AMoment

As a young(er) mother, I daily struggled with the feeling that I should be doing something I wasn’t doing.

It wasn’t any one thing in particular. Just a nagging sense that I should be giving my energy to that, instead of this. Seems I spent altogether too much time recognizing the cost.

Because assembling toddler puzzles on the floor with my girl meant dirty dishes stayed spread across the kitchen counter.

Because throwing in a load of laundry meant acknowledging the laundry piles, and that slippery slope might keep me from playing with the kids for a good long time.

More days than I care to admit I turned toward the vacuum. Guilt.

Toward the children. Guilt.

Each decision for something meant a decision against something else.

Sometimes I ignored the nags and the myriad decisions and responded by receiving the moment. Acknowledging the gift of it, them, whatever came my way. I opened my hands and danced the dance of this minute into the next with thanks.

But many nights, reflecting across the hours, I wondered if I did what I was “supposed to do” that day.

As if there were some magic formula: laughing kids + sparkling sink + steaming bowl of soup on the range = success. Had I gotten it?

Or maybe the formula was changing? Was it different everyday?

I tried to crack the code.

And I still struggle here. Because for many of us, the right way seems an elusive somewhere out there, and we so badly want to get it right.

But I’m coming to believe there’s no code.

Yesterday, big girls at school, Lala and I puttered around the house.

I worked next to her on the couch while she watched Sesame Street.

I put the room of Christmas decorations into several boxes while I talked on the phone with a woman from church who recently lost her husband. Lala puttered in another room, playing school and arranging brightly colored plastic circles on a folding table.

I felt the guilt and asked if she wanted to do a puzzle, play a game with me, read a story, and she really didn’t. She was content. And it sort of freed me as I scrubbed the plates and lined them up in the dishwasher.

I thought again about trust and its ribbony arms through my life these days. How speaking out trust is such an antidote to my anxiety.

So I said aloud to God, I trust you.

I trust you.

I trust that this moment is where you have me.

And so is the next.

Then Lala came alongside and asked, “Can I help you?”

She climbed up on her kitchen stool, and we talked about what needs to be hand washed and how to place the scalloped bowls on the top rack so the water can spray them clean.

We talked rhyming words and outside the snowflakes fell.

Light and easy. With plenty of spaces between.

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