While there are a lot of things no one can prepare you for in regards to parenting, re-assimilation is one that never gets talked about.
If it does, not in my circles.
I was gone for a week from my beloved daughters for the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. It was a wonderful time, full of reality and revival, two things I have come to believe extremely essential to Christian life. Heavy doses of what needs to be done in sharing the Gospel, and heavy doses of hope. Because as Rev. Mark Sheets reminded us, “the best is yet to come”. It was good that I was able to spend the time with my husband, and brothers and sisters without my children. Attachment parenting attempts aside, I think adult time is another thing that is vital to the Christian life. . .well, life in general.
When you are known simply as an adult for that time, sans kids, when you are only responsible for feeding and clothing yourself, something switches. You get comfortable in your new/old role.
Then you come home.
It was overly joyous, with tears and smiles and laughter as my husband and I embraced our two girls. So you go to bed that night thinking you’ve got it covered. You’re great. Transitioning fluidly from old life to new life, super adult ministry woman, super mommy. Positive that nothing can stop you/me.
We all know that even Superman has kryptonite. We know that every hero has their weakness.
The perfect storm began to brew, and it was becoming clear that I would not be immune.
You know how Target is supposed to be a “safe place”? A beacon of hope to all woman and mankind alike, a Mecca where you can find a dress for a wedding for $5.98 on clearance, baby wipes, a garden hose, and Sriracha potato chips?
Expect when it isn’t.
There is this ginormous blessing we have in that the same parking lot for Target is the same for Trader Joes.
Don’t get jealous too quickly. Picture that for a minute. It’s like heaven is on either side of this asphalt hell that you have to navigate through to get to your great reward. I don’t have a single trip that I don’t nearly have a heart attack thinking I will hit someone, I will hit a car, I will be hit, one of my children will be hit, etc., etc., etc.
So what does high horse Meredith do on her first full day back into full time Mothering? She decides to take the two girls to Target, peak mid morning time, without having had coffee or a shower. Feeling a little too sure of myself I gingerly pulled the trusty Subaru into the treacherous terrain. Immediately I found myself stuck behind a middle aged gentleman spot stalking (pet peeve #2,375 of mine).
Ladies and gentleman, he was not only spot stalking. No, no, no. There was an open spot NEXT to the spot, and then another one car down. I went into panic mode, because someone could at anytime whip around from the other direction and take those spots. After literally five minutes, I could take it no longer. Eleonore was already singing/yelling, sinling if you will (see how sin is in there, it’s a sin for sure) about the big red balls outside of Target and the popcorn she was going to eat, and I went around the man and took the spot on the other side of the car he was stalking.
If only it ended there.
Said man finally gets in the coveted spot and is glaring at me with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Some combination of not having the coffee/not showering/not knowing when the next time I would be free to sit and wax theologically over a nice aged whiskey or microbrew caused me to engage:
Me-Is there an issue Sir?
Man-Yes, you just couldn’t wait could you? You had to make it more difficult for everyone.
Me-I’m sorry, I have two kids and I just really wanted to get parked before these spots were taken.
Man-Well patience and politeness are a good thing and you don’t have any.
*something else snaps
Just as I utter those words, I hear a little voice come out of the car, purely singing:
“Let them see you, in me”
I was being shamed, by my three year old, with CCM.
For those blissfully unfamiliar, (I’m being rough here, because I grew up on ONLY CCM. Other girls had Debbie Gibson or Tiffany outfits. I had an Amy Grant outfit) here is the wikipedia link to CCM.
*one of these things were not as hip as the others. . .
I WAS BEING SHAMED BY MY DAUGHTER WITH CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC!
A ridiculously bitter pill to swallow.
I mean, she’s three, she’s spewing out JOY FM, and I can’t say anything, because SHE’S RIGHT!
The man scurried into Target and I sheepishly pulled both girls out of the car and we began our trek in.
I met with my mentee later that week and we were discussing the book of Titus in the New Testament of the Bible. No one gets excited about Titus. In fact, you might have not even heard of it. It’s a tiny little number, chock full of seeming rules and regulations and lists. Does anyone really go out seeking those Do’s and Do not’s with a sense of passion and excitement? I don’t think so. . .and if you do, let’s hang out because you could be a great yin to my yang and teach me many things.
We struggled through it in a tangible way. It’s important to let scripture breathe, to et scripture speak into your context and your experience and for it’s Truth to become realer to you because of it.
Titus is chock full of things like this:
3 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.-Titus 3:1-2
At first read, it’s like “What? Me? I have to do that? Remind others, and myself?”
The reality is, there is so much freedom in these instructions.
If I had started my day with just a little bit of that list, it might have looked different. . .ok, a lot different.
If I had been in tune enough with myself to know, “hey, you’ve just transitioned big time, you might want a little reminder, crack open that good book, talk to God for a bit, all before you attempt to do anything else”.
I CANNOT transition fluidly, unless Christ is the center.
I cannot be Mother, Wife, Minister, Christian, etc., etc., etc., to the level I was created to if I do not remind myself of WHO created me and WHAT I was created for.
The book of Titus, as much as my human self grates against it, is a pretty great way to be reminded.
So are three year olds named Eleonore singing CCM.
peace to you,