Traveling with young children has been so humbling for me.
We went out of town for several weeks for Christmas. Boy-oh-boy am I still glad to be home. Mostly because our Young Family Messiness is once again safely concealed behind our own front door.
Messy? Me and my young family?
The scene: Our dusty blue van pulls up after a four-and-a-half hour drive into my parents’ driveway. My mom walks out the back door to greet us, all smiles. Emma, my parents’ big golden lab, bounds out the back door to greet us as well. My sister’s enthusiastic Boston terrier Stella is streaking toward us like a furry black bullet. And then all of a sudden Gabriel has escaped from my arms and is shrieking with excitement and running around with the dogs like a puppy and my mom puts her arms out to take Faith and then is holding Faith out in front of her and running back into the house and back to the bathroom to change a liquidy blowout dripping down Faith’s left leg and Faith starts screaming because I’m running away from her back to the van to get the diaper bag and then I run into my sister and father then my other sister in a traffic jam in the kitchen and then Gabe is suddenly screaming and I’m gathering poop-filled pajamas and running back to the van again to get clean clothes out of the trunk for Faith and I realize I have to pee. Really bad.
I finally get to hug my mom and dad after Faith has clean clothes on and Gabriel has the Thomas the Train ice pack on his head from where he hit his head on the side of the kitchen table.
Mommy, I’m home!
Lunchtime starts informally when the kids both start whining and I realize they haven’t eaten in hours. There is some teary confusion over the misplacement of a sippee cup. We haven’t unloaded the van yet and so I have Faith on my lap, and two bites in she starts to spit out every bite I feed her and cries until I figure out all she wants in the whole entire world is the pink sippee cup with milk in it. Gabriel acts like he’s never had to say grace before in his life, and then he refuses to eat anything but baby trees and Michael puts his foot down about that and in the middle of the crying and timeouts we both try to keep up adult conversation with my sympathetic sisters sitting across from us who I’m praying still want to have kids one day after I go back to Houston.
I’m keeping it real, people.
Because in my house, being wife to Michael and mom to Gabriel and Faith is really amazing. But sometimes it’s really stinky. And really loud. And really frustrating. And really hard work. And really humbling.
It’s all part of it though.
I could choose to feel sorry for myself and complain about my husband and lose my patience with my kids and count the minutes until I can get away from it all.
Or I could say “yes” as often as it takes to letting all of the beauty and messiness of my vocation mold me into a better person.
I’m trying to stick with the latter, but I can’t say I’m as faithful to choosing virtue all the time as I wish I was. At least I think my sisters and brother still want to have kids after this past Christmas.
Copyright 2013 Erin Franco