6/24/09

Washing the beds

Wednesday~June 24, 2009


"And this is grace. An invitation to be beautiful." ~Sara Groves


I started stripping the beds this morning, contemplating seeing the whole bed washing process through from beginning to end. I got to the part where I piled the blankets and sheets on the floor after pulling them from the bed. Then I flopped down on my back, smack in the middle of the bed and stared up at the ceiling fan, thinking on all the piles in my head, the way they overwhelm me like housework sometimes. Regrets, lists, ideas and feelings. There I was, just me and the fan and the mattress and my thoughts like piles.

Until someone small and lanky threw himself over the edge of the bed and THWACK! his knee interrupted my thoughts as it met my cheekbone.

Miles said, "What are you doing, Mommy?"

"Nothing, Sweetie."

THWACK! There Asher came, not to be left out, his hand slapping my cheek as he struggled to pull himself up.

"Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Nigh?"

"No, honey. I'm not sleeping."

I watched the fan for a minute, dodging more THWACKS, and then the phone rang. I mustered up the energy to talk just in time to hang up and be late for the puppet show in the park. Watching the joy cross over the small faces of these boys as we sat on a blanket in the grass watching puppet antics helped lift my mood a little. So we picked up lunch and I answered 20 questions about snakes on the ride home. I found out I don't know everything there is to know about snakes. I couldn't answer all the snake questions.

We got home and the blankets and sheets were still on the floor. While the boys ate lunch, I noticed the piles in my brain were still there too. I started focusing too much on my failures and wondering if my boys are going to be okay, even if I'm struggling for peace and patience so much of the time. The things I do, the things I say, the things I think...so many things that just don't match up with the mother I want to be...will I ever overcome them? I was thinking about all of it so hard, it was making me feel even worse, even more impatient.

And then Miles said,

"Mommy. You're the most awesome mom. I love you."


Last night I had a conversation with friends about these moments of grace, how they can be so small and so beautiful at the same time. Today, I have given my son absolutely no reason to speak those lovely words. But there it was. The tilt of his head, the intensity of his stare, the softness in his voice. There was beauty there, pulling something beautiful out of me.

Grace. Tomorrow will be better. We'll (hopefully) have clean sheets and (I know) we'll have a fresh start.


"Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are."-Sara Groves

35 clicked right here to comment:

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

When I was younger and in church youth group as a high schooler, we were taught a handy acronym for GRACE - God's Riches At Christ's Expense. It was helpful beginning theology at the time, I suppose, and heaven knows I couldn't have fully grasped the concept much more than that at the age of sixteen.

I think the connection between the quotes about grace and redemption is so spot on. The things I do, the words I say, those thoughts I think . . . so much of it in need of redemption. Where is redemption without grace? Grace is always speaking of redemption - time after time after time.

These are such beautiful, cooling thoughts on a sweltering afternoon. Thanks for taking a minute to share your heart. Again.

Kristina P. said...

What a sweet thing for him to say! And I'm sure he absolutely means it.

L.T. Elliot said...

It seems only right that your were afforded a bit of Grace today as you bring so much of it to so many of us. Even your admission of struggles, of fear, of being overwhelmed--these are little graces for me. Your softness, your heart reaches across a vast distance for me and it makes me try harder to be better. Your example and loving tenderness helps me believe I can someday do the same for someone else.

It is such a tender mercy that God gave you your bit of Grace, that Miles gave you your bit of Grace. Never did a word fit you better.

Love,

Laura

Manic Mother said...

Your too hard on yourself! Your an excellent mom. Just forget about all the preconceived notions you have in your head about what a mom is supposed to be or do, and be the mom you are meant to be. Hugs!

Melanie J said...

Yeah, that's kind of how I feel when Baby G wanders over and tilts his head for a kiss for no reason. It makes everything worth it.

Christy said...

What a sweet post, and such a sweet little boy!

sara said...

sweet words from a sweet boy and even more sweet mama!!!! great post!

Jen said...

I think that is why there is always a tomorrow. You make the best of today but sometimes it is not but there is always tomorrow to try again.

Oh and I always get those thwacks too. ;)

Em said...

And the absolute best part, even if the sheets don't get done tomorrow, Miles will still think you're awesome.

Thank you for your awesomeness. (I'm pretty sure that's a word.)

Mylestones said...

I loved this: "There was beauty there, pulling something beautiful out of me."
Grace. Tomorrow. Clean sheets. A fresh start. Who could ask for more, right?
I'm going to have to start perusing the thesaurus for adjectives so I don't sound like a broken record. I really did love this post.

minnesotamom said...

Sheets can wait; taking in moments of beauty cannot!

Carrie said...

Glad other people have these days, too. :)

Rach@In His Hands said...

You ARE awesome!!

So is the One who shows us what grace is all about.

♥georgie♥ said...

moments like this make mommy-hood the most justifiable job on the planet!
GREAT post!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

And here you are, proving once again we why all love and adore you. You don't think the boys know how much you love them despite the dirty sheets, many snake questions and the knee-to-the-face? Even when you're upset with them they know your love.

Now, go back, lay on the bed, look at the fan, breathe and take in the scent around you in the room, the air you share with the boys, the smells of that moment, and breathe out all the clutter in your mind, and wash it away with your sheets. Take it all one thing at a time. Surviving the many things to do with children is simply doing what you can, when you can, and making the most that you can with your time with them. The laundry and chores will wait, their little baby bodies won't.

*much hugs and lovin'*

Angie said...

He's right, you know. :) Love the Sara Groves quotes.

Kim said...

Ok, so I'm pooped. I just have to say this; my house is a mess, there is laundry to be folded, dishes to be done and a floor to sweep. But, my kids had a pretty fantastic day. If, at the end of the day, I can accomplish that...well, that's all that matters. I can tell it is to you too.

Melanie said...

awesome, I can relate to it all!

Kazzy said...

Yeah, the housework in my head...

Maybe Miles can come hang out here sometime.

Kerri said...

I'm delurking to say that you've brought moments of grace to my life since finding your blog. Your writing is lovely and your life is a witness to your faith and hope. Thank you for sharing.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I had this big plan to spring clean my house, but it didn't happen. I now feel that keeping up with the laundry might be enough.

Sometimes it is enough to get by with a little help from the little people in our life. Miles seems to be giving you that.

Little people can be the best people around.

-Francesca

charrette said...

I love this. Bed-washing and sheet-changing tend to get me down too. How is that such a menial everyday task can feel so monumental, overwhelming us thoughts of other monumental and looming topics?

Your post was beautiful. You're right -- those very people who occasionally thwack us and even hurt us are the very ones who show us streamers of grace.

The gospel is all about fresh starts.

MoziEsmé said...

What I love about your blog is how much you capture the feelings I'm having as a mom...

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Another favorite post for me. :) Such truth in this...

SO much I could relate to. I love that we get new days, new beginnings to be the mamas we were meant to be.

Yesterday was not so good. I yelled too much. I lost my patience at the two spills and the sand all over. And then - OF COURSE - the guilt. ;) But today is a new day. Full of grace

So glad you wrote this. Even more glad I read it. :)

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

I'm with Miles, I think you are an awesome mom. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just keep on lovin' those boys!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Yep. I really wish I could learn to be as forgiving of myself as my children are of me. I think they must be reminder to us of how mercy works on a larger scale... the shrugging off and returning to love.

togetherforgood said...

Heather, this is beautiful. Thank you for posting it today.

Kimberly said...

I need to look for moments like that today - thank you for this beautiful post.

a Tonggu Momma said...

And this is why you remind me of Rosie...

Debbie said...

Being a great mom has nothing at all to do with clean bedding. Actually, they like it dirty and worn feeling. And they like that loving feeling they always get from you! I'm so happy you got that affirmation.

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

You know, I'm working on something. My daughter (8) recently wrote in her journal that I am her hero. Among the many reasons was the I "put new sheets on (her) bed." Maybe sometimes those things that we think are unnoticed are actually not so unnoticed afterall.

You *are* and awesome mom, aren't you?!

L a u r a said...

A beautiful post! Oh, how we all are in each others' shoes. Just don't let anyone ever accuse you of spending more time cleaning than spending with your growing children--time that you can never get back. Nothin' wrong with dust bunnies for pets! =)

Thank you for your kind words. You totally made my week!! A much-needed uplifter in this crazy hot weather!

Blessedw5mom said...

Right on! And I love Sara Groves! Thanks for posting this.

Jessica said...

I totally get what you mean about the piles in your head . . . I'm walking around many of those piles right now, too, just stewing about them . . . and clinging to those moments of grace. What a lovely word of grace from your sweet Miles. Love it! This is a great post.

Luisa Perkins said...

Beautiful. I live for moments like that.

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