, All Things - Even Frisky. I don’t remember much of it outside of a rambunctious puppy and a basketball net, but I remember the crux of it was that all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. And the angsty eight year old that I was wondered *when* all this working together would actually happen.

I find myself still wondering.

Photo Courtesy of Austin Upton


I so easily fall into the trap of not seeing how things are woven and redeemed. How the fractured and shattered are turning into this amazing mosaic.

Then there’s time. The whole kronos versus kairos thing we have going on while caught between the now and the not yet.

The waiting is so very hard for me.

I want to be able to model something different for my girls. I want to show them they can move in the direction of their dreams and not worry, not wait, not wonder what will happen. I want them to have the confidence to chase those dreams.

I’ve spent far too much of my time wishing things were different and wondering when the breakthrough would come. So much waiting.


There are some things I’m still waiting for, hoping for. But I don’t want to wait the way I have been. I want to find a new way.


So let’s notice the way the sun rises each morning and sets each evening. And in the in-between let’s listen to the birds sing and feel the grass brush up on our ankles. Let’s look for animals and castles in the clouds and play I Spy just one. more. time. We’ll sing a little bit more, a little louder. There will be time for one more painting, one more drawing. We will laugh at our mistakes and pull ourselves back up.


And I’ll keep writing. And one day, I’ll be done waiting.


******

Are you waiting for something? How do you handle the waiting time?

Friday, May 9, 2014

When I Don't Know What to Do About Schools

Hey! Today I am super excited to be sharing some thoughts over at Zach Hoag's place. If you don't follow Zach - wait, I'm sure you do - be sure to check it out.

It is spring time in the city, and Chicago is coming back to life. Walking through my neighborhood you’ll see folks selling cotton candy and coconut water. Our park will be full of a beautiful mix of Muslim, Christian, and Orthodox Jewish children playing alongside each other. The basketball courts will be covered with teens and you can find pickup trucks parked on the side of the road selling strawberries and watermelon. Windows are thrown open and the streets will smell of spice.
But as all city parent know, it is also the beginning of the mad scramble for school spots. Ours is a complicated system full of lotteries, testing, tiers, and luck. Right now we wait for phone calls from schools that are not our normal neighborhood school, hoping to secure a spot in a school with a better faculty to student ratio, test scores, smaller enrollment, or better programs. We keep track of all the statistics and hope we receive letters offering us spots. Sometimes you get one, sometimes you are wait listed. Here’s where the fun begins.

Head over HERE to read the rest!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Daily Bread

“The days are long but the years are short” is humming in my mind. It’s a warm afternoon after a long season of cold, and I’m watching my girls play in the soft green grass as they pick dandelions to make into bracelets and crowns. They twirl and laugh and suddenly I’m seeing them do the same, a year ago.

I lose my breath each May. It’s a busy time of year with endings and beginnings and weren’t we just doing this, and somehow they are all magically one year older. I’m one year older.


Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Upton http://http://asharedlens.smugmug.com/


Here I sit at my desk. Again. I pound out words on a screen, some of which are shared while others are stored up.  Some come easy and others are hard fought. We keep doing this, don’t we? Create. Create. Create. The world swirls by us as we do the things we were made to do.

The daily rhythms of the essentials is hypnotic, and I lose all sense of time.


The days are long but the years are short.




Today I share my weekly reflection at The Story Sessions site, where brave, creative women gather. Care to join us and read the rest? We'd love to pray with you and encourage you.