"Sit down and feed, and welcome to our table." -William Shakespeare

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ever have one of those kinda days? Well, for me, yesterday was it. Nothing really bad happened. I wasn't really tired. I was just, well, lazy, unmotivated, and basically cranky.

Food was served. Boo-boos were handled. Toads were given new homes on the back steps. Games were played.

But I just wasn't all there. I yelled at my baby (so sure he was the one deserving it right?); I threatened vague things to little people who didn't want to eat sweet potatoes; I declined invitations to play in the back yard. And when they had faded off to dreamland, I laid down and cried. And prayed. And looked back at the day.

I resisted the temptation to scold myself for every personal parenting rule I'd broken in the last 14 hours. Instead, I asked myself *why* all those things happened. Where were the wrong turns?

And they all came back to joy. Joy, to me, is what makes a day real. Joy is the difference between going through the motions and connecting with the world around me, just how it is today and not how I wish it would be.

Happiness comes from life's 'big picture' being right. I am happy. Joy is different. Joy is the choice to let grace and laughter and a little magic permeate the day. It's worrying a little less about feeding the body and a little more about feeding the spirit. It's disciplining with a laugh intead of a tirade... entering the game instead of vegetating on the couch... sitting on the edge of the tub and massaging little scalps instead of folding laundry during bathtime.

But you can't always be on!

And I'm not, believe me. But mothering can fill my tank, not deplete it, when I take the time to relax and experience joy with my children. Besides my relationship with my husband and with God, the table where my *soul* gets fed is the little one in the playroom where pretend feasts abound, foreign royalty is always visiting, and the bookshelf is always within arm's reach. "Mommy, don't we have a story about...."

Today I still wasn't 'on top of my game,' so to speak. I'm still distracted by decisions I need to make, people I need to talk to, purchases I need to make... my mind was distracted, but my heart was in the right place. And that makes all the difference to three little people. Who deserve a gentle voice, a gracious space to grow, peaceful mealtimes, and restful nights.

Joy is the difference between connection and just going through the motions.

Sleep, my babies, in the arms of angels. Tomorrow is another day.

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~Frederick Douglass

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