I could feel the dark circles around my eyes and I hadn’t even looked in the mirror yet. I woke up tired because the night before, I’d partied like it was 1999.
I executed my brilliant idea of putting the clothes through the machines then mass piling them in a tangled heap on my bed to fold and hang later. The original laundry mountain happened two days before. I’d already moved Mt. Everest to the floor once, deemed it invisible and in complete denial climbed into bed. So last night, I had to face my demons. And truth: fairy godmothers are NOT real. They don’t clean your home and magic wand together a pretty dress – that you’ll need to iron yourself. (Also, to be noted: I like to recycle this lesson. It’s more fun not to learn it the first time.)
So, I overslept and started my day out feeling rushed. I packed my kids’ lunches, addressed boxes to be mailed, dropped my kids off at school only to realize my oldest son was supposed to have arrived early and I forgot. (“Son, why is your 5th-grade crossing guard partner out there without you? Oh…wait…”) Then, after working all day, I picked up my three boys from school, ran to the bank, then to the store…and so on. You get it. You’ve been there, too.
At the last errand of my forever day, I waited by the gym for my son to finish basketball. I opened social media and saw a quote posted by a friend:
“There is something so holy in that moment when you fall into bed after serving your family, after working to support your family… just totally spent, poured out for others. What I like to call ‘beautifully exhausted.’ You have unselfishly fulfilled your God-given role and calling for that day, as your act of worship toward the One who created the uniquely gifted you. In that moment when you close your eyes, ‘beautifully exhausted,’ know that God sees you as altogether, wonderfully, entirely and only beautiful.” - Author Unknown
Fresh air blew through my mind as I soaked in the encouragement.
Finally, my son emerged his basketball tucked under one hand, his water bottle swinging in the other. We headed home to the bedtime routine. With the last tuck-in, a stillness fell over our home.
Which meant I finally had a chance to hang out alone with my husband - to unpack my thoughts, watch mindless television, or read from the pile of books I’m always halfway through.
What all moms need was so close…
Time to refuel was almost at my fingertips…
Our kindergartner shakily called for me, “Mom, what do you do when you can’t get bad thoughts out of your head?”
My sweet boy was convinced a crocodile was going to crawl into his bed and eat him. “Son, we don’t live near crocodiles.”
Fearful eyes looked back at me. We peered out the window at the snowy tundra, but I still couldn’t convince him that even if a crocodile made it north to Minnesota, it would freeze. So, we snapped on the light and pulled out some books. I snuggled him close and read. And read. With each turn of the page, we pushed his scary thoughts further away. Then I kissed his sleepy head, tucked the soft covers around him, and whispered a prayer for fear to leave my precious boy alone.
My evening me-time slipped through my fingers. Finally, I crawled into bed on my very last fumes. Completely exhausted. But…
Cheryl Donely writes faith-based encouragement for moms of tweens/teens at Empowered Moms and Kids. Sign up here to get 10+ empowering freebies just for moms of older kids. You can also find Empowered Moms and Kids on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.