Today it feels like winter. The air outside is biting cold and I bundle my babies up in their puffy jackets as they head to the bus stop. They know better than to argue with me. We fought that battle at the beginning of the school year, I didn't budge. They could hate their big, warm, puffy jackets all the way to school and back. They are going to wear them. I wish they would let me dress them warmer. Hats, scarves, gloves. My girls don't want to mess up their hair. I have drawn the line at jackets, I give on the issue of hats. Unless it snows. But it only does that maybe once a year, here in the Deep South.
I watch my girls walk to their bus stop. Usually I walk with them, but Eli is in the bathtub, recovering from a PB&J breakfast gone horribly wrong. I watch as my girls walk together, a band of three. Today they are getting along, thy walk in step with each other. They wait a couple minutes for the bus. I watch as my neighbor reaches down to kiss the top of her son's head before he moves to get on the bus.
I think about how natural that movement is. The thousands of kisses we mothers give our children reflexively, as we walk by, as we say goodbye or goodnight. I think about the truth of that sentiment that a child is a mother's heart forever walking around outside her body.
I take a sip of my coffee, it's already cold, and watch my babies ride off on their bus for another day at school.
Yesterday it felt like everything that could go wrong did.
I started my day with a long list of things to do before my husband's company Christmas party. A dessert to make, a kitchen to clean, presents to wrap. Too much to do, not enough time.
It started out well enough. My dessert would be a "16 layer" red velvet cake with alternating layers of red velvet and chocolate cake. The layers cooked beautifully, the boys cooperated and things were looking good.
|don't mind me, I'll just be sitting here eating icing|
Eli wouldn't take his nap, just a quick little thing that wasn't enough. Josiah was bored and getting into trouble. Bouncing off the walls from one thing to the next.
I tried to quickly assemble my cake. It was horrific. This was a tortoise and hare style fiasco. I take a picture. I decide I am either going to be laughing hysterically or crying hysterically in about five minutes.
My friends on Instagram offer tidbits of advice. Mostly involving huge amounts of powdered sugar, of which I've run out. My friends on Facebook laugh at my Fraken-cake and leave me wonderful comments. Like "bahaha. thanks for being brave enough to post this and make us all feel better!" & "Hahaha! I love you! Thanks for posting." I laugh and put the cake in the fridge, hoping that chilling the frosting will turn enemy into friend. I glance at the clock, I've still got some time. I strap my babies into the van. The battery is dead.
I call the Hubs, he has a small window between appointments. He'll bring me more powdered sugar and cream cheese.
I start wrapping presents. The wrapping paper rips. I feel like I could just cry. I think about everything that's gone wrong today. I think about the mess my babysitter is going to see and the things that are just not going to get done.
And then I think about the times I've prayed this week for God to interrupt me.
I move from panic into gratitude, the frantic feelings calm.
My angelic messenger of grocery goodness delivers my saving grace in a grocery bag with a hug and a smile and the strength of his confidence that I can make it work and it will be okay. I mix another batch of frosting. I spread a thin layer, let it chill. Spread a thin layer and let it chill, over and over until I have something presentable. I have images of tripping over myself and my cake splatter all over the kitchen dancing in my mind. I dig out the cake taker The Hub's mother gave me awhile back and just do the best I can do.
I see my friend at the Christmas party, a couple hours later. She asks me how I'm doing. I choose to answer honestly "I'm a mess" I feel exhausted, emotionally done. So glad to get a couple hours away from the chaos of kids. "you know what, so am I" she replies and we have a moment, a true friend moment of mom to mom honesty and acceptance before the party starts.
My cake ties for first prize. My only goal was to not show up empty-handed, but it feels good to be liked. Another friend says "I could it this cake all day." She is so genuine and I like her a little more for that.
We come home to the best baby sitter on the planet and a house full of sleeping kids. We crawl into bed and enjoy those few blissful minutes of uninterrupted conversation and alone time before Eli wakes up and I bring him into bed with us.
Today I'm just going to hold my boys. Play their games and try to be thankful that this is how I get to spend my days. I'm going to clean my kitchen and eat a slice of cake and continue to pray that God will open my eyes to His presence and interrupt me as I go about my day.
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