Schedule, anyone?

Morning. This is the week, everyone. This is when I begin to be disciplined. I'm pretty set in my decision, and nothing can waver me, nothing at all... except maybe the next time someone here has a good movie and persuades me to watch it with them and I stay up too late and don't wake up the next morning until the kids are already up and yelling and I stumble out of my room muttering "jussstt... give me a minnit.." like I'm hungover, only I'm not, I am just sleep deprived and I slump on the couch and sit there for the next thirty minutes trying to wake up while the kids pile on me like puppies, asking for breakfast.

But no more. This is the week.

One thing that I have realized about myself  is that I am addicted to excitement.  The big road trips! The concerts! Traveling!  I like summer and swimming and airplane rides and I hate packing but I love to be somewhere different. I love my home, but I trip over doing the same thing everyday.  Which, I've come to see, is actually the ticket for me right now. I just need to do the same thing, every single day.If I do this, I will get something done. It really is the only way for me to get something done, the only way for me to teach Kid A to read, the only way for me to write my book, the only way for me to have the kind of life that I want with my kids. I'm not totally undisciplined, (I used to be, though, believe me) but I have a lot of room to improve.

Lately my life has been feeling really constrained. I live in a beautiful cabin in a wonderful community in the woods, but I really spend most of my time here, at home, because we are so far from everywhere.  When we go out, I usually have a very small amount of time to run around and do all the errands that have been building up, or I have three children who all still need so much, well, guidance when we are out. (Don't touch that, don't eat that, Leaf, stop hitting your brother, YaYa.) Sometimes I'm so busy wishing for more freedom that I don't bother to stop and enjoy the constrainment of an amazing family. Or a wonderful home. I want to kick myself and say, "Great Scot, woman, are you never satisfied?"

Yesterday a good friend came over and visited for awhile. She and her husband and one of her sons drove an hour just to get here and spend a couple of hours drinking tea with us, which shows what kind of friend she is. She also has ten children. Seven of whom are still at home. I literally feel more peaceful just by sitting with her. She is a woman who loves God and has done what I wish I could do. She has made a home. I don't know how to explain it, other than to say that she has settled into her space as a mother with all that is in her. She has accepted it, and has given so much to her children, but I never get the idea that she isn't there anymore, that she has given all of herself away. It's more like the complete opposite. As the culture in her home thrives and is warm and hospitable, and as her children continue to succeed, she thrives and grows and becomes more of herself than ever. It's that whole "Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it" conundrum. Her grown-up children love her. Her teenagers confide in her. Her youngest ones come and sit beside her when I'm with her, leaning their heads on her shoulders.

It would be intimidating if she wasn't so open and honest and encouraging. If she hadn't been through everything, including sorrow and poverty, which has refined her. When she speaks of faith in God, I know that she speaks from experience. Of her youngest three children, two are adopted, and they are all one year apart. That means that she had a one-year-old, a two-year-old, and a three-year-old. They are closer together than my kids, and she had them last.

So, I am encouraged. For me, the steps are simply, doing the same thing everyday. Settling in. Not envying other people their time. Taking charge of my own life, rather than wishing I had someone else's. Using a voice pitch other than "shrill" or "exasperated" or "shrill and exasperated".

My family style is different from my friend's. They love old-fashioned things in a lovely American way. We love international things. Her husband is from England. My husband is from Detroit. Her youngest daughters wear sweet dresses with floral patterns. My daughter has dreadlocks and wears head wraps and indian pants. I'm definitely not saying that families needs to emulate each other in style. I'm saying that I want that kind of love for what I do. A sense of awe that I'm privileged enough to do it, and the kind of accomplishment that my friend has, when she looks at her family and they are loved and loving.