Monday, February 1, 2010

Broken Laptops and a Boy on my Lap

I didn't mean to do it. Thursday morning, as I sat down to begin my blog, my laptop slipped a bit and I reached out to catch it. I have done it a million times. Except this time, my thumb pressed just a bit too hard on the corner of my screen and I felt the tiniest little "pop". And that was it. I pulled my beloved computer back on to my lap and my screen died right before my eyes. First, the corner turned black and then what had been images turned into a bunch of random colored lines. I broke the LCD.

For two hours, I wandered around the house. My stuff is in there. I am in the process of writing two books... both in my laptop. My pictures. My music. My half written article. My settings. My videos. It is all inside. I seriously felt like I was going to be sick. We are in no position to replace things and because of that we are certainly in no position to BREAK them.

My modus operandi is to think everything through. Think. Plan. Decide. Do. What do you do when that does not work? What do you do when you can think all day and in the end, there is no decision to make, no plan to create? Nothing at all to do? I could WISH that I had been more careful. I could MOURN the loss of something I love so much. But, truly... there was no action to be taken because what was done was done and my laptop was dead.

I know the upside is that it is just a screen... that my hard drive is fine and my stuff is, though inaccessible, still there somewhere. But, resting in that optimistic view was hard for me. I use my laptop every day and I need it for speaking and writing. In a house where everything that once was mine is ours, I love to have something that fully belongs to me. I can keep it organized in the way that makes sense to me. I can take it with me and do what needs to be done in a way that only I understand. During a time in my life when even my bed is shared with four little people that I deeply love, it is comforting to have something that belongs to me.

We give up a lot as moms, don't we? We start this journey by offering our very selves to child-bearing... our whole hearts and minds are consumed with it all whether we deliver or adopt. We give up our freedom to go where we want, do what we want, eat what we want, watch what we want... the list is truly endless. The homes we work so hard for are over-run with toys and fingerprints and smears of peanut butter or banana. It changes our bodies, our minds, our very view of the world leaving us wondering, sometimes, what is left for me?

Maybe there is a titch of self-pity in that. I had plenty of time to wallow last week when I was cleaning carpets out of broken-computer frustration. But, there may be a time and a place for that because when we are really honest, it is a lot to give up. We can ignore the sacrifice we have made in order to to stay true to the "perfect mom" we sometimes hope to be... or we can tell the truth. It's hard. It is really hard. Naming that fact does not diminish the love I have for my children or how much I enjoy being their mom. It doesn't take away a single thing from the work I do or the goals I have for my family. It really doesn't change a thing because whether I name it or not, it is there nonetheless. The sacrifice, the busyness, the wondering where we are in the midst of all this chaos is a part of who we are right now. It is not permanent but it is true.

Last night, after Elizabeth went to bed, Mark took the older boys upstairs to work on building a shelf. Josiah and I were downstairs watching TV together. A few minutes into it, Josiah came and climbed into my lap. He snuggled his head against my chest and curled his feet up onto my legs. As I sat there with my boy, hundreds of memories of sitting with him just like that came flooding over my heart. Josiah as a newborn, as a toddler, as a preschooler, today. He didn't say much... a comment here and there... but I couldn't tell you what was happening on TV because while he watched it, I watched him. I watched how his dark eyelashes brush the tops of cheeks when he blinks. I watched how his cheeks rise up when he smiles. I watched how he reaches out to touch me when he talks. I just watched.

It is an awful lot to give up, my friends. Being a momma causes a tremendous amount of sacrifice in our stretched-thin lives. And sometimes, we may want to pull something in that is fully our own and defend it from the onslaught of gimmes we face all day long. But the truth is that as we go through this overwhelming work, we are learning something important about what matters in the world. And that lesson is handed to us again and again and again. My laptop may have value to me and to my routines... but as I sat last night with a boy on my lap, I understood it all again. There are things of value... and things that are priceless. Priceless. Like having the minutes to watch my son and store up for myself the littlest details about who he is today. About his lashes, his cheeks, the weight of his head on my chest.

The sacrifice is great and that is the truth. The work is hard and thankless. But the salary is paid in priceless parcels that are offered up freely each day. And in that I remember... the laptop is nice but I am grateful for that which matters far more to me.

Blessings on your day.

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