Today my day took on a life of its own. My son wakes at 3 AM and then at 6:30 AM. I nurse him in bed and we both pass out again until my husband’s first 7 AM alarm. I say first because he hits the snooze a minimum of two or three times before he actually gets up. I roll over and pat the baby back to sleep next to me, the two of us wedged between pillows. The next thing I remember is my husband coming in to kiss us both goodbye and then my daughter joining us in bed a few minutes later. We snuggle and laugh until I decided I need to get this day started. The process of getting myself and both kids up and dressed takes way longer than it should and by the time breakfast is finished my son is ready for his nap. I nurse him, rock him and then put him down in his crib awake. I lay on my side on the floor next to his crib with a book I’m supposed to be reviewing but I can’t seem to get into. He fusses and whines and finally I give in and let him hold my hand intermittently until he falls asleep, but overall the process takes less time than usual. My daughter and I cuddle on the couch to begin our home school time. She is only three and a half but we have begun read alouds and simple circle time most days. Today she doesn’t want to read Little House in the Big Woods, but prefers the picture book of the week, The Mitten. We sing the Doxology and practice the Lord’s Prayer. I try to start working on her new Bible memory verse and the poem of the month, but she will have none of it. Finally I give up and send her off to play while I work on a verbal intro for the Lenten dance I’m performing this Sunday.
The baby wakes up from his nap so I bring him downstairs. I select the kids praise music station on Pandora as I try to write my blog posts, keeping one eye on the baby as he meanders through the living room, littered with toys. My daughter alternates playing with (hugging too rough, pinning to the floor) her brother until a song she knows well comes up on Pandora. “We sing this song in church” she announces and begins to dance. I ask her why she doesn’t sing instead. She says “Because I have to dance.” She rarely dances in church, even though our church actually encourages kids to dance during worship with an open area at the front of the sanctuary set aside for this purpose and the children are provided with scarves and streamers if they want them. But here in our living room surrounded by baskets of clean laundry waiting to be folded, she dances. My son sits back on his haunches, chirps and smiles as my daughter continues to dance. Here in the mess of everyday life, is a holy moment. I long to join her, but I’m mesmerized. Five minutes later the chaos has resumed as my daughter hauls her trains upstairs for some alone time and my son chews on a piece of cardboard he has found amid strains of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. Yet something has changed. As though I got a little taste of the nativity or the via dolorosa here in my tiny living room. As the son of God arrived in the mess of everyday life in a stable and died in the routine execution of a criminal; he inhabits my everyday chaos as well. I may not make it to the Ash Wednesday service at church tonight, but I feel as though I’ve had a holy experience of my own. Sometimes we must choose to dance.