A few weeks ago the speaker on the DVD message we always watch said something that encouraged me although the statement in itself isn't really that encouraging. She said that studies have found that people working jobs with projects that have a set beginning and clear ending are usually more satisfied than people in more open-ended positions with projects or issues that never really resolve.
This is another reason why, she was saying, we as moms can feel especially drained. There are always more dishes to be done and more toys to be cleaned up. Our kids are very long works in progress. It's not as if we discipline them and - poof! - that issue never comes up again. Parenting can be a very tedious process.
I think a number of the ladies there that day kind of breathed out a sigh of relief with that one. The whole thing made so much sense. Parenting is an 18-year (Oh, who am I kidding? It's a lifetime) job. Of course it can be draining to do and do and do and not always see the results of anything you do for a very long time...or to do and do, only to have it all quickly undone.
The other day we were visiting with relatives we don't see very often and after awhile the kids decided if they had a captive and adoring audience, they were going to milk it for all it was worth. Or, at least Anna decided that, and Ethan followed along. The last 20 minutes of our stay included hitting, throwing of objects, screeching, tattling, and of course, crying.
By the ride home, I was DONE. The kids asked for their XM radio station and I purposely turned the dial to my favorite stations. Sometimes my selfish side very necessarily rises up and I tire of my universe constantly rotating around my children. Sometimes I just want 20 minutes to listen to a song I like. Sometimes I want to know that the words and consequences we speak and give to our children are making a difference.
After the kids had gone to bed, I calmed down a bit. I wandered over to the trays of seeds we have balancing precariously on wobbly TV trays in the dining room. We planted them last week; mostly herbs. I told the kids not to expect anything to sprout up for at least 10 days.
Then I saw. I had to lean over and peer very closely to see them: the first two shoots, popping up above the soil.
One for Anna; one for Ethan.
I remembered again the potential that is always there even when we can't see the work happening.
I remembered how patient God is with me, an imperfect vessel.
I remembered that tomorrow would be another day.
And then I let it go.
slow to anger and abounding in love." -- Nehemiah 9:17