Monday, August 8, 2016

I Must Be Doing Something Right

Standing at the kitchen sink with soapsuds up to my elbows, I look out the window and see a little boy under a tree. He has a lapboard and a bucket of crayons. He’s laying on his stomach with his feet up in the air. A curious cat —that thinks it’s a dog —came to investigate him and he scratches it gently, now behind its ears, now under its chin.

I must be doing something right.

I’m sweeping the kitchen floor and stop by the back door window. I wipe sweat from my forehead; it’s summer. I watch a little girl run and leap grabbing hold of a bright yellow trapeze bar. It was new just this spring. I remember that first day; she was terrified to sit on it, afraid she’d fall. Now her young body is stronger and her confidence level is high. She hangs upside-down and hooks her legs over the bar. In an instant, she’s up! And then down again, hanging just by the knees.

I must be doing something right.

The hum of my sewing machine stops. I look at the bed behind me. A little boy is there; he is supposed to be sleeping. Instead, I see his round brown head bent over a book. It’s an old book, a reader printed in 1929; it was my grandma’s. “I know this story, Mama! The one where the pig is building a house.” He can’t read yet, but the book holds his interest a good long while before he surrenders to sleep.

I must be doing something right.

The backdoor slams. Again. I hear the pitter patter of little feet racing toward me. “Mom! Mom! Guess what!” It’s my four-year-old prancing, his eyes shining with excitement. “I counted to 100 without saying ‘one, two, skip-a-few, 99, 100!’” He had been getting tangled up in the teens and hadn’t quite made it to twenty, but once there it is easy to keep on going right up to a hundred.

I must be doing something right.

I’m collapsed in my bed. It’s only one in the afternoon, but I’m not feeling well. A little boy wearing brown knit shorts, an imitation tiger tooth necklace, a feather headband, and warpaint comes running in to me. “I’m an Indian boy,” he says as he leans his whole body against me, “and I live here with you in Indiana.” His shining eyes sparkle as he shares this intimacy with me. He kisses my cheek and runs off again.

I must be doing something right.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

Not every day is perfect. There are still times I have a child dissolve into a sobbing pile of snot because I dared to leave him with daddy while I drove five minutes across town to cast my ballot in the local election. True story. But within the midst of the mundane (and sometimes the frustrating) there are glimpses of perfection. They are gifts from Above reminding me that this life I lead, this work I am doing, is worth something. The work I am doing, the boring, hard, insufferable, joyous work, is right. I am doing something right. It’s right for me and right for my family. And I am blessed because of it!

This article was originally published in September 2014 by Home & School Mosaics.

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