Saturday, March 17, 2007

Peace, Dude.


The kids have showered.
We read the Bible together and prayed.
Joshua and Elizabeth each read aloud from their own books for several minutes.
I have sung to each of them and tucked them in.
Two of the kids are already asleep.
I am back downstairs, and it's quiet up there.
It's only 8:35.
And I managed this tremendous feat going solo tonight, because Brian is at a special event for work!

Three hours ago, if someone had told me bedtime would go this smoothly, I would have been quick to call them crazy.
The morning began with typical kid noise and petty arguments - He hit me! She looked at me! He's playing with my ball! - You know how it goes. But I got away for a few hours by myself to do some shopping. Ahhh! That was nice.
When I got home Brian and the kids were at a park, so my peace continued. Briefly. They got home and chaos ensued again. With neighbor kids in the mix this time. And before too long Brian had to leave for work, so the kids and I would be spending the evening together without Dad.
As I was preparing dinner, I couldn't help but notice how LOUD my kids were. They bounced around on balls and were just being crazy. Part of me wanted to tell them to sit down and be quiet. I wished for peace again. But then I remembered they're kids, and I decided to let them be noisy.
In fact, at one point Elizabeth and Joshua had wrapped Matthew up in a blanket and Elizabeth was carrying him around, saying she'd just found this "thing." I decided to be silly with them and I took Matthew from her. I said this thing might be dangerous and I was going to have to throw it out the window. Everyone laughed and I thought, "Yea! I did something right!"
Moments later Elizabeth and Joshua were carrying Matthew (still wrapped up) past me in the kitchen to take him outside. I said, "Hold on a minute! Don't take him out there like that." Joshua let out a loud wail and yelled something about me ruining their fun. And I thought, "There we go, now I did something wrong again!"
But we got past that incident and sat down for dinner. As we were eating I had the idea we ought do something active after dinner. Perhaps a walk. So I asked the kids, "Would you like to go for a walk after dinner?" Matthew said, "Can we go to the park and play on the playground?" I agreed to it, and the kids were happy.

As we were leaving Elizabeth put on her roller blades, Matthew hopped on his bike, and Joshua put his bike on the porch. I said, "You're not going to ride your bike?" He said he'd rather walk. I told him that was fine, but then he'd need to hold my hand. He smiled and reached for me.
Once we got to the playground, Elizabeth and Matthew were content to roll around the empty parking lot and Joshua and I went to the play equipment. We eventually ended up on the swings, having a spitting competition. Who could spit furthest? Joshua won. My first attempt ended up on my leg! I can't believe some of the things I'll admit to you that I've done!
We came home and the kids got going on showers without much prodding. Very unusual. And things went smoothly from then on.

As I've had some time to think about it, I realize I can enjoy peace not only when I'm alone by myself doing my own thing, but I can even be peaceful when I'm alone with my kids. I can choose to not get bent out of shape when they're being loud and crazy. (Lots of deep breathing really helps here!) I can choose to do things they want to do and find joy in the process. I can look for opportunities to be more child-like and less stuffy, and see pleasant looks of surprise in the eyes of my children. I truly had a peaceful night tonight. What a surprise!

I received one other surprise during the writing of this post. Brian came home with a piece of chocolate cheesecake for me! Oooo! A peice of peace, a piece of cheesecake. What a lucky girl I am!


Stephanie said...

Since having my own kids it's been so much harder to just let go and have fun with them since they expect it ALL the time. One day we were at church and I found the kids out in a puddle, soaked!!!! My first reaction was ... steam because it would be so messy cleaning up after them. The lady next to me laughed at how much fun they were having and I realized it's really not that big of a deal. I went out there to get them ready to go home and decided what the heck and took off my shoes and ran through the puddles with them. I'll never regret or forget how much fun it was just doing something simple with them and how much they enjoyed seeing me be a kid with them. It's a shame it doesn't happen more often.

Irritable Mother said...

Hi Stephanie!
"I realized it's really not that big of a deal." Coming to this realization can be my biggest hurdle. Good for you for playing in the puddle!!!

Amy Jane said...

This story makes me think of a revelation I had while also alone with my three children. It is a way to bless my husband.

It also (I believe) makes him feel better about himself to feel he has a competent wife-- not someone that needs rescuing from her own own family. Does that make sense?

Irritable Mother said...

Amy Jane,
Yes. That does make sense. The funny thing is, sometimes my kids get so crazy my husband and I look at each other with wide eyes and say something to the effect of, "We've got to get out of here!"
That is, we feel like we BOTH need rescuing...LOL