Friday, August 15, 2014

A Note to my 22 Year Old Self

(Written Spring of 2014)

The Coach and I were recently discussing the fact (or I was, anyway - he was listening) that I have fallen a long way in the housekeeping/homemaking department as a wife and mom.

It's bad.

I know this.  But I live in denial a great deal of the time.

Because who wants to think about how dirty one's house is?  Or how disorganized?  Or how totally out of control every. single. drawer. and cabinet are?


But the Coach and I?  Decided that to find the humor in the situation, we only needed to look as far as my 22 year old, mother of one, homemaker self.

Because that girl?  She could keep house like a boss!

The sheets were washed weekly.  Weekly!  I can't even imagine that one.

The bathroom was always spotless.

The floors were always clean.

The windows were washed regularly - at least Spring and Fall, or when needed.

The laundry was always caught up, neatly folded, put away, and ironing never piled up.

The fridge stayed clean and shiny.  And although it wasn't full of food, as a rule, what food was in there was healthy.

I could go on.

So here's a note to my 22 year old self.  Mother of one.  Married a year or so.  OCD in all things domestic.

"You're doing a great job, Girl!  Navigating marriage, learning to love your husband and communicate with him.  Serving him whole-heartedly and the house?  It's clean.  I mean CLEAN.  Good for you!  The flower beds are lovely - and I know you enjoy spending Saturdays with your Coach working outside in the yard.  Because on Saturday the laundry is already caught up and the house is clean because you've been doing that all week long!

Enjoy it.

Love every newly-wed, brand new baby, all things are exciting and fresh and sunshiny, minute of it.
It won't last.

Someday, you'll look back and think, Wow.  A clean house.  What's that?  You'll be juggling schedules and school for eight, and sports seasons (for your own kids, not just your husband's coaching).  There will be eight people dependent on you instead of just one tiny baby.  The house will be bigger (because that tiny baby - he'll grow into a big ole MAN - bigger than his daddy) because you will fill it up with eight kids who will soon (at least half of them) be young adults and young adults clothes are a lot bigger than baby clothes.

There won't be anymore diapers or bottles.  But there will be cars and drivers licenses and JSB dresses and dates.  There will be smart phones and internet to navigate (not just dial up email).
Someday, you and your new hubby won't be able to take naps on Sunday afternoons while the baby naps.  Because big kids don't nap.  And they are noisy.

"But even without the little, clean, perfectly organized house, you know what you will have?
OH if I could only show you.

"Almost 20 years with your Coach will be more amazing than you can imagine!  You will truly experiences oneness and a closeness that at 22 you can't even dream of.  You will be able to read each other's thoughts and when big decisions come?  You'll often have the same exact idea about what needs to be done.  And you won't for one. single. second. want to go back to those quiet, happy, newly wed days.  Because forty somethings who have been married 20 years?  They know what marriage is all about.

"And in place of the time spent keeping a perfect house?  You'll have games and programs and you'll be able to hang with your big kids and you'll actually be able to walk out of the door almost any time without needing a baby sitter.  It's awesome, trust me.

"Yes, the laundry piles will be a permanent fixture on the hearth and you'll have to go to the grocery store almost daily to keep up with the appetites of four teens, but you won't miss the quiet.  Because you'll have the quiet - sometimes - during the day - when everyone is at school and it's just you and the parakeet at home (yes, you'll have a parakeet - but that's not the half of it).

"I know, I know, the grass won't grow under the swing set and the garage will be so full of bikes and scooters that you can't get around the car (you'll have a mini-van, too, and you will LOVE it!), and the eight lockers that hold back packs and shoes and gym bags WILL overflow onto the garage floor and you'll trip when you go out there early in the morning to get another loaf of bread out of the freezer to make those 9 lunches.

"But watching them all ride bikes (hard to imagine, isn't it?) and run and play and catch footballs and ride ripsticks down the street?  The messy garage won't seem to really matter.  And when it does?  You can have the kids there to clean it up.

"They'll be able to do the dishes and make dinner, too.  Fold laundry and clean their own rooms.  But it won't always get done. Things will be a mess.

"And you'll love it.  And wish for these days to last forever.  But they won't.  Because that tiny, first-born little guy that naps twice a day and takes all of your time?  He'll be graduating from high school before you know it and heading off on the next adventure.  They'll all be leaving as quickly as they came.

"So love on your Coach and kiss that baby and take a nap!  Life is only going to get better."

If I only I could have imagined the JOY and noise and fun and MESS that life would hold.  These are blessed, chaotic days and I wouldn't go back for anything.  Well.  Except maybe for the clean sheets.  I miss those.

Here we go again. . .

I've always said I'd be happy to have my kids home all day every day if I didn't have to teach them anything.  A teacher, I'm not.  I'm honest enough to admit it.  Just ask the Coach.  I can organize and plan and cook and clean and schedule babies/naps and watch the kids ride scooters, but teaching is not only not my thing, I'm really REALLY terrible at it.

And although I'm sad to see the lazy days and empty calendar squares (few as they have been) go by the wayside. . .

It's time.

Time for more of a schedule.  For less sleeping until 10 (the kids, not me - ha!), for fewer late nights and old movies and snow cones.

It's been a busy, fast, hectic Summer, but it's been SUMMER.  Full of travels and mission trips and workouts.  Of saying goodbye and saying welcome home (and LOTS of trips to the airport - ha!), and sharing memories and stories and seeing what GOD WILL DO in the hearts of men.

I wouldn't have said, two weeks ago, that I was ready for Summer to end.  I wanted it to go on forever.  But something about daily volleyball practice and school clothes shopping and endless school supplies has pushed me over the edge.  Well.  That and two-a-days for the Coach which means I not only don't see him much, but he is one very tired guy.

Since the notebooks are all over the living room until school starts?  Let's get going, then.

When we walked into those halls to meet teachers and see classrooms and renew school friendships?

My heart sang.

Yes, I'd still keep them all home with me if I could.  Maybe.  But that wouldn't be best for them OR for me.  Because these sweet people that plan and prepare and pour their hearts (and JESUS) into our kids?  Are a treasure.  They have a gift for teaching that I don't have.

My Coach is one of them.  How I love him.

I feel like I'm at the top of a BIG roller coaster hill looking down on High school football (we don't have a player this year, but you can bet we'll be there!) and Jr. High football and Varsity Volleyball and 7th grade volleyball. . . games four nights a week and MUCH less time with my Coach. . .

But it's time.

The troops are ready.  This momma is ready.  And I can't wait to see what this year will hold.

Did I mention that Son (#1) is moving to Atlanta for the school year?  Maybe that's another post for another day.

So maybe, after all, the preparations and work it takes to get ready for a new school year are just the thing to get my heart ready to jump back in, again.

May all of you sweet teachers preparing for the school year have God's grace and strength (thank you seems so inadequate).  May all of you precious mommas getting ready to send your dear ones off to school have grace and strength.  And if you homeschool?  I have no words.  Only admiration.

Excuse me while I go enjoy the last free Friday afternoon and evening that we will have for QUITE sometime.  Well.  At least until March.  Ha!