I stay up way too late for a lady who has three kids.
And it’s not even necessarily because I’m a night owl.
It’s just that the nighttime affords me a quiet and a stillness that is unreachable and unfathomable during the day.
It’s summer and I awake to a four year old jumping on my bed.
But if it were during the school year, I’d wake to an alarm that goes off far too soon with far too little sleep and the day begins with a flurry of activity.
I think “flurry” is a ridiculous term. More like… “monsoon-y blizzardish hurricane…”
But at night, no one is asking for a snack. And no one wants a story and no one wants to know how to find that show they like on Netflix. And no one is yelling, “Mom! Mama! Mommy!”
And it’s not that I don’t like being called mommy. It is my joy.
But it is not always my joy.
And sometimes, I’m all, “Seriously?! I cannot hear “mommy!” one more time or have one more person try to jump on my back or hug my leg or pull my shirt so that I’m showing the world either my bra or my muffin top.
And then I feel bad.
What about all those ladies that just WISH that they could hear mommy…just once? Or…even worse..just once more.
But then, even with that bearing on my conscience, I still find my breaking point. And I still turn from being the mom who takes her kids to the pool and for ice cream and gives hugs and wipes tears and passes out band-aids like a Southern Baptist passes out Bible tracts at the fair, and I become that lady who’s sweating in the library, grabbing her kid by the elbow and hissing in their face, “If you don’t STOP. IT. RIGHT. THIS. INSTANT….IT’S GOING TO GET REALLY UGLY FOR YOU…”
And they know I’m bluffing.
They know it when the steam comes pouring out of my ears.
Because really, am I gonna go all Mommy Dearest on them in the library?
And the truth is, we’ll get home and I’ll be so exhausted from the whole debacle that I’ll throw popsicles at them and tell them to go play outside while I collapse on the couch instead of doing the dishes.
And it never fails that the breaking point, the tipping of the mommy-endurance scale, comes after I’ve had several successful Mommy Days.
It comes right after the days that I fall in bed, no less exhausted than any other day, but feeling like I kicked some serious tail in the mommy department. I didn’t lose my cool, even when they splashed water all over the bathroom. And we went to the pool or the park and I made them wear sunscreen and no one got burned. And I read stories and snuggled and watched movies that I want to sleep during and I feed them a (mostly) nutritious meal.
Then comes…the fall-out.
And I stay awake far too long, with books stacked on the nightstand and a mind too full and a heart too heavy to pick one up and bury myself in someone else’s story.
Because my story is too loud. And my story begs to be rewritten because I screwed it up today.
So I dump my mangled mess at the foot of the cross. Because I have no other way. I have no other hope than to let go of the control that I try to wield over my life and my own messed-up way of muddling through.
And I let my kids go.
I let them go and give God control.
And that’s hard. Because, what if, by relinquishing control…. what. if?
But that’s where I have to rest. I have to find the beautiful mystery in knowing that by letting His love and grace guide me and by giving Him back the children that He gave me, that is the ONLY WAY that either of us, the kids or myself, will truly live.