Every morning after Greg leaves I fly around the upstairs like a tornado for an hour, making beds, wiping toothpaste out of the sinks, and throwing in a load of laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry. I have measured the degree of change the addition of each child has brought to our family by the size of the laundry pile. When Chloe arrived, it was really no big deal. I still had my whites, my darks, my delicates, and my towels - there were just a few extra pink sleepers and tiny dresses thrown in. She was one neat baby. She wasn't a spitter, never had those awful poop explosions that seemed to plague other mothers, and was a dainty little bib-wearing eater. When the twins arrived - forget about it. I am not exaggerating when I say that two extra children quadrupled my laundry pile, and then some. In November of 2006 I disappeared at the bottom of an endless pile of burp cloths and crusty sleepers, and emerged dazed and confused about eighteen months later with an excel spreadsheet and a fierce determination to control the laundry, lest it control me. Predictably, Charlie's additions to the laundry pile have been taken in stride.
Lately, I've realized that I've been muttering a bit as I throw in the jeans or fold the tiny underwear or hang up yesterday's dress that she was supposed to hang up herself. I can feel so unappreciated some times. They just expect that there will be clean socks when they open the drawer - they have no idea how much work goes into it! A few days ago as I was mid-mutter, God gave me a little nudge. When I do the work He's given me to do gladly, for Him rather than for the praise of others, He blesses that. I walked away from the laundry pile and spent some time in prayer and confession. A few hours later I walked past my room, saw it still heaped up on my bed, and remembered that it wasn't going to fold itself.
I noticed with fresh eyes how tiny Charlie's little duck socks are. My goodness, baby feet are cute. It won't be long before my boy will be refusing to wear socks with yellow mallards on them.
I picked up the battered 4T jeans and rubbed the weathered knees to gauge how many more wears we could get before the holes started to appear. I pictured all the hours of sliding and skidding and kneeling down in front of matchbox cars that created those worn knees. And I've been there for all of those hours, drinking in my children at these ages, reveling in their curiosity, listening to all of their little stories as they play.
I hung up the sweet yellow and white dress with the tie in the back that I bought this past spring at a consignment sale for $15, too much for a dress from consignment. I couldn't resist, though, as I pictured my sweet little girl running barefoot in it, her blond curls flying. I have loved every minute of watching her from our deck as she wanders around the back yard, singing, dancing, pretending she is Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Last year I taught my kids a scripture I seem to have forgotten myself. Whatever work I find to do each day should be done as for the Lord, and not for the praise of men. Try it. He'll bless you for it.
"Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn't cover up bad work."Colossians 3:22-25