My sister has a friend from her church named Sarah. And this friend now has four children under the age of three. She has a son who will be three in January, twins who are a year and a half, and a newborn who is only a few weeks old.
I have been reading Sarah's blog. And it is very unlike mine. Instead of ranting and raving a lot about how difficult it is to be a stay-at-home mother for a while, she talks about her faith and her spiritual journey. Lately, she referred back to a post she'd done a while ago called Hold Onto Peace. She said that when she and her husband decided to start a family, they decided that this time of raising their children would be a time of peace. And they bought a wooden dove to hang in their nursery to remind them.
I've read that post several times a few weeks ago and I've thought about it every single day since then. I guess because I rarely think about this time of raising my kids as one of peace. This morning, Cheerios are littered like land-mines all over the kitchen, while Amelia gags on the wrong end of a wooden spoon and Cole roars around the dining room table on a riding toy. Is this peace? After nap time when Cole wakes up cranky and crying and wakes up Amelia who then screams and when I try to put Cole on the toilet he does the "plank" in resistance, is this peace? At supper time, when Mark is negotiating with Cole to at least TRY the specially made mashed potatoes if he wants a chance at a cookie and I'm shovelling mush into Amelia's mouth but she's grabbing the bowl and smearing it on her face and her eyes and in her hair and now she's doing the "plank" and our gourmet meal is getting cold, is this peace? I look around several times a day at the discarded toddler socks in the kitchen and under the couch, at the crayons and stickers and playdough stuck to my son's knees, at the train tracks all over the coffee table, at the pile of Little People houses and buildings "hiding" behind the arm chair, at the mountain of picture books that my sons has removed from his book shelf, at the laundry folded into piles on the piano bench and the next load awaiting me in the laundry basket by the baby gate, at the scribbled to-do list next to this computer and I wonder, is this what peace looks like?
Sarah's house must surely look similar to mine. Even if she's the most diligent and organized house-keeper and mother, surely her children all cry in synchrony too and surely they wipe their boogers on the underside of the table too and surely, surely, SURELY there must be moments when she thinks she's losing her mind. Is this peace?
I guess peace can exist in small moments, snippits throughout your day when no one is talking or throwing anything or screaming. I guess it can happen when your kids are entranced in a television show instead of fighting over a toy and you and your husband exchange an appreciative glance across the table and finally have a chance to savour dinner. Peace can be a place you go to in your heart when you're standing in the mall and your son has thrown himself onto the ground in a screaming fit of rage over the injustice of not getting a second timbit. It can be an inner retreat and you can hold onto it with all your heart when the turmoil of being a parent rages around you.
Peace can be opening your front door and seeing your mother's enthusiastic smile and gently handing her your baby and going to have a shower.
We don't have a wooden dove in our nursery. But I guess sometimes, we do have peace too.