Some days in the life of a family are just hard. It may not be a major catastrophe or difficult illness in the family, but rather just all of those little things that overwhelm and wear you out. Those days may leave you with little patience and perhaps the tendency to overreact or lash out in harsh words.
This evening in our house has been one of those hard moment days. Plans weren’t solidified, but we’re all feeling nothing is going right. I was out of town for several days. Sarah was at a friend’s, Jacob was given the opportunity to stay on his own. His chores were undone, causing me frustration. Even though I’ve been on a retreat I see the 108 page application I need to start on. Grandma is on her way to stay for a few days too. I think we’re all tired, out of our routine, and feeling worn out.
My afternoon was readjusted, so I thought I had time to go to the gym, get in some much needed brain exhaustion via cycling. Then I was diverted to pick up duty after practice. I don’t mind carpooling, I was just trying to get it done before the rpm class started. And then traffic. Just through our town. Sarah could sense my tension. I tried to ask about homework and school. I could see the anxiety on her face. And then the tears came. She felt behind in Japanese class and like she was a burden for me adjusting my plans to drive her around. She doesn’t want to feel bad, but she just does. Then moments before home, the real words came out. “I just miss my daddy. Why isn’t he here?!” Oh, my heart. I asked what she needed in this moment; a hug was her quiet reply.
So we pulled into our tiny townhouse parking space, others outside around us, and I got her out of the car and just held her. Right there, in the middle of the neighborhood. Through the sobbing she quietly asked me to pray for her. Oh, my heart. I had been silently praying over her and now, of course, I let the heart of God pour through me. What a joy to have my daughter seek comfort in my arms and ask for me to pray over her. In that moment, with the Holy Spirit comforting us, that’s all we needed. Family.
Our evening continued to be a mess of bumbling fools. Jacob arguing, because he’s always right. His chore of bathrooms, to him, means squirting some blue stuff in the toilet. The end. I was helping Sarah with some homework while I had onions caramelizing on the stove. Of course I got the burners mixed up and turned them up too high while I turned my attention to Sarah. So they are now burned little black things that filled the house with smoke. Jacob says they made the house smell like cat pee. Yay us. Then he was getting his pizza out of the oven (it’s an ASD thing—every night recently) and it slipped off the backside of the rack. Yes, it ran down the backside of the oven. Awesome. Ov Glove to the rescue. And my house that was clean this morning is covered in mail and school projects, tennis shoes and coats, bits of dinner and groceries yet to be put away.
These moments and situations can wear a person out. Especially a single mama like me. But we covered the day in prayer. And I trust that the Holy Spirit is giving us grace in these moments. So there were more hugs. No harsh words where there could have been a lot. No wounded feelings, where we could have really hurt each other. Instead, now there’s laughter, teenage burping, and a dance party is about to go down. Because this family dances just because we can. And we laugh, because it’s good medicine for our souls. And the burping…it’s a teenage thing. These may be hard days, but I know the years are slipping away too quickly. So I’ll take the tears, prayers, laughter, and dance parties with my growing babies any day. Oh, my heart.