There you go, working good from my bad
There you go, making robes from my rags
There you go, melting crowns from my calves
There you go, working good of all I have
Till all I have is not that bad.
-Caedmon’s Call, “There You Go”
I am bone tired. This work of caring for the Little Ones is hard work. It is all consuming, and refining. At this point my daily task is triage: managing whatever need is most pressing. It is delicate, often, to understand priority.
Today went something like this: home from the grocery store, the drive a bit long for all, Littlest wanting to nurse and punctuating our drive with cries to let us know. Into the house we go, arms full of Little Ones and cold groceries. Get the salmon and yogurt in the fridge – all else can wait. Scoop up the Littlest, new diaper and then to the breast. Another new diaper. Feuding bigger kids, screams demanding intervention. Half dressed Littlest goes into the swing to deal with the escalating tantrum of the Eldest: show down. Finish up that diaper change. Middlest in potty crisis necessitating new underwear. Back to the breast. Burp, burp — uh oh! Spit up everywhere: couch, my shirt, my pants, soaked through to my underwear; new outfits for Littlest and me. Gather the laundry, scoop the detergent, lid closed on the machine. Did I mention it’s lunchtime? Hungry Little Ones, and the rest of the groceries are still in the car. On it goes, a full hour since we’ve been home, and I’m finally putting the last box of rice away.
The needs are pressing and persistent. Somewhere in there I find time to slather a piece of french bread with peanut butter, and pee.
We’ve been stuck together, in this space, for some time as we’ve battled sickness in the midst of life with a newborn. My mom suggested a few fun ideas that might freshen up our playtime: an indoor beach picnic, for instance. I nodded, loving the thought of it all, but knowing deep in my body that I do not have what it takes right now to orchestrate even that. So we stick with the old favorites: we read, we color, we breath and we move on.
This season for me is about offering up what little I have, in faith. Faith that my love is communicated in the daily chores of mothering. Faith that these seeds are being planted, to sprout with fullness in due time. Faith that this work is forming beauty and rightness and tender love deep in my heart, in their hearts. My offering is this tired body, it is my less-than-enthusiastic make believe games. It is my voice reading to the Little Ones, less dramatically than it was last week. It is days in pajamas, and one too many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I offer it all, giving more fully than I knew I was capable. It is received, and redeemed. I know it is made better, more full. I am certain that my Little Ones will know this desperate love that I carry for them, as they will know the burning love of the One who redeems it all.
This work is refining. This work is humbling. This work is revealing. It is beautifying, and mystifying. I give it all as my prayer, my living sacrifice.