Friday, August 10, 2018

The Worth of It

How do you do it? 
Anywhere someone discovers we have ten kids, the question comes up.  I understand.  It's unusual. 

My flippant answer is "Some days, I don't." and that can mean house work, reading, exercise or getting a shower.   

I'm fairly certain the "it" they wonder about, is the work. It's true.  There's always more to do, and as far as I know, I've never been finished.    To do "it" would imply it got done.  My understanding of this life is, "it's never done, until we are," and so I'm not done with "it."  I don't spend a lot of time with angst over how to do it.  Angst doesn't help.

Some days I don't exercise. Some days I don't read. Some days I don't write. Some days, I don't get it all done, and some days, that doesn't bother me.  It isn't a celebration of sloth, it's a recognition, this won't all happen, it won't all be perfect, and it won't all get done no matter what I do.  So just do what you can, and tomorrow, do it again. 

 Instead, I spend a lot of time asking, "What's next?' 

Summer today ended without prior notice, as one child has practice every day at seven o'clock in the morning.   I shouldn't have asked.   Still, the how do you do it question isn't an expression of awe, but a question of where do you get the will? Because I get, parenting is an act of the will every day.

Today, in the kitchen, I discovered the remains of someone's cooking project, recycling which needed to be taken out, and that I forgot to start the dishwasher last night.  Upstairs in the hallway, is apparently the nesting grounds for all towels in the household, and a quick survey indicated I needed to bus the rooms for evening drink of water cups. 

The real question, "How do you do it?" was "How do you do it without losing your mind?" 
My joke felt a little sharper to me.  Maybe I wouldn't use that one anymore. 

Which is why the answer remains, some days, I don't because of whatever the what's next turns out to be.  I also spend time in my head telling myself, "Never ask that." 

Yesterday, I'd been at the park with the youngest four, listening to two different women.  Each spoke wistfully about only having two, and feeling trapped by economics, by decisions they'd made earlier, by life itself, into staying stuck with less than their hearts longed for.  They both drifted off from me in the park, but watched the interplay of theirs and my children with hungry eyes.  They each told me, they feared even as they wanted, "Just one more."

Having just met, I couldn't whisper to them, "It's worth it."  even with the towel marshaling grounds and filled trash bags, endless errands and paperwork and dishes though I did say, "You couldn't imagine how much you'd love your first, and then you thought your heart would burst with the second.  That same thing happens with every one of them." to one of the women.  I would have said more, but she ran off with her phone, though she told me, she was going to tell her husband that. 

I wanted explain somehow, that desire to love more, that's God talking to your soul, inviting you into the infinite unknown.  The "It" I don't do, but live with every day, is beyond my capacity to "do," because love is never finished.   It's just my will that doesn't always want to do much beyond bark at those I love, "Clean this mess up!"  Most of learning how to do "it" is learning to say yes when you are asked, to ignore your own desire to say, "No!" or bark.   It is climbing the stairs, fixing the lunch, taking the trip to the park, and making sure the meal has vegetables.   It is tying the shoes and finding matched socks.  It is never done because there's always need, there's always more.   Fortunately, love is infinite, so love also is always a reward if you let yourself surrender.  I also know, it isn't numbers, it's how you love, and one can be an infinite lover with one, like Mary, or a flawed lover of the infinite, like me. 

My twelve year old came into my room.  She asked me yesterday to climb the stairs to look at her room. I'd not found the time.  She came in, "Mom...I'm bored."  I reminded her I'd yet to see her room.  She lit up like a Christmas tree. "Hurry, come see it!" and I told her, she helped me finish this story.   The "it" involves a lot of sacrifice, sometimes just stopping what you want to do and climbing the stairs, but if you surrender, you discover a lot of joy you'd otherwise miss. 

We played a game of Extreme Twister afterwards, with five of my kids.  I won twice before retiring, with both a slight head rush from the blood and bragging rights.  I wanted to whisper to those two women's hearts, "It's worth it." 

1 comment:

Linda said...

If I had met my husband earlier, we would have had more than 4. Family is everything

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