If you have read my recent post about learning to juggle life with four kiddos, then you know that life is pretty chaotic here sometimes. Today actually started out as a very good day. School went quickly and smoothly, the housework was coming along great, and everyone was decently quiet for naptime. We have small group on Monday evenings and this week we were meeting here, which means I had lots of motivation to get the whole house clean (something I like to do at the beginnings of my week anyway). And it was all going so smoothly until Elise went to choir practice. This happens every Monday, but it is a little bit of a pain not to have my most helpful child during the last hour or so of prep before people show up here. I had cleaned most of the downstairs and only had the upstairs to do. The main issue with cleaning upstairs is always the boys’ room. They are horrible at cleaning it and I can talk at them until I’m blue in the face and they just do not seem capable of making much progress on their own. Which is frustrating. While they were working hard, sort of, in their room, I cleaned the stairs, the nursery and my own room (which took awhile because their mess had somehow overflowed into my room). By this time, I needed to start the soup for supper and I was tired of continually having to tell them what to do every five minutes in order for anything to get done. So I told them to keep at it while I headed down to the relative quiet of the kitchen to make supper.
Dietrich, of course, followed me. Through all of the chaos of cleaning upstairs he had been there, but I hadn’t really paid much attention to him. Now it was just him and me getting supper ready. This is one of Dietrich’s favorite times of day because he loves food. He always wants to see what I’m making and then gives me a very appreciative “mmmm.” As I worked on supper and Dietrich busied himself with something in the corner, I started thinking through what I could possibly put in a blog post today. I know I’ve missed several days and I don’t want to stress about doing this every day, but I really do want to be intentional about finding beauty in the everyday. And since chaos is often a part of my day, I was trying to decide what was beautiful in this chaotic process of housework and cooking.
And then I noticed what Dietrich was doing in his little corner. He’d pulled out a glass jar and was pretending to fill it with water at the refrigerator and then pour it into his bowl of cheerios. He was cooking, just like mommy. I went and got him a spoon and measuring cup, so I could put the glass jar away, and then of course had to get him a mixing bowl too because he wanted to stir the food on the stove with his long wooden spoon. Once I successfully distracted him from the hot stove he headed off into the pantry. Next thing I know he is trying to get a measuring cup of flour from the bag I keep in the pantry. Thankfully he couldn’t actually get into it, but he seemed content to pretend to empty several cupfuls into his mixing bowl. And as I watched him at his work I realized how much he is learning. Even when I think life is so chaotic that we are just surviving, my littlest son is actually thriving, growing and developing in new and exciting ways every day. Which means, that we probably all are.
Again, you have to really watch to see it. Who knows what all Dietrich had been practicing while I cleaned around him without ever really noticing him earlier. And if I really took the time to observe each of my kids would I see what they are learning in each day as well? And perhaps, if I am really observant I’d discover how much even I have grown in the midst of the chaos of my day. Growth, it isn’t always pretty, but it is beautiful.