This morning my kids were getting on my nerves. Yep, my beautiful, lovely, perfect children were annoying the mess out of me. I'm not particularly a morning person. I don't necessarily wake up irritable, but I don't hope out of bed all bright eyed an bushy tailed either. I wake up quiet and slow, so it takes a few minutes of moving about the house for me to be awake enough to do certain things, like carry on a conversation. My days always start best when I get up before the kids and have some time to shake the cob webs loose from my head, and get the right perspective. When I'm up first, not only am I in a better mood when my kiddos start waking up, but I get a few minutes of hugs and snuggling with each one as they start rolling out of bed one by one. That makes for a good start to the day for me, and for them.
This morning the kids started waking up before I did. And they woke up with a plethora of needs that, in their perspective, had to be met at that very moment. They were either dying of hunger, or dehydrated, or freezing to death, or had to potty really bad but the bathroom was already occupied by another sibling who was apparently constipated.
As the morning progressed there were more urgent needs. Like, not being able to find matching socks, or the right shorts(to which I wanted to say, "It's two days until Christmas, just put on some pants!"), or un-tying the double knots in shoes that apparently had been tied by the incredible hulk.
Yes, my children are as dramatic as I am.
I was really starting to get annoyed. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and I was still in my pj's, still had dragon breath, and still needed coffee somethin' fierce. At some point I threw a mini-tantrum and said that if one more person asked me for something before I was dressed that everyone was going to sit on their bed until I made coffee!
While I was getting dressed I checked the news and facebook, only to learn that a 3 year old in a near-by town had been accidentally run over by his father and killed. Another 3 year old had drowned in a pond. And a 22 year old local girl, Emily Riu, had been killed in a car wreck. While I didn't personally know the girl that was killed in the wreck, she was a family member of people whom we do know. All three of these events are such a tragedy.
I was whispering a prayer for the family members and friends of those who died, when my mind wandered to the fact that this will probably be the worst Christmas these families have ever experienced. And worse than that, every Christmas will mark the anniversary of a very sad time. Lost loved ones are already missed terribly at Christmas, and compounded with the fact that only a few days before Christmas will mark the anniversary of a tragedy, I can't imagine the pain that the holidays will bring for these grieving families.
It hit me what a vapor life really is. In James, life is referred to as a mist. James 4:14b says, "What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."
If I knew that I or one of my children wasn't going to be here on this earth tomorrow, would running around meeting all their many, seemingly trivial needs annoy me? Absolutely not. In fact, not only would I not be annoyed, I would be honored and joyful that I have the special opportunity to be the one who meets their needs while I had the chance. I suddenly wasn't so annoyed with my kids. When I went in to the bathroom to put on my make up, instead of shooing Josslyn, who is my shadow, out of the room so that I could have a minute of peace, I brought her in there with me and sat her down on the stool. While I put my make up on I put a little blush on her cheeks and was blessed by her giggles. Then I pretended to put eye shadow and what not on her as I put mine on, and was blessed again when she said, "I'm pretty! And you are pretty too, Mommy!" Yes, baby girl, you are beautiful, make up or not. I love her joy in the simple things in life.
When Danil pressed the button on his kitty keyboard to play the song "Oh where, Oh where has my little cat gone?" for the 945,215 time, instead of getting annoyed, I sang along for a couple of verses and had the pleasure of making Danil laugh so hard that it made me laugh. And then he clapped for me. Which is the opposite reaction I usually get from folks when I sing. I love his love for music.
When Luke brought me a lego creation, that looks very similar to his last 37 lego creations, instead of sighing and saying, "Let me guess. It is a car that can transform in to a spaceship, right?", I stopped what I was doing and let him tell me all about it. And then I gave him a big long hug. I love his creativity.
When Alik knocked a framed picture off the wall and it broke in to bits because he was trying to see if it could "shake", instead of yelling, "Why would you do that?! Of course it can shake, why else do you think it is always crooked?! NOW look at it!", instead I took a deep breath, which gave me the perspective to realize that he wasn't trying to break the picture frame and his behavior didn't have ill intentions but was just innocent childish curiousity. I could tell by the look on his face that he felt bad and wasn't going to be "shaking" any more picture frames. Once I realized that I wasn't upset anymore and had the opportunity to show grace instead of griping at him now and regretting it later. He is sensitive, and I love his sensitivity towards others.
When Ray melted down because she couldn't decide if she should wear short sleeves and a jacket or just long sleeves, instead of snapping, "Oh just pick one! It isn't a life altering decision!", instead we went and stood on the porch for a minute to see what the weather felt like. I love her funky style and uniqueness that shows even in the clothes she wears.
When Kellen happily held his arms out to me, yelling, "UP!", which is what he says when he wants to be tossed in the air repeatedly, instead of saying, "Not right now, Mama's arms are still tired for the last UP.", I threw my chubby toddler up in the air a few more times. He is growing so fast and it won't be long until he is too big for UP. I love his zest for life and his love of adventure.
If I knew that I or one of my children wasn't going to be on this earth tommorrow would I be annoyed by having to meet their many, seeminly trivial needs? Absolutely not. Not only would I not be annoyed, I would be honored and joyful to have the opportunity to be the one who meets their needs while I had the chance. Life is a vapor.
My prayer for you and me is that over the next few days, as we celebrate the birth of Christ, is that we remember to focus on who and what is important and let the trivial things fall to the wayside.