Mostly, the sun's predictions were correct; the day was wonderful. The first day of Christmas break, with all of my kids home at the same time, without schedules or commitments or the need to remove our pajamas until lunch time. In fact, the only reason we ventured out at all was for a fun play date. Nothing marred the day's happiness.
But the sun's foresight hadn't reached all the way into the evening.
Justin's forced absence for work meetings left me floundering. It was only for a few hours, but wouldn't you agree that bedtime is the most inopportune time to be tackling children alone? The baby wouldn't nap for his last burst of sleepiness, instead opting to cry for a few weary hours. The girls opted to make a pallet on their bedroom floor and celebrate Christmas vacation with a camp-out. I opted to let them. Despite strict instructions to not bother me while I put Landon to bed, they wrestled and argued and tattled and fussed while I tried to console the baby in the next room.
And while Landon was crying and not nursing himself to sleep because he's developed a recent aversion to comfort nursing of any sort, I wondered:
What would happen if one day, I could suddenly see all that lay before me of the day's possibilities? What if I saw all the frustrations mounting into piles of categorized stress? How would I have the strength to push myself headlong into the maelstrom of swirling wildness that is my family? Would it be possible to embrace the parts that would send me shivering and fearful into a corner, until I was certain that someone -- anyone -- would arrive to help me get through the rough patches?
What would I do, or change, if I knew beforehand that someone would come thisclose to falling on the baby as he lay on the kitchen rug before dinner? What would I feel if I was guaranteed an evening of crying and arguing? How would I cope with the promise of milk spraying into my angry infant's face as he works through whatever nursing issues are plaguing us?
And I don't know the answer.
Or maybe I do: I wouldn't do anything differently. (Well, I would probably move the baby out of the middle of the busy kitchen floor.) Because if I were allowed to see all the wildness that was bounding in my direction, I know what else I'd see.
In the magic mirror or gazing ball or sepulchral premonition of my warning, there would also have been proof of happiness. So, not so sepulchral after all.
I would see Mia asking her little sister to tell her a bedtime story. (Because Lauren's stories are, beyond compare, the most imaginative, nonsensically entertaining things you'll ever hear.) I would see the lit-up faces of two little girls who'd just been granted permission for a camp-out. I would see my sweet baby boy almost laughing in the middle of a giant grin. I would see exhaustion kick in long enough for him to gaze at me with relief as he finally understood that a latch and a suckle were good things to strive for. I would see a mom inhaling the moments and the expressions and the sights of the family she loves.
It's all intertwined in an imperfect braid of life. Strands are tangled and fallen and sometimes too slippery-beautiful for their own good, but the braid -- at the center of its woven heart -- is glorious. Shining and strong and glorious.
So no matter what the sun promises or how I interpret the day's forecast, I know this:
It will be beautiful.
And probably a bit sticky.
We're seeing the Bigger Picture through simple moments -- moments that force us to stop and take notice of the ways our worlds are important, meaningful, and beautiful. Please join us here today! Grab the button, link up, and read a few others to encourage them as they walk this journey of intentional living.