I Have a Beard

I have a beard.  I have a beard in my hand and I am walking around the house trying to find the square wooden jaw it belongs to.  My authentic, red solider, a gift from my German exchange student 20 years earlier, has been pillaged by my children.   I can’t find him and I’ll be amazed if this beard and soldier is ever reunited.

I did, however, just find the missing baby Jesus from our nativity set.  He was resting inside the aquarium filter with a thin layer of algae on his swaddled body.   Maybe that was why our clown fish went belly-up and the real reason I was cleaning the fish tank.  Back to the nativity scene, I also glued Joseph’s head back on and put the sheep up out of reach after one was hurled and hit my daughter in the head.

Ahhh, Christmas!  I certainly never envisioned this was part of Christmas with kids.  My expectations and reality were on a crash course again this year.  I thought we would all be wearing our Santa hats, making yummy snowman shaped Christmas cookies and listening to Jingle Bells on the radio.  Instead, they have been whirlwinds of destruction through the Christmas décor and the only music we have consistently heard is crabby mama yelling, “Go to time out!!!”

The only real solution I see to lessen my Christmas frustration is to adjust my expectations; therefore, I decide to write a Christmas note to myself for next year:

Dear Mama, here’s the deal; you have four children and the oldest is only five, so the Christmas season is going to be more like a monkey exhibit than a Christmas pageant. Put the tree up when the kids are asleep and leave out a few pre-selected plastic bulbs for them to hang later. Don’t get anything breakable or anything with sentimental value out of storage. Don’t buy any new Christmas decorations and expect the Christmas cookies you make to look and taste like dried out chunks of play dough.  If mama is happy, the kids will be too. Before you know it, the kids will be 10, 9, 7 and 6 years old, your Christmas cookies will be beautiful and they will all be singing Silent Night before bed with the twinkling glow of lights on their sleepy faces.  Relax and have a Merry Christmas, Mama!

Touching Dirty Hands

“His hands are dirty.”

“It’s okay to touch people with dirty hands,” my husband calmly replied as we walked away.

We just gave a hot meal and a blanket to a kind man and he shook our hands with gratitude. But my four year old recoiled with wide eyes, afraid to touch this quiet man on the bench.  A pungent scent clung to him, his clothes dingy, beard long but his eyes were bright and smile warm as he conversed with us.

It was a window of wisdom in a day of ordinary craziness with kids.

I woke up in a bad mood, the kids in destruction mode with pre-Christmas glee. They found time to sneak a basket of ornaments and smash glass bulbs on the tile floor. My husband’s foot bled on the wreckage. Red tinsel was flung all over and a snow globe smashed with water and glass…another chore I didn’t have the patience for. I growled and stomped around all morning.

Today was designated for home church, regardless of bad moods. The Good Samaritan read and discussed, then off we went with a red wagon and blankets to give.

The kids bickered about who was going to sit in the wagon and who had to walk but they forgot the disputes each time we met the street residents.  Grace, who is three, was eager to put hot hamburgers in the hands of the hungry but my four year old held back by daddy’s side.

We talked to the man with his prosthetic leg off and his bandaged leg propped up, we listened to the story of the one jittery after drugs and gave our last blankets and meals to the two lying comprar cialis por internet down in the dirt by the railroad tracks. My youngest two kids loved delivering food into their eager hands but four year olds notice things they don’t.  He knows people should not be lying in the dirt during the middle if the day. He can see they are unwashed and unkempt.  And he can see love, God’s love, flowing out to all of these.