Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I don't have it all together... the days I am less than gracious

Perspective

Being real…

Reality
Balance

It is my goal to be real on this blog without being too revealing… there are some things like family squabbles, arguments and worse stuff that shouldn’t be “aired” world-wide… When I created this blog I wanted it to be a safe, upbeat place for me to share whatever comes to mind… and it’s mostly been that…
I am a writer… writing helps me cope, deal, ponder, learn and grow…
No, I don’t post everything I write… sometimes I write out my anger and frustration and that has no real place here…
No, I don’t share my whole life here… balance- being real vs. being too revealing… the delete key is often my friend…
You don’t need the lowdown on who slammed me about homeschooling, or the tiff Mr. Steady and I may or may not have had or how the lady behind me flipped out because I stopped at a red light she obviously thought both our cars could beat…
However… this blog isn’t all sunshine…
I’ve shared my thoughts on some hurts and pains I’ve walked through
And even mentioned bad, grumpy days
… my vision in writing of bad, tough, painful and awful times is to write like a Psalmist… begin with the woe is me stuff and end with no matter what I’m gonna praise God and believe that He is good through and through and His plans for me go beyond my current circumstances…
That’s how I live my life
That’s how I want to write my blog… So- I am Being Real
And yet there are some thoughts I’m tossing around
The other day I was sharing with a dear sweet friend that sometimes I get frustrated about meal times… me, the meal planner… gets frustrated every once in awhile with the feeling that just because I’m the mama and the wife who says I have to always be the cook and why oh why do they look at me at 7 o’clock at night and say “What’re you making for supper?”
Yes, I have those moments.
When I flippantly remarked on this my dear sweet friend looked at me in surprise…
“You mean you don’t always have it together? I’ve always pictured you prepping dinner during the day, making sure everything is thawed out and ready… I read your blog, your menus and all…” I laugh quietly when she says this and say in response, “Oh man, No… there are times when I really wish someone else would be making the meal. The menu is posted and they all can read…”
My words fade and our conversation continues along another path.
But what she says stays with me…
Am I projecting the perfect homemaker? The mama that’s got it all going on, making and baking super nutritious oh so delicious breakfasts each morning, lunches with smiley faces and dinners with a perfectly set table?
And don’t forget- homeschooling and doing laundry and keeping a neat and tidy home?
That’s not me.
Very rarely does the laundry get washed, dried, folded AND put away proper all in one day… if its Monday- chances are my dining room table looks like the folding table at the laundro-mat and it will invariably stay that way until Tuesday evening… maybe even Wednesday… Mr. Conductor has been known to just pick his clothes from the pile… and keeping the home neat and tidy… well, don’t look up… I don’t and that is why the cobwebs are still there blowing in the breeze… The way I see it- they eat the mosquitoes and other buggies the kids let in because they leave our doors WIDE OPEN… no, we don’t live in a barn- we just act like we do…
And as for cooking the delicious oh so nutritious and delightful to look at meals… three times a day, each and every single day….
There are days when my cooking mojo is well… cookin’ and Ms. Books and I will bake and cook up a storm…
And then there are the days when I open a can of soup and slap some butter on pieces of store bought bread and declare it a meal.
Or what about the days when Mr. Steady and the kids get into food I had set aside for a meal later in the week???? Or when I forget to buy enough milk or they drink too tall of glasses of it with their dunkin’ cookies and my recipe calls for three cups and I have less than two cups and I wonder… can I water this down some more and still make this work???? Do I dare tell you how my reaction is less than gracious? Well, it usually is… less than, that is.
What about the days when I am in constant demand for too many people and I don’t have a minute to myself and I’m coming unraveled at the ends and Mr. Steady comes home from work and I greet him with a growl?? And the times he sees I need the quiet- sends me to my room telling me to relax and read and promptly forgets to help the kids start dinner like he promised and its 8 pm and I’m trying to throw something together and my quiet time seems meaningless when I explode about what wasn’t done…
Have I ever mentioned that Ms. Books usually cooks lunch for us all during the week? Yep, she does and she’s amazing… she usually creates the lunch menu around here. She is a wonderful cook, already experimenting and creating her own recipes at age 14… she makes a Loaded Baked Potato Soup from stuff she digs out of the pantry and fridge that puts this Mama to shame.  
Muffins, coffee cake, baked oatmeal, pancakes… when we have those for breakfast it means that we made them the day before… I’m not one to be an early riser and so when we have these delicious meals it’s because we took the time to bake a day ahead.
Or how about when company is coming for dinner and I create the awfullest longest to-do list for the family and myself? Cleaning, baking, cooking, dusting behind the pictures and on top of the fridge and scrubbing the rim of the toilet with an old toothbrush and making recipes that require two hours of prep and 15 ingredients, wash and line dry all the sheets, hey why don’t we paint that wall we’ve been meaning to get to for six years... running them and myself ragged all so that our friends will be… what? In awe? Thrilled? Flabbergasted? … IMPRESSED?!
Oh, I admit it… I’ve done it… well except for painting the wall- not that I didn’t suggest it though…
It wasn’t until a few months ago that I was actually able to take stock and “let go” about the house perfection ‘cuz company’s coming chaos… and it’s all because of my Dear Sweet Friend (just decided- that’s her name now on here… so it must now be in caps) and a large basket full of unfolded laundry.
Huh?
Stay with me…
Dear Sweet Friend came over for a quick “pop-over” visit and in my joy and gladness at seeing her I ushered her into the living room for a quick sit-down chat… and it was lovely. Then she ta-ta- toodle-looed off and I walked back into the living room to find the big laundry basket in all it’s shabby glory sitting in front of the entertainment center in the living room. I was mortified. I was seriously upset with myself…
A couple weeks later my Dear Sweet Friend and her dear sweet family invited us over for lunch after church… impromptu with the disclaimer that we weren’t to look around the house to closely as it was “trashed” due to their crazy, busy schedule…
Her house wasn’t trashed. It wasn’t chaotic and I really didn’t notice that it wasn’t “perfection” I was quite content to enjoy a good meal and even better company. During our time together she made a few apologies about the state of the house and I kept assuring her it was fine… then I mentioned my mortification at having laundry out when she came over.
And she said…
“Oh, Hon, I never even noticed.”
Wha?????
My dining room table this morning...
I was sharing my utter and extreme mortification at my absolute faux pas in the hopes of segueing into a most sincere apology for my less than stellar housekeeping and hospitality and she hadn’t EVEN NOTICED!?!
She smiled as I stuttered and said these magical words:
“I wasn’t there to see your laundry. I was there to see you! I don’t care about your house- I care about you and spending time with you.”
I looked at her thinking she was just placating me… nope she was quite and most sincerely sincere right down to her beautiful smile and kind eyes. She really hadn’t seen the laundry basket…
Light Bulb.
I realized that in spiffifying my house to these extremes and making myself and my family quite above and beyond unhappy was…
NOT
NECESSARY
A warm, calm home, good food and even better friends is all that is required.
Now lest you think I’ve really gone off my rocker- we still clean before company comes… we sweep the kitchen floor instead of getting down on hands and knees and scrubbing… we “hit the high points” as my mother would say. And I still bake and cook like a fiend but not to impress but because I love my friends so much I want to give them my very best…
That seems quite alright to me.

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