Sunday Confessional

I confess that some days I feel much older than I am.

I love my boys more than I ever thought possible, but some days when we sit down to eat a nice dinner that Mama has lovingly prepared, I can’t help but laugh. Not necessarily in the jovial “everything-is-hilarious” way, but rather in the “I’m-laughing-to-keep-from-crying” way. You see, during this nice meal H starts this thing he has been doing that he knows bothers his Mama. I call it being squeaky. Basically he just starts screeching as loud as he can, which his brother finds hilarious and starts imitating. Then H will get up and run around the table several times in mid squeak, while M struggles at his highchair wanting both to join in on the fun and eat at the same time. M’s struggle is real, and typically it results in raspberries littering not only his hair, but also my hair, the floor, and if he was really passionate, the wall too.

We finally make it through dinner, and I heave a huge sigh of relief. Until I look at the clock and I think time is moving the wrong way. How can there still be an hour and a half until bedtime?!? And I can’t use a bath as a stalling tactic tonight because I didn’t have the foresight to heat the water. So we wrestle, the three of us boys for the next hour and a half, while mama cleans the kitchen. The boys jump with jubilance on top of my back as I lay sprawled on the living room floor, exhausted. Then I hear the words I’ve been waiting for float melodiously out of the kitchen, “It’s almost 7.” I grab one boy under each arm and take them to the bathroom where I brush their teeth, while H screams and kicks, and M tries to eat toilet paper. I wrestle them into their pyjamas and then I read.

While I read, the boys sit transfixed. Or they throw blocks at each other, scream, chase each other, and scream some more. Either way, I read and then I pray. And then I tell H how much I love him, and kiss him goodnight. Then I swaddle M and rock him to sleep and sneak down to the mirror to make sure I still have hair.

I confess that sometimes my boys make me feel old. I’ve made my confession, now go and make yours.

Sunday Confessional

I confess that I’m struggling.

It’s a familiar struggle, one that I have fought too many times in the past decade. You see, in just around three months we will be leaving our home in Millbrook, Northern Ireland.  We will be packing up our stuff, and wiping away tears as we make the transition from this wonderful home, to Kansas City. I want, no, I need desperately to remain fully present in the present. But I want so badly to control what is going to happen in three months. I want to search for a job, I want to get enrolled in the classes I will be taking in the Spring, I want to prepare my little boys for the transition ahead.  I want to tell the makers of this program that a year is far too short a time! I want to savor each moment that I can smell the ocean and see the rolling hills.  I want to celebrate with exuberance when my youngest son turns one. I want time to slow down, but it is marching along. I want to do all these things and so I’m struggling. But I’m reflecting and remembering and cherishing.

I find myself praying deeply that God would cradle us and guide our steps into the future, and that He would help me to relish the time I have here with friends who have become the best of friends.

I confess that I am thankful for our church community, for our mentor, for our way of life here. None of it would be possible without the grace of Jesus, so I am most of all thankful for that.

I’ve made my confession. Now go and make yours.

Sunday Confessional

I confess that I didn’t think I would survive the last ten days, but here I am, so I must have! Let me back up a little bit. One of John’s courses for school was a ten day pilgrimage through Ireland and Northern Ireland which took place September 1st-10th. Eleven students and three leaders traveled to different holy sites and followed footsteps of Saints that came before us like Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid. They had a wonderful and meaningful time spent in meditation, prayer, lots of hiking, scripture-reading, journaling, and learning about Celtic Christianity.

Because I didn’t want to leave the kids, I didn’t go with them, but stayed behind with a missionary friend who lives in Wicklow, Ireland. Wicklow was the starting and ending point for their pilgrimage, so it just made sense that I would be there for those times and she would keep me company while I took care of my kiddos. IMG_8432

I spent ten days with the boys without John’s help and it was quite the task! They were pretty well-behaved, especially considering they were in a new place with new surroundings, and one of their “constants” was not there. I was continuously on the move trying to keep up with them. I was pretty proud of myself and how I managed to stay patient throughout the whole time, that isn’t usually the case. I think between John and me, I’m the one who gets impatient more quickly….

During those ten days, I managed to brush my teeth (and my hair most days) but always with a little one pulling at me. (I won’t confess to how few showers I took, only that the boys bathed more frequently than I was able to…) Sometimes I’d put Moses down for a morning nap or we’d go on an outing. We went various places like the grocery store, on a walk to feed the ducks, to charity shops, to the park, etc. often accompanied by friends who lived in the area. Once back home, we’d have lunch, then afternoon quiet time, play outside, eat dinner, then BEDTIME! We all slept pretty well, but 6:30 still came way too early every morning.

One of my favorite things was when Moses would take a morning nap, because then Hosea and I got to paint together! I’m not crafty AT ALL but went to Poundland and got some paints/paper/brushes a few weeks ago to prepare for this time away. Hosea absolutely loved painting “pictures for daddy” and 3-D cardboard animals. We’d have great conversations about things during this time too.

“Why are tigers orange? How did God stretch out the elephant’s trunk so long? What sound do giraffes make?”

IMG_8358I love his curiosity.

I enjoyed those ten days more than I thought I would. I was exhausted, yes, but we had so much fun just being together! I wasn’t preoccupied with getting things done, I just made it all about them.

By the end of the day we were covered in paint, dirt, food, and sticky from who knows what, but we were happy and we all felt loved. (Yes, even me.)

IMG_8405One day our friend took us to find sea glass at a nearby beach. Hosea was in his element: jumping in puddles, finding and burying sticks, filling his pockets with stones, and climbing giant rocks. I managed to find several pieces of sea glass despite constantly fishing sand and rocks out of Moses’ mouth (he was exploring in his own way). John and I always talk about how cool sea glass is, because it starts out as a sharp shard of a broken glass bottle or something, then after tossing around in the waves for a looooooong time, it becomes this lovely piece of smooth glass! It’s a great image of how God refines us over time to become more like Christ.IMG_8442

Exhausted and back at home in Millbrook, we are all four happy to be reunited. I confess that it wasn’t just John who had a meaningful time away, but me too. Just in a different way. This is all just part of the crazy journey.