I remember the day the sprinkler-in-his-head giraffe came to live at our house.
Well, I sort of remember. Okay, so maybe not the day. But I think I can at least name the season.
Fall? Winter? Or was it Christmas?
Okay, so I overstated.
I actually only remember some non-summery, non-spring time of the year that Pop Pop brought him through the door in all his clearance glory. A time that I can assuredly say I thought, “Daddy, you are strongly overestimating my ability to hold on to this thing for a time of year that it will be useful. But I will try, dear Daddy. I will try.”
Also, perhaps, a bit of an overstatement.
Because only a few days later, Mr. Giraffe went into the storage area (aka The Black Hole of Random Junk.) As I bid him a fond adieu, I knew it would be a blessed miracle if we found him again before Sophie graduated from high school. But I also felt kind of empowered because it seemed that I was actually learning that real life is just kind of like that.
And then came summer.
Where you would find me fully bent on creating some kind of magic schedule that, in my mind, would simply erase any possible whiff of what we refer to as the “Summer Sibling Smackdown.” I even went so far as to salivate at the very mention of a summer schedule found by my dear friend on Pinterest. I planned, I plotted and I said, “Sweet heavens, this is the key to summer perfection!”
Make it Monday. Take a Trip Tuesday. Water Wednesday.
You get the idea.
(Actually, I just hope you do because I have already forgotten what you are supposed to do Thursday and Friday. And it’s only the SECOND WEEK?!?! Lord, help me.)
Here’s a summary of the first few days into our inaugural Pinterest schedule of perfection…
Make it Monday.
Where you would have found us painting unfinished wooden trains discovered in the black hole with leftover paint from Grace’s birthday. First 10 minutes, divine. The rest, well, I couldn’t tell you. All I know is if you don’t find something smaller to paint than a train, Make It Monday will turn into Make It All Week. I highly doubt a real train could have taken longer. Couple that with the 20 paintbrushes that Sophie ate, I can most assuredly say that this was not what Pinterest had in mind.
The best part is we didn’t even “make it” Monday. We made it Tuesday because we had already “Taken a Trip” on Memorial Day with Daddy. I can tell you this caused a holy hoot of confusion for my rule-following first-born. After arguing about it for 15 minutes, I finally said in sheer desperation, “Honey, we can make our own rules. It’s fine. There are no 'Make It Monday' police.”
“Well, mom, that would have been good to know.”
Proof that at times, YOU JUST MAKE IT UP, MAMA!
Because be assured, it may be the only way to get to Wednesday. Where you, in great horror, are reminded by the same eldest, “So what are we doing for Water Wednesday?”
Wait, the giraffe???????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s in the black hole……
I think it might be…past the lesson plans from ten years ago…could it be?????
Oh, Daddy, I love you! I love you!!! I love YOU!!!!!!
For a grand and glorious hour, my three played as I sat and sipped my ice water. It was heaven. Truly, it was.
Then, about the time I snapped a picture and posted something nostalgic on Facebook, I felt something trickling on my shoulder.
I looked up, too late to shout, “NOOOOOOOO!” Only to see a pot veering off the deck in my general direction. It was a full-on potting soil shower, imparted by my darling Sophie.
And I lost it.
Not the slap-on-a-pointy-hat-and-summon-the-flying-monkeys kind of losing it. (Because FYI, I’ve done that too.) But the total-giving-it-all-up-laughing-uncontrollably kind.
That, my friends, is motherhood.
Just about the time you think you have failed, you find the giraffe.
Just about the time you think you have found Hallmark happiness, a pot nearly misses your head.
And just about the time you think you’ve lost your mind, you feel a little hand tug at you and it’s owner with dirt dripping from her mouth says, “This is fun!”
Seriously, what can you do?
Girls, I know we are staring the next few months down, holding our breath and thinking that “this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” means that life should be lilies and roses and sunshine.
But let us instead collectively exhale and relax.
It wasn’t meant to be.
We will all have moments where we just want to throw in the towel. Where if we face one more poopy diaper or drawing on the wall or WWF brother-sister wrestling match, we WILL get out our pointy hats and threaten to call the monkeys as long as they promise not to add to the poop problem.
We will mess up.
But it is in that imperfection, that messiness, that we can, dare I say it, rejoice over the simple things that let a mama breathe and bend and get up willing to push through all over again the next day.
So mamas, let us rejoice…
Over nap time.
Over a cup of coffee as big your head.
Over the sweet after-swimming coma that kicks in on the car ride home.
Over the picnic tables and cement floors you don’t have to clean.
Over the dollar bin at Target or the free cookies at the bakery.
Over the “lost” Dora DVD that if you had to hear it one more time, you might cry.
Over every sweet and blessed thing that brings you respite.
Let us rejoice in that as much as we delight over the music jam in the mini-van, the squeals of laughter that peal over the spray of a sprinkler or the incredible truth that no matter how pitiful a day is, we can sneak into our kids’ bedrooms at night, watch them sleep and know that we really mean it when we whisper, “I love you.”
It’s life. It’s real. It’s honest.
Even though the stakes are high. Even though the days are long. And even though failure seems to whisper at every turn.
Jesus gets it.
He delights in our praise, not in our perfection.
So praise Him, sweet mamas, with a chorus of a thousand hallelujahs for simply making it to the end of the day. Where you fall into bed, shoes and glasses still on, closing your eyes just for a bit until you realize…
Wait, is tomorrow Wednesday? Crud, water day again. Hmmm...I wonder where that inflatable purple shoot-water-out-its-head Octopus is??????
Maybe if I close my eyes…I can visualize it…
Wait, I’m visualizing…
Eh, forget it.
Jesus, thank you that my Daddy rocks… and those inflatable sprinkler animal things… and while we’re at it, me too. I totally rock. Because you and I both know a miracle has just occurred…
I actually REMEMBERED that tomorrow is Wednesday.
And all the rocking tired mamas said, “AAAAAAAMEN!”
Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.