Bedtime.

Most evenings, we have a version of World War III in our house. Somehow it is a surprise every night that we have to walk up the stairs to get ready for bed. It is a surprise every night that we don’t need to take the stapler and sharpies upstairs with us. It is a surprise every night that we change into pjs. It is a surprise every night that we use the potty and brush our teeth.

With these “surprises” come frustrations and attitudes (not just the kids, hello). My kids who, at 7:29, are running around like banshees and jumping from the coffee table to the couch and act like they have Red Bull running through their veins suddenly drop like flies at 7:30 when we announce that it’s time for bed. Their legs are BROKEN. They absolutely cannot walk up those godforsaken stairs that are only rivaled by scaling Mount Everest. After running a marathon. Once we reach the summit (insert spanking warnings here. And maybe three other times before here.) we approach the agonizing task of changing clothes. I have one kid who is the people-pleaser and has been changed, used the toilet and brushed her teeth already. So she’s busying herself picking out clothes for the next day. While she’s doing that, I’m trying to understand why my son still has one sneaker on that should have come off three hours prior when we walked in the door from the park. Just one sneaker. And he is falling apart because he cannot find his pjs, they have disappeared. “Levi, take your shoe off.” “I don’t know where my pjs are!” “I’ll find them, just take your shoe off.” “Where are my Pokemon cards?” “Levi, they are downstairs. Put your pjs on- -“ “I CAN’T FIND THEM!!!!!! I’VE LOOKED EVERYWHERE!!!!!” “Okay, chill out. I will find them. Take your shoe off.” Then I suddenly realize I’m being called “Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Moooom. Mom. Mom. MOOOM. MOOOMMMM!!!” “YES?!” “What is the temperature for tomorrow?” “I have no idea. Levi take your shoe off!” “But I need to know what the temperature will be. I want to know if I can wear a dress or shorts or – -“ “Mom! Where are my pokemon cards?” “—or if I need to wear leggings or if I should wear sandals or- “ “Levi PUT YOUR PJS ON!” “- or boots or my Chucks.” “I CAN’T FIND MY PJS!!!!!!!!!!” And I am currently hog-tying my three year old to brush her teeth on the floor while she is screaming so loud that the neighborhood Chihuahuas, Henry and Willie, are freaking out across the street. “OH MY GOSH just get NEW PJS before I lose my mind!” “Mom, whats the temperature for tomorrow?”

It is an absolute wonder how I am able to function after this point. Somehow we make it through the pjs and the toothbrushing and the potty-ing. I go tuck in the baby, and by “tuck in” I mean: turn her sound machine on, her lights off, snuggle her with her paci and bunny, lay her down and walk out the door. (Parents of babies- enjoy. Your time is coming.) I come back to sing and read to Capely, but she’s nowhere to be found. Turns out she is in the refrigerator surrounded by wrappers from processed cheese slices and using a spoon to drink tea out of the pitcher. After weeping and gnashing of teeth, I return her to her bed to tuck her in. Mid “Jesus Loves Me” she starts singing, “Yes, Jesus loves poo poo face!” and falls into a heap of giggles as I try to keep composed and redirect her words by not making a big deal out of her choice of words. But she knows how to get me to crack and then we just have to stop singing completely because of all the poo-poo singing. We pray and and I walk out, ready to enter the grand finale of bedtime wars in the next room.

Normally, walking into my big kids’ room, I sigh upon entering. Some nights I walk in and it’s a complete free for all- legos, dinosaurs, crafts, clothes, books- everywhere. Some nights I walk in breaking up fights over Pokemon cards (seriously, why did those not die with the 90s?). Some nights the only way I can tuck them in is if I remove blankets and sheets and pillows and clothes strung across every corner of the room for their clubhouse fort. And some nights I walk into art work hung from every piece of furniture and every wall by Ninja Turtle and Frozen bandaids. The little white tabs littering the floor. Did I mention that my house has been on the market for three weeks?

Tonight, I walked into my kids’ room, ready to huff and puff and blow their clubhouse down. But instead of walking into a mess, I walked in to see both of them with their Bibles opened, reading out loud to each other from 2 Thessalonians.

To be honest, it wrecked me. It has been one of those days (more like weeks) where my mothering has been sub-par at  best. I have felt entirely inadequate to parent and disciple my children, coupled with the exhaustion of showing our home seven billion times. I haven’t had the energy to even want to attempt patience. I feel like I have done a complete disservice to my children lately as their mother. Walking in to see my children reading God’s Word together, on their own accord, made me want to simultaneously weep for my own inadequacies and praise God for His faithfulness and grace despite my shortcomings.

Y’all. God is good. He reminded me tonight that I can do everything in my power and might to love my children well and have all the come-to-Jesus talks and I will often times not see fruit from it. And other times, I fail miserably at pointing my children to Christ (by words OR actions) and see God working in their hearts without any help from me. Parenting is a weighty, weighty calling. I’m so thankful that where I am weak, He is strong and his power is made perfect in my weakness. I’m thankful that He doesn’t give me a baby and tell me “good luck”, but loves and parents my children both when I am intentionally faithful or I miserably fall short.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a shoe off of my sleeping son.

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