A few minutes ago they were all crying. Loud sobs, soft whimpers, moderate sniffles- all four of my children were in tears all at once.
Two needed hugs. Long, staying hugs. Just silent "Hey buddy, I'm here for you. Waking up from naps is hard." One needed a snack. Another needed a snack when he saw the other get a snack. In the same bowl. No, the EXACT same bowl. Red. Yes, thank you. The fourth needed to be picked up, kisses gently placed on her velvety soft head and assurances of, "It's going to be okay. Mommy's here."
One is still crying even after I type- long after my crying diagnosis and prescriptive hugs were performed- because he was informed that he must assemble his 200 piece dinosaur puzzle before he could have any screen time. He's feeling the unfairness of this keenly, deeply, and with a cry that is best left untreated.
But back to the point- they were all crying at the same time. And there was still just one of me. One. Pleasant rain fell in sheets outside, quite in contrast to the unpleasant tears falling inside. These sheets of rain effectively were keeping me prisoner in this cell where there is crying. Oh so much crying. No parole. Just snacks. In the red bowl. The RED bowl.
Like bloodhounds, they always seem to find me. With a scent for "MOMMY" and an obsessive need to ALWAYS know where I am (except when I want to find them. Oh no, then, THEN they are escape artists).
But where were we? Ah yes, the tears.
There are days when this just seems too much, too hard, and I spend the day too close to tears myself. Some days. But not today.
Today I gave hugs, administered kisses, and felt no angst over all the crying. Today, I was thankful. A thankfulness that ran deep that couldn't be shaken with frustration. Thankfulness like a field of blooming wildflowers, watered slowly and thoroughly by the gentle rain outside. Thankfulness.
A few minutes before all the crying, I logged onto facebook. Not able to escape my attention was a news article about a friend of a friend. I do not know them personally, but I read in horror how their entire family was in truly horrendous car accident and their van was engulfed with flames and their entire family, including three very small children (not unlike my own) are all gone. Gone. Just like that.
Completely strangers who suddenly I can't stop thinking about. Their life- their loss- their love.
This type of take-my-breath-away tragedy tends to bring life sharply back into focus. The unimportant things are blurred and faded to the background. The things that are true, are right, are worth my all stay clear and focused right in front of me.
Things like crying. And the children who need me oh so very badly. I get to be needed. I get to kiss away my children's tears. I get to hug their soft bodies and feel their breath whisper against my cheek. I get to move on from the moment of "they're all crying at once!" and continue life with my beautiful, oh so very tiny children- oh so wonderful children- who all need so intensely.
Why me? Why not them?
This is a temporary gift. This is a privilege. And it's not lost on me.
There are days when I get overwhelmed by the frustration. The CRYING. The need for the RED BOWL. "HE GOT MORE THAN ME!"s and the struggle to teach these little messes how to be legit human beings. It is hard. Hard.
But in the midst of all the toughness is my field of wildflowers- beauty all around me. Colors, oh so many colors- subtle pinks, cheerful yellows, exciting reds, enticing blues, rich purples, pure whites. There is so much beauty around me that can grow out of the hardest of soils- watered by the consistent and pleasant rain much like the rain falling outside my window.
And so I am thankful- deeply thankful- for today. And for crying.
Now if you will excuse me, now I get to go slide a culinary masterpiece in the oven (frozen pizza) because this morning the kids had VBS at church and they are so tired and I am so tired (thus all the crying after naps that just weren't long enough) and pretty soon RED bowl will need to be replaced with John Deere tractor plates and delicious pizza that they don't even care that I didn't make it from scratch. They are kind like that.
Oh and more hugs. Because "quiet play time" has grown into "He took my truck!" "She knocked over my tower!" and the classic "HE'S TOUCHING ME!!!! MAKE IT STOP!!!"
Thanks for the ten minutes, kiddos. (I figure if I can't find time to sit down and formulate long, official, blog posts, snippets here and there might be acceptable. Yes?)
Praying for those who have lost friends and loved ones. Praying for so much hurt all around. It is truly sobering.