Saturday, October 27, 2012

Little Flower

Like almost every girl I know, I'm prone to getting sucked into the vortex of "not enough" now and then, especially when it comes to parenting. I wake up tired and feel bad that I'm not a morning person. I pour cereal and feel bad that every day isn't waffle day. We run behind and don't have time to walk to school, so I drive. In my socks. Feeling bad that I'm the mom waving to the principal with bedhead.

My house gets cluttered. I'm lazy about the dishes and the floors. I don't enjoy playing pretend like I did thirty years ago. I don't struggle with cooking, I struggle with worrying that I spend too much time cooking.

I get frustrated at naptime, frustrated at homework time, frustrated at bedtime.

Then house falls quiet and I stew about every failure, vowing to do better, then failing again.

Across town lives my friend with four boys under the age of 4. All three of her baby daddies are incarcerated. She doesn't "live" anywhere, she just stays. (I've learned to phrase it that way, "Where does he stay? Who does she stay with? They all just stay.)

She doesn't drive, so they're just home, wherever home happens to be that week. They watch the big screen and no one sounds real happy about any of it, but she's keeping them fed, keeping them clothed.  

She doesn't work because she doesn't have a sitter, but she keeps forgetting this detail. She calls to tell me that so-and-so is hiring "really bad" and I want to take her to fill out the application, but what about those boys? There's no reliable help around her. We both know it.

She is the reason I can't stay home every day and tend to my own shorties. God made us belong to each other. Living worlds apart can't cut it anymore. I look at her and know that she really is everywhere, and so are her boys. "She", whoever she is, doesn't have a fraction of what I have, but she's charged with the very same tasks. She wakes up at odd intervals to mix bottles. She potty trains. She does what she can. It's so overwhelming that I'm tempted to let myself off the hook.

I'm not sure how she feels when the house is quiet, if she feels like she's not enough.  I suppose she's got bigger fish to fry. She's worried about her little brother who was just hauled off to jail. She knows it's getting colder and the gas still isn't on. She's worried about paternity, complicated paperwork, and the fact that most people treat her like trash.

Her way might look different, but she loves her children just you and I do. She tries in all the ways she was taught.

Still, their ground is shaky while mine is firm. I'll never understand a world that puts her there and me here. It isn't fair. It seems like I got lucky and she got screwed.

But in the mixed-up ways of Christ, maybe I've got it backwards. 

"Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all their achievements." - James 1:9-11
I have so much to learn.