A Stitch in Time: Five Minute Friday

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Knit until last 3 stitches, then K2tog, K1. This used to look like another language to me. I remember the early months of sitting in my college dorm room as we talking politics and tried to figure out who to add this new domestic skills to our otherwise very intellectual arsenal. I remember the late nights in my first apartment waiting for my husband to come home from class. Watching Law & Order and teaching myself new stitches. The years of waiting for the baby season and making dozens of baby blankets for friends and setting a few aside for my future children. I learned to make clothes, more complicated afghans. Every time I added a new skills it required that I slow down and focus more on what I was doing. It was often frustrating because it required more concentrated energy. It no longer became a smooth flowing process with a somewhat predictable result.

 

Parenting has become much like this. It’s like learning a new language and calculating a new currency all of once. Each time a new issue is raised, I have to slow everything else down. Give that new thing more of my attention and energy. Yes, it’s easy to stick to familiar patterns and methods. But since no two kids are the same, it may not and often doesn’t work.  It’s inconvenient to give a particular child or issue my extra attention because there is so much else vying for my time. I know the end result is not guaranteed. I can follow instructions to the letter and things still may not turn out the way I want them.

But I also know the joy of a completed project, that even in it’s flaws is beautiful. Why my son picks up his room when I ask the first. When my children enjoy an activity together without fighting. Watching my daughter occupy her baby brother without being asked. There is hope that someday this may become second nature and that things may go smoothly, at least for a time.

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Photo Credit: starshaped via Compfight cc

 

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Parenting, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

All the Noise, Noise, Noise: Five Minute Friday

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All the noise, noise, noise! At the risk of sounding like the Grinch, what I wouldn’t do for a little bit of silence. Both kids talking, no yelling, at me at once. Baby screaming. Breast pump whooshing, microwave beeping, kids listening to two different audio book in different rooms at high volume, laundry buzzing, phone ringing. I know my kids think everyone they say is important, but so much of it feels unnecessary and just fills the air with cacophony. They are hurt and offended when I don’t listen to every word and don’t acknowledge or better yet fulfill every request and demand.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, I’m really trying not to. I know that someday my house will be filled with too much silence and I will miss them. But sometimes it feels like some kind of torture. Rapid fire questions that get louder and louder when I don’t immediately respond over the sound of the shrieking baby who is crying for reasons I can’t figure out or I would do something to stop it if I could. Then the accusations begin, “you don’t love us. You don’t care about us. You don’t listen.”

How do I explain that yes, I do but sometimes my sleep addled brain can’t decide which simultaneous comment to address before another is added to the pile.

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The introvert in me is feeling emotionally claustrophobic. I need quiet within not just on the outside. A time to rest my mind instead of being filled with racing thoughts that I can’t even quiet formulate and process because my ears are overstimulated. I need to learn to quiet—the verb not just the noun. To actively quiet my soul, even when I can’t control the chaos around me.  I don’t know how I will do this yet, but I want to learn how, which I suppose is a start.

 

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Parenting, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

I Want to Be There: Five Minute Friday

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They know how to push. Push my buttons, push the boundaries. I want to be here, really here with them. But it’s so hard. He wants me to read a story. Not just any story, the one I really hate that I wish could mysteriously disappear in the night. All I can think about is when I can get back to my never ending checklist. She wants me to cuddle with her for unspecified amounts of time. No matter how long it is, it’s never long enough. She complains I never play with her, usually as I’m rushing around the house trying to clean up the messes she and her brother have made while trying to make sure their complicated dietary needs and desires are met before the baby wakes up or needs another diaper change. It’s frustrating that she doesn’t see the obvious. I want to be with her, if only I wasn’t the only one doing most of the work.

It seems so much easier with the baby. I can pause with him, and watch him smile or sleep and talk to him as he responds with coos and goos. But for some reason, I have trouble doing this with my older children. Sometimes it isn’t just that I’m overwhelmed with work, though that is certainly true. Sometimes being with them makes me feel claustrophobic. After a day spent wiping snotty noses and poopy bottoms, reminding and threatening, the last thing I want is a long cuddle. It’s after 8 p.m. and all I want is to curl up on the couch for a hot chocolate, and my knitting, maybe a quiet conversation or holding hands with their dad if I’m lucky.

But I want to be present. Engage with them and let them know that they are loved. If I could learn to limit my cringing to the inside and resist the urge to run when the lists overtake me, and I just want everyone to leave me alone for a while.

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Compassion is Particular

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Madeline L’engle says “Compassion is particular, it is never general,” to explain why we can feel the pain of those near us so much more than a generic statistic or a news story about a stranger. In this section of A Circle of Quiet, she talked about the need for community and the real connection and avenues for compassion it can create if we let it.

I know three women who have had still-born babies in the last two months. None were close friends, I’ve only met one in person. But we attend the same church, one is in my sister’s small group so there is a sense of connection. Another lives two blocks from my house, though we have never met. As I sit to nurse my  three month old son, sometimes I cry. I cry for my mothers with empty arms. I cry for the baby I lost to miscarriage five years ago and wonder what he or she would have looked like. The grief weighs heavy, and at times I let it. Usually I don’t let the grief in because I am too busy or too afraid that if I let it in, I may not be able to stop it and I will be overwhelmed. The tears come as I stand doing dishes and feeling angry at the mess, not so much the mess in my kitchen as the mess the world is in. It wasn’t meant to be this way.

One of the strange things about technology is that it can both isolate and yet create community depending on how you use it. There are women I’ve followed on blogs and Facebook forums, who I’ve never met in person and yet I can pray and grieve for them. But for these dear, flesh and blood women in my community, I don’t know what to do.

But in all cases, whether far or near I feel powerless. I want to do something. I want to bring food, or send a card, yet it all feel so presumptuous. I don’t really know these women, these brave mothers who must move forward, keep living and continue breathing when at times that alone must feel like too much to bear.  I can’t even begin to understand their loss, but I also know that we are called to grieve with those who grieve. How do I do that?

I’m not sure I know how, but I can’t pretend it hasn’t happened.  So I think of those little babies by name, those and the many others lost at different gestations and ages over the years by myself and others I know. And when I don’t have the words to pray, I cry and ask God to comfort those who mourn.

Categories: Faith, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First: Five Minute Friday

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They always want to be first. First into the car, first out. They race to kiss me good night (and often miss the kiss in the process). Though I rarely see them race to pick up their toys I wonder how it is that everything is a competition and a hurry.

Depending on how you read the stats, I’m probably at least a third of the way through my life and for the first time I want to slow it down. I want to linger in the smiles with my baby boy, the cuddles with my three year old and  read aloud more to my six year old (preferably without constant interruption). I don’t want to hurry onto the next thing as much (perhaps with the exception of being debt free and finding a bigger house with more room for our growing family).

But I remember being so young that school days lasted forever, the time until a friend arrived to play was an eternity. I always wanted to be first in line but last to leave the party.  They can’t see past today, this moment. Everything has to be now. I know that part of me is still this way, being tired of waiting and wanting things to be perfect now. But I also know that being first isn’t always better, and hurry and worry don’t make the journey any shorter or more enjoyable.

Thea

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Categories: Five Minute Friday, Writing | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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