I bet y'all think this post is going to be some sweet parenting tidbit. Something along the lines of, my daughter and I baked cookies while rockin' out to the Tangled soundtrack today. She had a pink ribbon in her hair, and I witnessed a beautiful picture of forgivenss.
No. This is much more self-centered than that.
I love to dance in the kitchen. Not in like the, my husband and I are so cute, one time we sang a song while cooking dinner, and now I'm blogging about it. It's more of a, I turn the music up as loud as I can, most days, put my Ray-bans on (feelin' cool tonight), close my eyes, and forget that anything else is going on in the world outside of Taylor Swift's break-up.
If kids are there, they join in.
If husband is there, he either joins in ... or wishes I would stop, but knows that if he says so I'll sing louder. So, he walks around, looking busy, and occasionally offers me an encouraging smile, hoping that his affirmation will end the party sooner.
In the old house, we listened to Pandora, which allowed for a variety of songs; however, we haven't switched over our internet yet, so for now in the new house, we have resorted to the old trusty ipod.
Oh the ipod. One of our younger seminary classmates commented that he had never seen an ipod as big as ours ... because it is that old!
Our ipod is a walk down memory lane, I'll tell you. It's not on purpose. We turn it on expecting to hear something new, all the while totally forgetting that new songs stopped being uploaded around 2009. We are not runners. (I feel like runners continue to acquire music.)
Anyway, the session usually starts off fun and lighthearted. A lot of jumping is involved, mimicing heartache, and directing intense love ballads towards Mark.
After an hour or so, Mark leaves the kitchen. He is bored and realizes his presence makes no difference one way or the other as far as duration is concerned. When he exits, I lose my main object of affection, and sometimes hit an energy slump. This is when slower, nostalgic tunes begin playing ... taking me back to the beach in Ireland, a train in Switzerland, or a mountain in China.
You see, the reason Mark and I loaded the ipod with music was to enable conversation breaks during much needed quiet times on adventures around the world.
When I hear, Counting Crows, Holiday in Spain, I think about a beach trip we took with 20 friends to Malaga, southern Spain, in 2005.
When I hear Bebo Norman, I Will Lift My Eyes, I think of Tiger Leaping Gorge on the western side of China, where I hiked one of the most beautiful places in this world!
When I hear, Joy to the World by Bebo Norman, not always, but sometimes I think about walking the streets of Lugano, pregnant with Samara, not fully comprehending that there is a child in my womb, but super emotional and excited about motherhood at the same time.
Since we've moved, I have been much more stressed about decorating our home then ever before. As I mentioned, the house is beautiful on its own, and I wonder if part of my anxiety (if you can call it that) is this idea that I need to do the house justice.
However, tonight, after a very characteristic dance party in the kitchen while Mark made 40 hamburgers for our youth group's summer kick-off dinner, I had a deeper thought connecting the old ipod and the disappointment (?) of this new house.
Mark finally has a paying job, which means I finally have some money to put towards our house. After four years of scouring magazines and websites, I knew exactly what I wanted to purchase and from where. As beautiful items have appeared on my doorstep, the contentment of finally getting the house I've always wanted has remained far off.
I haven't been able to decide if it's because I still need more (the italics here indicate the ridiculousness of this statement), or if it's because something deeper is going on.
Tonight ... with the dancing ... and the ipod full of nostalgic songs, I had a thought. I was listening to all these songs that remind me of traveling, and like they always do, they ignited this little spark in my heart that loves to travel, move, experience, and see. It's this part of me that relishes the freedom of living out of a backpack and not quite knowing where the day's adventure will lead.
It's this part of me that I gave up when I became a mom.
Now, I know that in the blogging world, mom's are not supposed to admit that life was in fact more fun before kids. We are supposed to be thoroughly tickled by the tender moments, the sweet touches, the funny sayings, and the peace of knowing we are spending our time in the most important way possible.
And all of that is true. Being a mom is tender, sweet, funny, fulfilling ... and fun.
But let's be honest, it is not the same kind of fun.
I never cared about my house until I became a mom. In fact, my newfound obsession with all things decorating has continually stumped my husband over these past four years.
Tonight, with these songs in my mind, it all became frighteningly clear. I wonder ...
Because I feel like I no longer go anywhere, do I try to decorate my home in such a way that demonstrates that I've been somewhere?
Is my home a showpiece that is meant to say, "No really! I've done things with my life ... things that do not involve diapers and sippy cups. I have seen the world. I am really interesting."
Along slightly different lines, do I put such thought into creating our home in order to give myself the feeling that when I am home, I am somewhere!
Y'all if this is true and not some crazy post-dance frenzy, a whole host of idols and misguided notions have been exposed in my heart. Blahhh, yuck, how terrible!
My guess is that this is part of the thought process. (The other part could simply be that I like pretty, functional, interesting spaces.)
A while back, I wrote a post about contentment. When I reread that post, I still believe that everything I said is true. Yet even while it is true, some of what I wrote today is true as well.
When you become a parent, you actually do give up a lot. There is no arguing that you gain a ton, but it is untrue to act as if what you gain merely replaces what you sacrifice. A loss is involved.
My conclusion for now and my hope for my heart is the reality that sanctification is a process. As the Lord makes us more like his son, he cracks away at our selfishness, pride, self-centeredness, desire to please ourselves, and all the rest of our nasty recurring sins ... and he changes us, fashions us, and molds us, into a beautiful, new, God-honoring person. Clearly, he still has work to do in my heart.
It is frustrating ... you know, to not be perfect already. But there is grace, and there is a gracious one.
And his plan is perfect.
And because of what his son accomplished on the cross, he rejoices over me with singing and dancing, on my good days and my bad days.
And that is a wonderful thing.
Lesson Learned: The Lord is long-suffering. He loves us perfectly throughout the various seasons of life. His love endures forever.