Tonight after dinner, I had a good natural consequences/learning moment with my 6 year old son, who came down from his shower and told me that he had made a poor choice, that he would eat his squash because he was sorry now that the he had watched the others eat cupcakes. He had tears in his eyes and I looked at him calmly and said, I know how hard this is. I have put your cupcake in the fridge, and you can try again with your vegetables tomorrow, but for tonight the kitchen is closed. Shall we go and read a story? I was thinking of Texas Mommy, who, I am told, disciplines her boys firmly and graciously. I wish she lived closer so that I could see her in action.
Tonight my 6 month old son had a wet diaper, which right now is a triumph because it means that my nursing is going a bit better, and I was thankful for the cloth diapers which allow me to keep better track of his output. I have been eating and drinking mindfully, thinking of Red, who believes that mothers need to take good care of themselves so that they can take care of their children.
Tonight when my three year old son poked his head in, up and out of his bed, to ask just one more question, instead of yelling to go back to bed, I told him to snuggle up with us for the end of the big kids story, then I would take him back and tuck him in. I was thinking of Kat, who makes an effort to be gentle and kind to her children.
Tonight I read aloud the last chapter of The Secret Garden and we rejoiced together as Colin and his father walked across the lawn. Then I tucked the boys into bed and snuggled up with my 5 year old daughter, who read aloud to me from a Magic Tree House book. She finished her first one tonight and is so proud and excited to print out her passport stamp in the morning. This is a great way to close up her school year, it is an amazing thing to watch a child learn to read and to love reading. Honestly, this was the real me, there is nothing I love more than reading with my children.
Tonight while I switched a load of laundry, I noticed that the floor between the machines was all filthy. Sometime, years ago perhaps, someone spilled a lot of detergent between the machines, and since then dust and debris have been collecting there, stuck to the floor. Now, I was thinking of B-Mama (minus the bleach), as I pushed the machines apart, got down on my hands and knees with rubber gloves and rags and cleaned the floor.
Later tonight, when I stare at the computer to write my quarterly report, I will think of Juris Mater, who begins her professional work at the end of a full day of mothering.
There have been times in my life when housework has seemed like drudgery, when disgusting tasks like this one have seemed deeming, but tonight all I could think was, does it get any better than this? For the first time in my life I am making a home in a place that will house my family for more than a period of months. I have five healthy, loving, hard working children asleep in their beds. I have a husband who, in order to make all this possible, will get on a train to come home long after the sun has gone down, but he will ride it looking forward to coming into his home, to greeting his children at breakfast in the morning, to getting up and doing it all over again tomorrow, because, as he has said, that is what dads do. As I parent on my own for long days, I think of AWOL Mommy, whose husband has to go away to do his work.
In my home, learning is an atmosphere and we are all learning so much from one another. My job is to be like the Virgin Mary in this household, to work quietly to encourage them to be Christ to one another. I have found a place where Heaven and Earth meet, I couldn't be more surprised to tell you, on a cul-de-sac in New Jersey.