One by one as the kids climbed into the car after school I was proudly handed a cup full of dirt with one little flower hanging on for dear life to its roots that been pushed and pulled and were now fully exposed at the surface. Each cup was carefully placed in a cup holder next to its respected child and stories began of their day of planting and handmade Mothers Day cards. As we drove home I would look down at my potted wonders and questioned if they would even survive the car ride home that afternoon.
Last night after the kids were tucked into bed I looked at each cup and predicted how long it would be before I would have to come up with a story as to where the cups went and why their treasured gifts hadn’t survived. I have a draw full of colored pictures, scribbles on pieces of paper that had been dug out of trashcans handed back to me with tears streaming down little faces asking me how could I throw something away that they had given to me. I have an entire cabinet full of proudly crafted ceramics with mis matched paint and the most imperfect edges that brings a smile to my face every time I open the doors.
When I decided to stay home full time with the kids I had a plan, this might be a good time to tell you that I am a planner. No really, my plans have a plan that were carefully preplanned! My need to be a planner falls right in line with that need to control my life, you know that control that I really have no ownership of! But I was determined to have this grand plan of being the most organized stay at home mom and right now all of those seasoned stay at home moms are smiling and on the edge of their seats to know just how long this lasted! About an hour ….
I was going to get up early every morning, we would have breakfast, coffee would be slowly sipped as I made my way from room to room making beds and folding pajamas as soon as they were pulled over messy heads of crazy morning hair. There would be no rushing around, lunches would be carefully packed with hand written notes. I would kiss each child goodbye in car line and head to the gym which would be followed by a shower, hair blown out and dressed by noon. Errands. laundry and dinner started by 3:00 was a priority. Afternoon activities would be scheduled, backpacks neatly hung on colorful hooks, dinner by 5 followed by games and movies, everyone in bed and asleep by 9. It would be set in stone and this stay at home thing I was going to not only master but be the envy of all my friends.
I have been to the gym one time. I have to set 4 alarms and even then I fly out of bed running down the hallways throwing on what I find in a pile on the floor and pray that the teachers don’t remember I wore this to pick up the kids the day before or better yet what I also dropped them off in! We can never find someones shoe, there is a clothes crisis every SINGLE morning and I have lost count how many trips I have made in one day to the school because someone, usually me has forgotten something. I may get one bed made, I think pi’s are only worn one time before being washed because I find it has become easier and much more time efficient to throw them in the hamper than fold them! Before I know it the clock says 2:50 and I am running late to pick up the kids. Still just the one bed has been made, I am contemplating Chick-Fil-A for the third time this week because I haven’t set foot in WalMart now for 10 days! Unless of course it is the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month then the Schwan’s man provides a somewhat home cooked meal! I think everyone got a bath, maybe not. Okay we will get up extra early in the morning to make sure those that skipped out of getting clean that night gets a good washing before school. It’s at this point you can rest assure that we did not get up extra early!
There are nights that I fall into bed feeling a bit like my flowers that line the kitchen island. My roots totally exposed, having been pushed and pulled with clumps of dirt scattered around and questioning if I can survive another day! The plans that I had made to be the stay at home mom of the year are totally crushed along with my confidence and admittedly my pride. As I stared at my 3 cups I began to think about the plans that God has for us and how, as I have said time and time again … Our plan for our life is not necessarily His plan. And then how so many, many times His plan turns out to be so much better than the plans we made for ourselves. So I carefully took out each flower and took a handful of new dirt and filled the bottom of each cup. I then put each flower back into their home and filled the rest of the cup with more dirt and gently pushed each flower down to secure it and gave them each a drink of fresh water. I stepped back to see 3 beautiful flowers but knew that tomorrow morning I would find them a bit leaned over, needing some more water and that brought me to this …
As a mom we are expected to have it all together all the time, just like my perfect flowers in front of me. But how enjoyable is life lived as a perfect flower? I am learning that there is so much more fun in not living by a plan, that my clumps of dirt and exposed roots gives me the opportunity to run to God allowing him to replant me and give me the comfort to know that when I am leaned over His hands are there to push me back into my walk with Him. And probably the most important lesson that I am learning is that what makes me grow and flourish is not by how perfectly executed my plan is but rather how I allow God to plan my day and I find that most days making beds and doing laundry come second to a good bowl of cereal for dinner and an evening of playing tag in the front yard.