Mama needs some rest after hosting the Nerf gun party, and then dressing up like a crazy Lorax and painting faces at the early childhood center. More than that, I need rest after dragging myself out of bed just after five all week long, and being cheerful and dressing like an adult and punching a clock and NOT wearing yoga pants.
A fire burns in the fireplace. It's a glorious, cool, October day. Father and son work to clean and winterize the boat. Little one wants to go on one more boat ride, even though daddy says the water would turn to icicles on his face and he would be frozen to the seat. The leaves fall, and one son watches them with greedy joy, seeing money to be made in raking them up. Meanwhile, the littlest boy takes a nap in my bed, because first grade is hard, and he just really wishes he didn't even have brothers because they are always mean to him and he "always has only bad days and bad days."
These are the days of legos on the carpet and lost library books; of practicing memory and being tortured by spelling tests. These days, I hear "can I read to you?" more than "can you read to me?" from the younger ones: the older ones hide away in silent joy as they escape into stories all on their own. Suddenly they can all get breakfast for themselves and pack their own lunches, but they leave me smears of peanut butter on the table to remember them by. These are the days of giant bags of Veggie Chips and shopping at Costco and using up a loaf of bread nearly every day.
These are the days of heart-bursting pride as I watch my daughters bloom. They play piano songs beyond my comprehension. They shine on the court playing volleyball, or when they don't shine, they still encourage the others, and try hard, which is even more lovely. They use kind, high-pitched voices with little children, and they know how to make tiny friends in ten seconds or less. They craft, they sing, and one wears makeup.
These are the days of sleep-in saturdays while they play on kindles, until drama over racing games wakes the parents, and we ban electronics and shoo them outside. They ride bikes and play with neighborhood friends (like city kids!) and they let me know when that man comes who asks for our pop cans, or the lady with the missing teeth who talks to us about her back pain and her yorkie dog and smells like cigars.
These are the days when I feel like a celebrity when I stop by the playground at recess- all the kindergarteners love "Miss Emily" because we played together in the firefly classroom last year. And my youngest joins them in the running hugs, while the older kids simply nod in my direction, or maybe give me a quick hand flap and a "hey, mom."
These are the days when mom makes the best nachos on the planet and all the kids celebrate, and we settle down in front of the TV for a Smallville marathon. When Clark kisses Lana, some of the kids squirm, and everyone tries to guess everyone else's crush and they all protest and giggle.
We've been here a year now, but these days we still marvel at the convenience of the city; how we can go to the grocery store and be home again in fifteen minutes. Kohl's is so close we can sneak away to it any evening, and we can order pizza online and they DELIVER it to our HOUSE. These are the days of praying when we hear sirens, talking about stranger danger, and thanking God for "rescue heroes." And we have met people of varied skin color and foreign cultures, and it's awkward and different and beautiful to see the variety in the works that God does.
The variety of works that God does- how can I begin to count them! He's pouring out His mercy through His Word here daily, and He's using my husband as His mouthpiece. He's starting a coat closet, helping neighbors serve neighbors, and making a daycare grow like crazy. He's nurturing kids daily in school through the hands of the teachers, and He's putting His name on all who come to be baptized. He's growing community and gathering saints around His Word and it's a sweet miracle every single time.
These are the days when the church bells of St. Peter's ring out sweet hymns during the day, and the music lifts my soul to heaven as I walk through the cemetery to the school. As we walk, the boys smack each other with lunch boxes and I make them run laps, and I listen to stories about pop quizzes and crazy preteen boys and missing assignments and epic games of kickball.
These are the days of October, when the falling leaves remind me that this season, though it is bright and new right now, will also pass away, but God's faithfulness will remain.
Thank you God, giver of all good things, for these days.