Oh December, what a way to start!
Today held moments of wonder, peace, stillness; and moments of stretching and exhaustion.
I felt like we found that wrinkle in time that rewound the weeks and landed us in early autumn. It felt like a late September day. We shed our snow attire and donned our lighter jackets. The clouds floated overhead, the blue sky unbelievably vivid. The girls and I wandered to the lake equipped with buckets and shovels, expecting some good clothe soaking play. The temperature was warm, the day enchanting.
We tossed hats and shoes to the ground and lifted our faces to the sun. Toes in the rocks, warm wind on our skin, peace. Each of us, caught up in our own minds for the first few moments soaking in the scene in our individual ways. Then together, collaborating to build and create and enjoy.
I sat with my back against a rock, knees hugged to my chest, book in hand and asked Blythe if I should read aloud. She nodded yes (she’s very truthful with her “yes” and “no” these days). I read words that hugged my soul, pausing every few sentences to engage in a play of imagination or save a toddler from a splash into the lake. God felt so near.
Time passed quickly and we lingered beyond our comfortable departure time. When we finally started home, I could feel our happy afternoon foundation start to crumble. Isn’t if funny how the body seems to have limitless energy for play, but very little for the trudge back? Wet clothes that don’t seem to feel quite right, pebbles in the shoes, hungry bodies, tired and cold limbs, and an uphill hike home make for a fairly steep mind-mountain to summit. In my brain I kept thinking, “It’s not that far. We’ll be home soon.”
An easy 1/2 mile downhill with two girls walking with enthusiasm to reach the lake, is much different than pushing a double stroller up said hill with two wet bodies and remnants of mud play in tow. At one point I stopped to take the girls out of the stroller so I could lift it over a tree that had fallen over the road. Libbi, barefoot, walked under the tree and through the puddles to the other side. I helped Blythe duck under the tree and when I assumed she was safely near her sister, I proceeded to wrangle the stroller over the log. With the stroller balancing on the log while I straddled it to cross myself, I looked over and saw Blythe had fallen in a puddle and was unable to get up. Between eagerly demanding that Libbi help her sister (with tones less gracious than I care to admit), Libbi frozen in place with cold and confusion, and me wrestling this muddy stroller over the log, I felt it was quite the scene. The toddler cried, the three year old wined, the mother seethed.
I’m sure the sun was still shining, the clouds were still dancing, and the sky was still vibrant blue; but I didn’t notice. Why do I lose my mind in these situations? I felt like crying out in my discomfort and taxation as well. Maybe it’s that I feel helpless to alleviate the discomforts of my children in those moments, or the guilt that it was my choice of staying longer that pushed us all over the edge, or hunger taking its toll. One of my motherhood mottos came to mind: “This is mine to do. Be faithful.” I don’t need to be rescued. Do not let the beauty of this day be lost in the discomfort of one moment.
I pressed on with determination to get us home as soon as possible. My dear Blythe cried at me, aching for her nap with the added twinge of hunger. Libbi looked at me and whimpered, “Mommy, my feet are cold.” As we neared home, the crying lessened. Libbi said, “Mommy, how about we take a bath, make some tea, and then watch the Baking Show?” I smiled with a sense of relief. “That sounds very nice,” I said. What a little dear she is! Libbi knew how to adjust our story.
We collected our soaking items and walked ourselves up the stairs and into a warm house. Bath, lunch (a bit rushed and at a late hour), naps, tea, a movie and books nurtured us into balance again.
Was the adventure worth it?
One of the books I’m reading for Advent connected the dots for me. The word “advent” is the beginning of the word “adventure.”
“The knights in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur say to one another, ‘Let us take the adventure that God sends us,’ recognizing that the God in whom we live and move and have our being may come and meet us when and where he pleases, and any door we open may be the door to the ‘chapel perilous.'”Waiting on The Word by Malcolm Guite
And yesterday I read an idea from Elisabth Elliot that has been ringing in my mind, “Nothing that comes to me is devoid of divine purpose. In seeking to see the whole with God’s eyes, we can find the peace which human events so often destroy.”
Today happened exactly as it needed to. Upon reflection, the peace was made the sweeter by the battle of the temperaments overcome. Our day contained moments of beauty and moments of growth–both added richness.
I come around again and must conclude–the Advent-ure is always worth it.
If getting messy and cold and staying outdoors (too long) and making memories with my girls feels like “too much,” perhaps I am focusing on one too many things that don’t really matter.
With warm baths, hot tea and cozy occupations to greet you afterward, who can resist?
I hope your Advent season is full of such adventures.
Lachelle has a love for writing and holistic health. MBA, 500RYT Yoga Instructor, founder of Ello Lifestyle and Ello Candle Co., Lachelle spends most of her time as a wife and mother to two daughters, looking for ways to optimize health, create an efficiently running home, embrace the chaos, and pursue those things that make life feel enchanted.