This morning, I pulled into the carpool lane and asked Siah's teacher if I needed to walk into the office to sign up for teacher/teacher conferences next week or if I could just call and make an appointment when I got home later that afternoon so that I didn't have to unload the entire crew of treasures sitting in my backseat...
She said I had to go in to the office.
I pulled into a parking space and started to unload the kids, one by one.
Reesie had on her Christmas dress over her clothes, a miss-matched pair of socks poking out from under her too-short pants. She had crumbs all over her face from the snack she had eaten in the car on the way to the school and her hair was wild and uncombed. I set her on the pavement and gave her a little 'dust off'', then went in for treasure #2.
My sweet Jeddy was still conveniently in his pajamas from the night before. The top of his PJ's were damp and stained from the bottle that my two-year-old had fed him, (while simultaneously eating her own snack... yes, we teach them to multitask at an early age around here, :) on the way to the school because I didn't have enough time to feed him before we left and I didn't want to be late picking up Siah.
Then came #3, my sweet Hal. She had dressed herself and was dolled up in ALL pink... oh, except for her stylish, brown, knee-high boots that she felt strongly would go perfectly with her otherwise pink ensemble . She had an obvious, rather large, smudge of dirt on her nose and her lips were a little bloody from her horrible habit of picking at them ALL the time. I dabbed her lips with the bottom of my sweatshirt.
Finally, I extended a hand to my Siah who jumped out of the car while attempting to do the splits in the air which conveniently left a nice little ripe in his uniform pants right below his zipper. He looked at me wondering how he was supposed to respond. I kissed his fore-head and and rested my hand on his shoulder, "Don't worry about it bud. We'll just change your pants when we get home." He smiled and moved on with his business.
And I, the Mama, the grand finale, wearing my over-sized grey sweatshirt... the one I've worn since I was a teenager... the sleeves are all frayed... there's a patch on the back covering the rip that I got at summer camp several years back... the sweatshirt that I had slept in the night before, no make-up (not that I even wear make-up on any other day), with my hair tied up in some sort of bun-ball thing on the top of my head.
All my treasures lined up against our old white suburban, the beast covered in snow and dirt from the farm, and I survey my little bunch of ragamuffins and my heart fills up with this giddy kind of joy.
I'm embarrassed to admit that there was a time, not that long ago, when who I was, was so caught up in what was happening on the outside, caught up in the physical.
And as I surveyed the trail of raggedy kids, hand in hand in a line crossing the street behind me, I thought about how we had spent our morning together.
I thought about how I had left the dishes in the sink after breakfast when they asked me to read stories to them on the couch. I thought about the laundry that sat in the drier as they talked to me while I painted on canvas at the long black table in the school room. I thought about the smile that lit up her whole face, when I told Hal how stunning she looked in the outfit that she had picked out all by herself. I thought about the way that Reesie clapped and cheered when I said it was just fine with me if she wanted to wear her Christmas dress with her mismatched socks to pick her brother up from school.
When we got to the sidewalk, the hands released and Siah skipped ahead of the bunch. He stopped, turned, and threw up his hands, "It's gorgeous outside today, isn't it Mom?" Hal and Reesie tickled each other and laughed as they walked side by side along the grassy knoll. I looked at my Jeddy... he beamed that stellar smile right back into me.
We walked into the school office, a bunch of ragamuffins and their Mama, and I never felt more proud of who we are. Our outsides most certainly looked a little worn, but our insides were glowing, full of life, full of the simple memories of time spent together doing the important... loving deep, giving each other our time.
I may be the Mama that shows up late to church on a Sunday with stains on her jeans and
a whole crew of crazy hooligans with mismatched socks trailing behind her...
but our insides are becoming more and more beautiful as each day passes.
Maybe someday, many moons from now we'll be able to leave the house looking all spiffy and what not...
But for today...
I'm content with working on our insides...
He's opening my eyes to the gifts...
Lunch with my Joey on a week day.
Four kids on a couch from youngest to oldest.
Flip flops on a Wednesday in February.
Making it through a body combat class at the Y.
A snow covered Saturday afternoon.
Enough work to pay ALL the bills.
Our home, full of friends.
Raggedy kids, An old grey sweatshirt,
and... A heart being molded by HIM into HIS likeness.