Saturday, January 3?
Greetings, fellow humans, from the frozen tundra of cottonfieldland. I am writing these words as I gaze upon icy stalks of naked cotton plants, watching the whimsical dance of snowflakes as they meander toward the ground. What a lovely day to be snuggled in front of a warm fire, reading Tolkien and drinking tea…
That is not what is actually happening. Children do not observe snow days as opportunities to bask in coziness. Snow days are the day they cash in all the energy they have stored since birth. Snow days are the day they discover the most annoying sound they possess in their noise arsenal and perfect it for hours. Snow days are the days they plead to go outside so they can play in the snow. So you spend an hour looking for stuff your kids can wear to keep warm (like boxing gloves because the kid used his real gloves as a “time capsule” buried somewhere in a cotton field), they stand outside long enough to let snot freeze into their cheeks (ten minutes), then come in complaining about the taste of the yellow snow and demanding hot chocolate as you desperately try to remove all their wet clothing on the towel you have laid out.
I finally gave in and let the kiddos watch a movie, while I hide…er…sit in my room and write you these words. I am one snow day away from scratching lines into the walls to show future humans our distress and it’s duration. Speaking of the walls (which are closing in) I discovered yet another foray into booger wall art. I was most impressed by the use of color, awed by the various hues of that boy’s mucous. It was as if his body recognized his artistic need and acquiesced by producing colors outside the normal range. It was moving, really. It moved me to get the vinegar spray bottle and make that kid wash it off while I checked him for a fever. Boogers shouldn’t be purple, right? (P.S. they can be if one first sticks a purple crayon up one’s nose…)
It’s not that I want to squash their creativity. Nay! We gave these children musical instruments for Christmas to see if any of them have a nascent gift. During this week of staying indoors they have proven to have their mother’s prodigious skill of utter tone deafness and lack of rhythm. Oh, and their daddy’s sheer stubbornness to never give up.
Well, the power has begun to flicker, so I must wade through the legos, balloons, blanket forts and puzzles to bring in more firewood and put batteries in flashlights.
P.S. Please send chocolate.
Monday, Jan. 5
In retrospect, perhaps the biggest bit of insanity during those days stuck indoors was they coincided with my recognizing a need to be a more patient and gentle parent. I get so busy housekeeping and STUFF that I lack in the softer side of motherhood. I have been reading through Proverbs lately and felt a real conviction to be more gentle in my instruction and to intentionally and kindly listen with warmth rather than with a look that says, “For the love of mercy, child, you have been telling me this story for 20 minutes and it should have only taken 2 and, oh my lanta, I KNOW, BECAUSE I WAS THERE BECAUSE I AM ALWAYS THERE!!”…or something like that. Before I accepted this challenge, I should have checked the weather to make sure that I would still have the option of smiling sweetly and saying, “Wouldn’t you like to go play outside, darling-loquacious-child-of-mine?”
But I guess if I had checked to see just how difficult it would be, then it would have been a regular old resolution. You know the kind that comes from me. My power and MY ability to control the outcome. This is more than a resolution. This is a surrender. I believe in a higher power, and a higher purpose than me. Me will screw stuff up. Me always does. But He promises to listen to all my cares, and when my heart is pursuing more than MY moment and ME, when it yearns to love deeply and gently even the most undeserving, blessings overflow. Blessings like enjoying the moment rather than rushing to the next. Finally seeing exactly when that child’s dimples appear as he shares his WEIRD sense of humor. Having my eldest pull me aside to share how his feelings were hurt in a situation, when before he would have just held it in and moved on. Snuggling with my snuggle bug. Recognizing and speaking their love languages.
The result of our snow days spent indoors is we now have enough firewood stored all over the inside of our home to build a rather lavish log cabin, and the warmth of our family genuinely enjoying and respecting one another, even when we were stuck with one another 🙂
The verses that really hit me in the feels:
Proverbs 16:21 “The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.”
16:23 “A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.”
16:24 “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”