Life is busy. Feeling like I might drown in the piles that grew around me, (both metaphorical and physical) I decided to stop worrying about tomorrow, and only deal with the issues of the present day. I am not superwoman and cannot do it all, but for today, I will try.
I have since discovered that one day at a time is mostly good advice. However, I think it is meant to pertain more to worrying than it is to planning. There’s no point in worrying about tomorrow, but it is probably wise to plan for it.
Saturday morning dawned with me feeling the weight of expectations. A birthday party, a sledding party, and a repair appointment for the van all loomed. To top it off, in a bout of optimism, I had planned breakfast with a friend. As Rob and I mapped out the logistics of the day, it was quickly apparent that my time would have to wait as other things were crossed off the list.
We settled on a strategy of divide and conquer. I would take the birthday party, he would take the sledding party and the van. We would consolidate into one vehicle for the party pick-ups.
To be honest, I was relived he would be the face of the family at the sledding party. It was a family we did not know, and I had inadvertently created some confusion by RSVPing the wrong child to the party. For some reason, while viewing the online invitation I assumed it was for Max (I have no idea why), and signed his name, saying he would love to attend. I then proceeded to spend the week with Max using this party as the fulcrum on which balanced threats and bribes for behaviour. (Ok, maybe not the best parenting strategy . . . )
The day before the party as we were sitting together and eating, I noticed there was tension between my middle boys. As I worked to sort out their issues, I discovered Koby was upset he hadn’t been invited to his friend’s party and that Max had been invited instead. I quickly saw that I had mixed up the invitation. The party was for Koby not Max. Imagine Max’s disappointment having looked forward to the party all week. (Imagine my disappointment knowing I had a bribe/threat I could have used with Koby all week and didn’t!)
With all that behind us, I felt like we hadn’t made the best first impression on this family and was glad Rob would be the one to face them.
In the confusion that reigns during those last minutes of rushing around before we leave the house, we discovered there was no sled to bring to the bring-your-own-sled party. Apparently our foam sleds had been left in the reach of a sweet but easily bored family pet, and had been reduced to the size of confetti.
Undaunted, Rob announced he would just pick up a sled when he got the present. (When you live one day at a time, you don’t worry about picking up gifts the day or so before an event.)
This was a great solution, but knowing if Rob was on gift duty the presentation could be lacking, I shoved a gift bag and tissue paper at him instructing him to make sure to put the gift inside and fluff the paper around it nicely. This family may already be a little suspicious of us trying to foist an uninvited child on their party, and I thought an attractive present might go a little ways in repairing our first impression.
Watching Rob and Koby jump into the van, it suddenly occurred to me that the invitation had specifically mentioned that the children should bring their helmets to wear for sledding.
I flagged Rob down to explain the helmet situation. Feeling frustration build, he began to grumble about the state of our world. Was I sure a helmet was required for this rather tame sledding expedition? Were kids these days so coddled that they could not play outside without protective equipment? What was to become of this cushioned generation?
Running short on time myself, I quickly assured him that all the children would be wearing helmets. We lived in a different time and this was a different generation. Things had changed since we were young and this was the new normal.
We went our separate ways, Rob with a helmeted Koby in tow.
A couple of hours later Rob and I met up and with some time to spare, felt a Tim Horton’s run was in order. As we nursed our French Vanilla’s I asked how his part of the day had gone.
Rob gives me the look. It’s a look he reserves for me only. He usually accompanies it with a shake of his head and a grin. More often than not, it means I’ve done something unconventional.
Not sure I really want to know, I ask what the look means this time.
By the time he is done telling the story of his morning, there are tears of laughter pouring down my cheeks, and I’m pretty sure we have not improved upon any first impressions with this family.
While Koby had quickly settled on a gift, they had been unable to find any sleds and were forced to settle on a lame $4 crazy carpet. Koby was understandably worried the other kids would have way cooler sleds and might tease him for his. Rob assured him that while the other sleds may look cooler, none would be as fast as his. This impressed Koby and alleviated his concerns.
As they neared the party location, Rob asked Koby to put his gift in the gift bag and try to make it look nice. It is then they discovered that in the last-minute search for a helmet the gift bag was left in the garage. Addressing the problem as only a man can, Rob stopped at the nearest 7-11 and picked up a pile of bags. He then proceeded to cocoon the gift in layers of plastic emblazoned with the 7-11 logo.
Yet, it was upon arriving at the hill, Rob’s worst fears were realized. Koby jumped out of the van wearing his helmet; discount crazy carpet under one arm, 7-11 gift bag under the other. He happily passed the gift off to his friend’s mother and ran to join the other kids on the hill. As Rob made his way over to introduce himself, he saw that not one other child was wearing a helmet. Just our precious angel, looking extra special.
Sheepishly he introduces himself and tries to explain the gift. Not wanting to linger overly long, he makes a quick getaway.
I laugh uncontrollably as I picture our son, the only one in a helmet, bouncing down the hill on his cheap crazy carpet. Rob interrupts my glee by dryly reminding me that I’m the one who has to go into the house to pick him up. Point well made.
With not a stitch of pride left, I ring the doorbell and enter the house to pick Koby up. The front step is littered with the latest and greatest in sleds, and one crazy carpet. The mother comes to the door, and when I introduce myself, she quickly invites me in to wait as the kids wrap things up. I attempt to explain the RSVP mix up as she stares at me in fascination. “How many kids do you have?” she asks in awe.
Only four, I explain, but I live life one day at a time, and when there are six people in a household things can get complicated really quickly. She nods in understanding, making some comment about how interesting it must be to have a large family.
As we drive home I ask Koby about the party, trying to ascertain how his self-esteem had fared through the event. He happily informs me that he didn’t even notice he was the only one in a helmet. In his opinion, the only hiccup was when his gift was almost forgotten as they were transferred from the car to the house. Apparently it did not stand out among the other fancy gift bags, but he had been quick to point out that the 7-11 bag was his gift.
By now you may be thinking I sound like a bit of a case as a mother. As a woman. As a person. To be honest, I sort of am. And I’m mostly ok with that.
You see, if this life was all I had, if this was my only hope, I’d have reason to be depressed. But nestled safely in Christ I am free to pursue life with passion rather than perfection. Because the truth is:
I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
If I woke up early every day, organized, prepared, and on task, I still wouldn’t be good enough.
In Christ I can rest. Not the lazy rest of mediocrity. But the confident rest of the redeemed.
In my chaos, Jesus is my peace.
In my mess, He sets me apart and calls Holy.
And because I will need a lot of it, He is bringing even more Grace with Him when He comes. (1 Peter 1:13)