Yesterday morning greeted me with a fat, bloody lip. From what? An eager, affectionate toddler head coming full force into my mouth. My feet hadn’t even hit the floor and I was literally bleeding from motherhood. About 30 minutes later I was greeted once again by motherhood and bodily fluid (funny how those two seem to go hand in hand). I was fumbling around the bathroom when I stepped in a puddle of a (not-so) mysterious liquid. If anyone has any techniques for getting a three year old boy to keep the urine at least mostly in the toilet on a regular basis, that would be awesome. At lunch Royce decided to eat her yogurt with her hands before throwing the rest of the container upside down on the carpet for the dog to lick up. And by lick up I mean drag the container all over the living room trying to get every last drop of apple-sweet potato yogurt from the bottom of the cup, while still leaving quite a few drops on the carpet. Paisley hasn’t eaten a full meal of actual dog food since Royce started feeding herself solids. Yet somehow Royce eats enough to maintain the most squeezable leg rolls known to man and very 3-dimensional cheeks-both of which are Day-Gavenda staples. During nap/rest time I decided it might be time to actually get dressed for the day. I only decided this because we had plans that involved an outfit other than dirty yoga pants. While I was in the shower the smoke detector went off. Just once, but still because I am such an amazing mom I felt the need to check and make sure the house wasn’t burning down. Once I realized that a.) the house and kids were all still relatively in tact and b.) our smoke detector was broken I got back into the shower. But not before slipping on a own puddle of water (made when I jumped out of the shower to put out potential arson) and landing in a pile of myself on the bathroom floor. At least I didn’t land in urine, right? But the smell, the smell of urine just wouldn’t leave the bathroom. (At this point in the post, you can thank me for all the sensory details). I washed the floor again, finished getting ready, but I still felt like it smelled like freakin’ 3 year old boy pee (if that is any different from regular pee)! I thought maybe it was the cup of Peter’s coffee that I had broken all over the floor and walls, because as everyone knows coffee and pee smell very much alike. Oh, wait, I didn’t mention I had spilled coffee all over right before I got in the shower and left the broken coffee cup in the sink because I didn’t want to go downstairs and get sucked into my kids’ vortex and never shower ever again? Well, I did. Anyway, back to the urine smell. (I know you really wanted to go back there). I tried to ignore it and convince myself it was just in my head. I got completely ready, but it still wouldn’t leave. Then as I dried my hands on the hand towel I realized with disgust that it was the same towel I had used to sop up Braxton’s pee a couple hours ago. Gaaaagggg. I don’t want to blame Peter for putting it back on the towel rack. I had left it lying in a pile of dirty laundry, where else but our hallway. Maybe he thought one of the kids put it there and it was just wet with water. What? You don’t leave dirty laundry laying in your upstairs hallway? I can think of no good reason why you should start. On a positive note, our upstairs bathroom no longer smells like pee. (Upon further research, the above scenario is exactly what happened. Peter did think Braxton put the towel there and nicely hung it back up for me before going to work, because I am always nagging him about returning the hand towel after using it. Once more tidbit-he used said towel to wash his face after shaving…and then went out to sell some good ol’ fashioned cable. He actually had a pretty successful day. Chew on that.)
I spend a lot of time during the day thinking of my kids. I can’t help it when I am with them nearly every living and breathing moment. I also can’t help it when little remnants of themselves are everywhere-little princess and knight dolls, little piles of clothes that were once folded, little crayon drawings all over the fridge with my name on them, little fat lips when I look in the mirror, little puddles of pee on the bathroom floor. Yes, my sweet kids are on my mind pretty much all the time. And I try, oh how I try, to think positively about them. Or at least I say I try. I realized lately I am not trying quite hard enough. I realized it when I read this verse:
“I thank my God every time I remember you.” Philippians 1:3
Every time, huh? Setting the standard a little high aren’t we? This verse seems to kind of be like another verse I tend to conveniently ignore: “Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Now, like I said I don’t have much chance to actually forget my kids, especially when I really try to be super-duper intentional about my parenting as well as limit their television viewing to no more than 5.5 hours per day. (That was a joke, just in case you are judging or dialing the number to CPS.) But I also must be honest to say that whenever I think of them, it is not always with a heart of thankfulness. I used to think that Paul (the author of Philippians) wrote this as a tribute to how wonderful the people of Phillipi were. And I think we can gather that from the surrounding verses. But this verse convicted me none-the-less. My kids are awesome, probably at least as awesome as the people in Philippi. I need to discipline myself to be thankful every time I remember my kids. Because joy is a choice. And thankfulness is an action. So, when I find myself figuratively and literally in a puddle of pee, or refereeing yet another fight over something ridiculous as which toy knight toy Anna should marry, or I am exhausted from chasing a toddler all over creation, I have to choose to be joyful. I have to choose to express that in thanksgiving. My kids really are something to be thankful for. It doesn’t take much most days for me to be overwhelmed by just how amazing my life is and how much I have to be thankful for. But some days, some moments, it takes great discipline to be thankful. I am practicing it. I am willing myself to be thankful. Sometimes it is in prayers through gritted teeth. Sometimes it in prayers spoken through tears. Sometimes it is in prayers as I hide in the bathroom. What good is thankfulness only when it is easy? Everyone can be thankful then. God has given me so much, and even when my hands seem more full than what I can carry I want to fold them in prayers of heartfelt gratitude for all He has showered on me…even if it has been 3 months since I have had an uninterrupted shower.