The other day I was walking with the three littlest kiddos around the block delivering invitations to Pack Night (wahoo!) and I ran into a friend who was also walking with her son. She saw me with the two baby boys in the stroller, Third Daughter riding her bike, a stack of invitations and asked, "How do you do it? How are you dressed and out the door with a baby?"
This question always makes me chuckle.
How do I do it? Do what? is what I want to ask back.
Because I really don't feel like I'm doing a very good job. I'm just doing it.
Even though I feel like we are slowly (ever so slowly) emerging from our survival mode, things still feel very much out of my control. I don't feel like I quite have a grip on any aspect of my life, but I am learning to accept my best efforts even though that may not equal my best results.
But when my friend asked me this question, "How do you do it?" I responded like I normally do when I receive anything resembling a compliment. I downplayed, dodged, and with an awkward expression and laugh replied, "Oh, I'm not doing it very well. Most days I feel like I'm just barely keeping my head above water. This is hard! Life is crazy!" I think I went on to say how this five kids business feels so much harder than I ever thought (which is true!) and other things that were negative, although I said it with a smile.
She was very sweet and sympathetically asked me, "What can I do for you? How can I help? Can your daughter come play this afternoon?" She was so kind and caring and I was so thankful for the offer that I hesitantly (but gladly) took her up on.
But as I walked home, I had a feeling of regret pitted in my stomach. I felt bad about my response and bad that it had resulted in her feeling obligated to take my child when I was going home where my two baby boys would be sleeping and I would have a quiet house. I didn't deserve that quiet house any more than she did. I was thankful and humbled by her willingness to serve me, but felt kinda bad because I knew I didn't really need what I expressed I needed.
And what I felt the worst about, is that I chose to complain in hopes to be honest and seem human and relatable, and in fear that if I responded otherwise I may come across full-of-myself or self-righteous. That is what I felt the worst about. In a way, even though my response was honest, I feel like I didn't give credit where credit was due. Not to myself, but to my God.
Because the truth is...
I see miracles happen in this house everyday.
More times than I can even count or remember (and it has only been eight weeks!) I have felt completely overwhelmed, like I couldn't breathe, and like I wanted to either scream or run away. These moments come in an instant and don't last very long, but they sure do come and they come at me hard. And, miraculously, I have held it together and we have made it through many of those moments, even when I didn't feel like we would. I pray every day for the strength to do things I'm not able to do. I see that prayer being answered every day.
Countless times a day I find Son standing on a chair, the table, trying to climb a bookshelf or hang from the chandelier (seriously), running toward the street, or doing other things that could seriously harm or injure him. Many times I am nursing the baby when I see this happening and I can't get to him as quickly as I need to. He has fallen many many times. It is a miracle that he hasn't broken a bone or had any major head trauma (yet). I thank Heavenly Father every day that he (and my other children too) is alive and is safe.
Another miracle I see everyday is that Husband and I feel closer than ever. Five kids is super busy and super hard on both parents. It can be tough to even have a moment to breathe and look at each other when we are in the trenches busy with the kiddos. Feelings can easily be hurt, misunderstandings can easily happen, and after using all of our patience and some on our kiddos it can be easy to be short with each other. I truly feel that it is a miracle, and a blessing, that we are able to communicate better than we ever have before - probably because we have to :). We are quicker to forgive each other, serve each other, and look for opportunities (even if they're small) to show love to each other. I love Husband more now than I ever have. He absolutely is my rock and my reason for all that I do. I am beyond grateful for him.
Lastly, one of the most important miracles I have seen lately, is that as wild and crazy and messy and loud things can get around here, there are moments that are so magical and peaceful and so full of love. It is a miracle to me that our efforts to create peace and love in our home actually do happen. There are moments - somewhere between the crazy - when we can feel overwhelming love for each other and love from the Savior. That, to me, is a miracle and I am so thankful for it.
And so thinking back to my quick conversation on the sidewalk with my neighbor and friend, I have decided that what I should have said, and wished I had said, and hope to say in the future is:
"I do it, I'm sure, just like you do it - with a lot of prayer. And I see miracles happen everyday."
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Thanks for stopping by!