Saturday, July 21, 2012

grace-based birthdaying

Ran to the Happiest Place on Earth last night with my two girls.  Yes, the very evening of Hummus Girl's birthday, to buy her birthday dessert for tonight's party.  Was open to the idea of making something myself, but as it has been no less than 643 degrees for the past three weeks, and I want to use my oven like I want a hole in the head, I went for the lazy grace-based alternative.

If you're like me, parenting, especially adoptive parenting, has a way of setting us up for inevitable failure in our own minds.  Pinterest, Etsy, all the countless gifted photographer/bloggers, jewelry designers, cakes and craft projects that belong in a museum, hand-crocheted underwear, and the like...

...can anyone say inferiority complex???

This is something I have really, deeply struggled with.  But you know, one beautiful result of this past year with all its challenges is more grace, from myself, to myself.  Or rather, from Father God to me, in a way that I can truly understand and access daily.  Why should I scorn His love by holding myself to a higher standard than He does???  That's a profound question worthy of a whole book. 

I had every intention of home schooling all of my children.  I greatly admire those who do, especially those with Many Small Children.  But late last summer I simply wasn't coping and I knew I needed some help.  Preschool three days a week for Hummus Girl turned out to be a huge blessing, one I was initially so hesitant about.  This fall she will be headed to Kindergarten at a small Christian school, and Princess Firecracker will attend preschool.  Quite frankly, I'm looking forward to Shu being old enough to go.  I think the structure as well as being under the leadership of someone other than Mommy, The Speech Drill Sergeant will be great for him.  Don't know that he's ready for that just yet, but he will be in another year.  I'm still home schooling Absent-Minded Professor, and that's just perfect for us both. 

I had to lower my expectation of myself  that I could teach them all, keep them all happy and creatively engaged and entertained, while keeping the house clean, dinner cooked, and myself regularly showered.  Might I feel differently in a few years?  Maybe.  In the mean time I feel great peace about sending the girlies off to school in a month.

Sometimes we eat frozen burritos.  And sometimes I make homemade spanikopita (it is worth noting, however, that was a good six months before adopting Shu, and though it tasted amazing, it was a ton of work that I will not be attempting again any time soon).  I'm not saying you never go the extra mile to create beautiful moments or events or gifts or meals.  I just think we should all do it with the right motive:  because it brings joy not only to the beneficiary, but is also life-giving to us!  If it's out of sheer obligation or primarily to preserve a false illusion of reputation?  Ugh.  Why bother?  At the ripe old age of 38.5 I'm finally learning there are...gasp...a few things that just are not fun for me, that I stink at, or that I simply don't have time for.  For example, I have been tremendously blessed by friends bringing meals after the births of our children.  What a great gift!  And I've done it a good number of times for others.  Every time, I felt stressed and anxious...until finally, Dr. Husband suggested that perhaps meal ministry lay outside my area of gifting and I should find another way to help a new mom.  See, I admit I'm not a great cook.  I don't really enjoy cooking for my own family much of the time, truth be told.  They're fed, and they're healthy, but it's not usually a passion or a pleasure for me.  So could I bring y'all a pizza or a gift card?  You bet!  But a nice home-cooked meal?  I'd actually prefer to come over and breastfeed your baby at 3 a.m.
Do my girls care whether their cake was homemade and prize-winning?  Heck, no.  Letting myself off the hook and buying that cookie cake was just a simple, ordinary event, but it felt to me like a red-letter, bold-type memo of grace. 

I'll cc you, if you like.  


Stephanie said...

I hear ya and I'm right there with ya, my friend. Living in the land of GRACE and trying to wear blinders so I don't fall into the trap of comparison.

ysexton said...

Grace to you! In fact, I am always in complete awe of ALL you accomplish as a mom, wife, and woman of God, so you have NOTHING to be embarrassed about!!
You go, girl!

Christina said...

Well said and THANK YOU. I think we all have our areas of not stacking up and our huge need of grace.

thewonderfulhappens said...

So true! And if it makes you feel any better, I really considered finding a full-time job 6 months after matthew came home. I thought we would both be better off away from each other for 40 hours/week!! My only saving grace was that I was too lazy to look for said full-time job :)