When I was young, my mom had a book called Don't Sweat the Small Stuff.
That title would come back to me many times in the years since I last saw it.
Indeed it has.
What I didn't remember about the title of the book until I looked it up today was what followed in parentheses.
(it's all small stuff).
In my lack of sleep and coming down from the most-stressful-year-of-my-life-haze, I have been sweating a lot of small stuff. (oh, who am I kidding, I've been a race horse in many ways for the last five years of my life. But I shouldn't be counting. That's silly).
Even today, I felt like my mind was spinning and my head was going berserk with the multitude of little things lying around, the crumbs on the floor, the baby needing a nap, the fact that I haven't put my bra on yet today. Yup.
By God's grace, the older three children came running in, faces flushed with excitement, limbs flailing and mouths flapping and chirping, all abuzz with the words that mark the arrival of summer:
the ice cream truck is here!
I remember when I was a mama of only one, and then two - when we heard the ice cream truck, I taught them to leap into action. You hear that cheesy music? Yell for money, get out there, get a treat! It won't be here long! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!
Run like the wind, child - run!
What fun. But - it's almost lunchtime, then nap time, and I need that time to get things in order for friends coming over for coffee this evening - and the return of the man of the house later this evening. (hooray!) Hm. Ice cream truck equals lots of money (lots of little mouths want expensive sweet treats), and if they get them my daytime schedule is thrown off and then what?
I tell you, it didn't take me long to decide what I needed to do. It didn't even take looking at their faces. I told you it was by the grace of God - He settled my heart, my mind, my schedule - and told me I was the Mama. And they are children. It's okay. I need to relax.
I knew what I had to do. I had to tell them where money was so they could go blow it quickly, and enjoy slurping up every last cent of sugar laden frozen deliciousness.
(thank goodness the daddy's not here. he goes a lot less for the ice cream truck than this mama does.)
But the ice cream truck is not the point I need to make today. The excitement is.
Or more truthfully, the lack of excitement these past months is what is begging to be talked about.
At church yesterday, our pastor spoke of Elijah suffering after years of running on adrenaline. He spoke of how a person can only do that so long. After years of adrenaline induced go go go go go
... it leads to a shut down, compassion fatigue, depression, exhaustion.
And when you feel that fatigue - you need to rest. You need to take your peace, and lean on Him.
guess where I am?
it's my precious boy's first birthday tomorrow.
and I have yet to even dress myself today.
I am fatigued.
I am tired.
I am sweating so much small stuff I don't even know where to begin.
So I started with the ice cream truck.
Next I will get dressed.
My little sweet can't-believe-you're-one-tomorrow baby still needs a nap, but I will be ready this evening when our friends come for coffee. And it will be okay. Because like I talked about here, when people see that other people live in their homes, too* - it makes things feel normal for everyone else.
*note - 'live in their homes, too' means 'you mean your house gets crazy, too?'
I thought for a moment for illustration's sake, I'll take a picture of Egan's mess at the desk where she set up her homework... and when I saw the photo, I literally gasped with the realization of how not crazy it was.
two brothers wearing their sister's hand-me-down sun hats in the backyard. nobody's sweatin' a single thing.
It really is all small stuff. Naps, crumbs, schedules, whether or not your kids, your house, your dishes or your hair are clean and impeccably presentable - it's all small stuff.
Don't sweat it. But even in that, don't sweat not sweating it. To me, this means don't let it get too crazy (like I do) or else it takes up permanent residence in my brain where it becomes the boss and imprisons me behind a wall of it's just too much I don't even know where to begin...
Just relax. Breathe. Snuggle a sweet faced child or two, and do one thing. Lean into Him, your heavenly Father, the One who knows you and feels your pain above everyone else. The One who loves you so much more than you know, more than you deserve, more than you can even comprehend.
My biggest boy just walked in and informed me that this afternoon, the consumption of his frozen treat was one of the 8th greatest moments of his life. He told me 'did you know as soon as I finished that Mega Missile that the world got a little bit brighter?'
Ah, I need to remember that. Frozen treats, summer, sugary goodness, excitement, fun on a holiday, lean on the everlasting arms. I need to remember my own words. And remember I am never alone in my fatigue, my adrenaline let-down. And neither are you.
Run like the wind, child. Run.
Don't sweat the small stuff. (and it's all small stuff).