Wednesday, September 25, 2013

While the Prince is Away...

Today is the day that the Prince returns to our home.  He has been gone for 4 days and 8 hours... roughly.  While I would love to say, "While the Prince was away, the mice they did play", I would be completely lying to make a rhyme.

While the Prince was away, this working mom of many, kept up with the crazy schedule of teenage children, their work schedules, their sports activities, their laundry.  I made sure that they had food and drink at the appropriate times of the day, and evening snacks as well.  They bathed, they did homework (a lot of that was PAINFUL) as I feel like I have been in the 8th grade 6 times now if you count my personal stint there in 1983... We watered the lawn, checked the garden, took the trash to the curb.  We gathered the mail, we kept up with the dishes, we kept up with the dogs. We shared a few laughs, we shared a few shouts of frustration.  We exchanged text messages and phone calls, to make sure that we knew the whereabouts of one another at all times.  At the end of each day we all fell into bed exhausted.  (okay them probably not so much) But for sure I was...

At times like this, I am reminded to pray for all the single parents out there.  This parenting job is not for cowards.  It is not for the faint of heart, or for the timid.  Doing it alone, (even for as short of a time as I just endured) is hard work, it is like doing double time.  When you have a prince or a queen by your side, your burden is eased, your load lighter.  You have a helper.  I do not ever want to take my laundry doing, errand running, chauffeuring children, meal maker, boo-boo fixing, helper for granted.  I am blessed!  SO, single parents everywhere, hats off to you.  I pray that some day your children will see your sacrifices, and your commitment to them, however until then "Do not grow weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

Welcome home to the Prince.  We purposefully left some crumbs on the counter, some leftover food residue on the stove top, the trash may or may not need emptied and the laundry switched over, all in an effort to make him feel like we can't manage without really it was on purpose (wink, wink). 


Saturday, September 14, 2013

I love my front door!

This morning here at the orphanage, even though it is only a little past 7, life has been moving and shaking for over an hour and a half.  The Prince has already been up and out, depositing a dwarf to the morning shift for a 6 am start time, and the dogs have been in and out probably about 5 times, a dwarf lies on the couch with the TV quietly playing in the back ground, and there has already been another dwarf, down the stairs looking for some breakfast. (Which, mom points for me, is in the oven baking as I type.)

What I appreciate about the calm of the morning is that it is a great opportunity to enjoy the relative quiet at my house.  I can reflect and ponder the goodness of the Lord, His blessings on our family and I can make a plan for later in the day when the house is not so calm.

I am enjoying today the coolness of the morning, and the stillness of the house. Yes, I know I indicated that already there is much movement, but the movement is NOT the same at 7am as it is at 7pm. Nor is the movement as fast or as loud! 

I love to look at my home in the early hours of the day and reflect on how great my home is and how much I love it.  It is a great reminder in the still, that my home is not a museum, it is not an institution (even though I jokingly refer to it as the orphanage).  It is a place filled with laughter and joy, with loud and large footfalls, it is filled with barking and crying, yelling and shouting.  Frustration and anxiety live here.  Fear sometime resides here.  Pride and joy, humility and love also fill these four walls. 

The best part about my house I think, is the entrance hall. Why you may ask? Well at the end of the hall is the front door.  The front door is one of my favorite parts of my house. For me it is a visual reminder to me of all those that enter these four walls.  All that have been here over the years. Some have come for a season, some stay with us for life, some for just a brief visit. Often we joke that it should just be a revolving door like at the big department stores, since more often than not there are "extras" here.   However, regardless of the length of one's stay,  the frequency of the visits, there is always an impact made on our lives when someone walks through the front door.   Today, I thank the Lord for each and every person that has entered our front door over the years.  Not just physically through this front door, it could be side door,  the sliding door, it could be the garage door,  the door at our first house, it could be the back yard gate, the sentiment is still the same.  I am grateful to each of you, for your love and support, your friendship, your companionship, for your contribution to making my house a home.  A haven.  A safe place.    

I know that today will break quickly here, the calm will soon disappear.  But each time I walk past the front door today I am committed to remembering and praying for you each.  May you each find time today to reflect on the wonders of your home, and the love that makes up your four walls. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Putting our Best Foot Forward...

As I watch my darling dwarfs head out the door for various activities, I wonder how I have failed them.  I wonder why it is that they can not see the wrinkles in their clothing, the stains, or the small holes.  Why it is that they are insistent in wearing non matching colors, non matching socks, and not doing their hair.  When did covering up bra straps and wearing slips become a thing of the past.  How is it that the dingy gray is preferred over the clean bright whites? When did perfume/body spray become a cover up for needing a shower, and brushing one's teeth is a chore, not a gift to those that we will communicate with during the day....

Is it that there are just too many of them and I no longer find these hills, to be hills that require me to die on?  Not really.  If I could have a penny for every time in the last 20 years of child rearing that I have had to tell/remind the dwarfs to bathe, well I would not be a millionaire, but a thoushandaire for sure... If I had a penny for each dwarf that has had to re-brush their teeth each morning, sometimes two or three times until they get it right, well again, another thousand or so.  I believe that the Prince and I strive to set an great example for them. The Prince and I match our clothing, press out the wrinkles, brush our teeth several times a day, and I even do my hair with regularity, and on the occasion that I do not - I pull it back and throw on a hat. 

So the question still remains, how is it easier to wet the toothbrush, place toothpaste on it, swirl it around your mouth swiftly, and then having to repeat those steps at least one time, LESS of a frustration than just doing it right the first time?  How is it hard to take five minutes to return your clean and folded laundry to the appropriate spots so that when you remove them for wearing they are fresh and clean smelling AND looking?  How difficult is it when you look in the mirror to see that your hair is suffering from a life of it's own that it needs a brush or a hair tie or a squirt of water (or all three) to calm it down.  When staring in the same mirror, how is it that you can't see sleepies in the corners of your eyes or the dried toothpaste shmutz in the corner of your mouth? Why do we hold on to pieces of clothing that have long ago expired, yet not only are they being held on to, they are still be worn? Why is anger the first response when they are asked to change? How is it that wearing to work a uniform that has not been laundered since the last shift worked passes for acceptable.  How do you not make your eyes water and your stomach sick smelling the overwhelming scent of body sprays that you are intending to do the job of a shower and deodorant in covering up yesterday's scent? 

I feel that I am fighting an uphill battle. While I try not to put importance on beauty and outward appearance, I still think that these above mentioned items are  part of  healthy successful hygiene and set the tone for their day.  I suppose that is why I am such an advocate of school and work uniforms. The standard is set clearly before them, and there is little wiggle room.  I honestly believe that dressing for the situation,  is in part the key to success.  Thankfully, it is not every child, every day, but it can be multiple children on one day.  Are they lazy, or confused about what "looks" good?  Or are they trying to find themselves? Could they be trying to blend in?  I just can not seem to figure out how to motivate, or instruct them in the affects of putting your best foot forward at all times.  Your first impression, your continued impression, on coworkers, classmates, society; right, wrong or indifferent, is often formed initially on these first impressions.

I am exceedingly grateful that their hearts are kind and that the Lord does not judge me/them/others by our outward appearances. (1 Sam 16:7)   I have been after this pile of dwarfs for so long, and they say that repetition is the key, but there are days when I just look at them and shake my head and say a prayer that sometime VERY soon, they will feel motivated to put their best foot forward to start each day.  Until then, we keep reminding them, keep instructing them. Never wavering.  I am grateful that they do not ALL roll out of the house looking like street urchins at the same time! 

I wish I could make this stuff up.