I had plans this morning. Definitive plans. I was going to get up, get the kids ready, and drive to post to (finally) jump back into the women’s fellowship group at the Post Chapel. I had it all planned out in my head. I knew we’d be rushing, I knew it would be tight. Getting four kids out the door to make it twenty minutes away by nine is always tight. But I had plans to do it.
They, however, had other plans. They ate their breakfast slower than molasses in January and talked so much! I kept reminding them to eat quickly, but it did no good. Finally, after finishing, we ran (correction, I ran while they meandered) upstairs to get dressed. I asked my oldest to do the five year old’s hair and the seven year old to put her hair in a pony tail. After getting myself ready, I came out to find the five year old in lounge pants and shirt playing outside with her now soaked brother and the seven year old playing in the hallway…hair undone. “Mommy, I just really want you to do my hair.” Their backpacks were not packed and the diaper bag still needed loading. I felt my body tensing up and could hear my voice rising. “Let’s go! We have to hurry up or we will be late.” Still, crises kept occurring and kids kept slowing down.
And then I realized it. I could yell and scream us out the door. That would definitely have gotten everyone moving a lot faster. Bags would have been packed, shoes finally put on, and hair done. To the constant sound of Mommy yelling. But we would have gotten to my fellowship group on time. Or we could just change plans. Instead of yelling, I could simply accept that, while they were doing (mostly) they best they could, we just needed to shift gears. I could just admit we were not going it to make it this week–and that’s ok. Maybe instead of rushing out the door, I thought, we simply need some quality time as a family.
I struggle with changing plans last minute. I’m a person who thrives on consistency and routine. I need something on the calendar ahead of time so I can mentally prepare. I am not a spontaneous person with my schedule. So this morning was really good for me; it taught me to bend a little. Reminded me of the grace to be found in being flexible.
Instead of heading into the post, we drove to the library. As my nine year old entertained the youngest two and the seven year old worked on schoolwork, I was able to slowly peruse the stacks for some books. I came back with a handful. We headed into the children’s area, where the kids settled into playing, reading, and searching for their own books. My nine year old grabbed a stack of National Geographics and began reading; I love watching her interest in science and specifically oceanography deepen. My five and seven year old started picking princess books. I looked over to see my little dude making friends with a few other toddlers by the toys.
Unexpectedly, my friend showed up and joined us. As the children mostly entertained themselves, we took turns picking out (more) books for ourselves and chatting. It was so nice and so relaxing just sitting together.
And of course we couldn’t let the morning pass without a rite of passage. In our house, it’s a huge deal to get your own library card. My sweet Anne (the five year old) has been asking since we moved here to have her own card. But, she wasn’t quite old enough. This morning, while she was choosing her last few books to put in the bag, I decided it was time. I took her over to the Circulation desk and she got her very own library card. She was thrilled!
We moved the party to Chik-fil-a for awhile and the kids played some more. My friend and I continued to chat and sometimes just lapsed into silence. And I had a thought. You know you’ve got a great friend when the silence isn’t awkward;l, that it’s just nice to sit together and not feel the pressure to fill the void with forced words.
God taught me a good lesson today. Find grace in flexibility and He will bless you abundantly. In listening to four sweet voices, I realized we needed to slow down and just be together. I need to just not feel the pressure to fill the void, and God will fill it with His blessings. There’s always next Tuesday to try to jump back into other things. Today, I just sat back and let Him lead. And what a beautiful morning He gave me.