Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday: a day of rest

This morning started out promising. I began coming to consciousness in my bed to the sounds of three happy, laughing children. They awaken each morning almost like a programmed clock, within minutes of the same time. I don't know how long Van has been awake when Josie and Delia begin to make noise from their cribs, but as soon as they do he goes into their room and climbs into one of their beds. At his entrance they all begin to bounce and chirp, "Hi" to each other and laugh (or on some less cheerful mornings, they cry at his invasion and try to get him to climb back out of whichever crib he has decided to empty of all contents).

Today started out with cheerful chattering and laughing, but by the time the little band had made its way to the kitchen for breakfast, the crying started. Sad, personal, wounded crying at every step. Wrong dress, wrong book, wrong look, wrong diaper, done eating, not done eating. You name it, it was the cause of back-arching, kicking, eyes full of giant pain-filled tears, and wailing. 

Every once in a while it would subside for a few minutes. But the quiet only lasted long enough for the betrayal or dissatisfaction to move efficiently from one little body to the next. Out of the blue, the previously pleasant looking child would suddenly, as if possessed, respond to some minor offense by crying or throwing his or her little body on the ground.

We only made it through part of church, and as I came home I wondered to myself if it really was that much better to even go to church if I left feeling so defeated and deflated. I mean, I don't need the scores of well-meaning widows to tell me I'm getting bigger and bigger. I know it when my pregnant body is on the floor trying to pull one of my children out from under the church pew for the fiftieth time, or when I'm carrying two of my flailing children through the hall of the crowded church. It should be a not-so-silent warning to move out of my way. But there are always those same few folks who think they can brighten the day or lighten my squirming burden by stopping me to chat and see how things are going.

Today it felt obvious. Things were not going well. It was one of those days when I hear those same words that I hear every time I choose to go out in public, "Wow, you have your hands full!" and I just want to hide under a rock. But now that they are all sleeping peacefully, there are a few things I will remember and cherish about today.

1. Taking Van to primary (the childrens' meeting at church) and seeing his little face light up when the piano started playing "Choose the Right". Then watching as he participated in the actions and the marching and the popping out of his chair whenever he heard the word "right". 

2. Hearing Delia's insistent little voice naming every object she saw and repeating it until someone confirmed her genius.

3. Sitting in the girls' dark bedroom holding them in my lap. They didn't nap well. They cried off and on through the whole thing. And when I finally went in to find them still tired and splotchy-faced, they sat on my lap and just laid on my chest. I kissed their heads over and over and whispered into their wispy hair how much I loved them. To which Josie looked up into my eyes and put her pudgy little hand on my cheek and just  held it there for a while. 

It was a rough day for all of us. I know their cries are little distress signals. I try to receive and decipher them and treat them with the gentleness and love they are asking for. Tonight I'm filled with gratitude that tomorrow is a new day and that I have the chance to recharge a little before it starts.