This afternoon and tonight weren't the easiest we've ever had.... Parenting of teens, especially in complex situations, isn't for the faint of heart. When one says, "I'm doing my presentation alone because no one wanted to be my partner" and you know that not only did it sting, she's also scared to be alone in front of the class and while most kids would think to just ask the teacher if, since the number was odd, she could make a group of three, she would not think of that.... it hurts a mama's heart. When you butt heads with one over and over and over and it finally comes out in a fit of rage and words and weeping and explanations and justifications and at last, hugs and tears and promises.... it tires a mama's heart. When you are in the car for 2 hours straight, rushing from one activity to the next, ending the night with a final one, then handling everyone's different issues.... it wears down a mama's heart. This mama's heart is feeling fragile tonight. I would not regret your prayers for my heart, my children's (all five) hearts, our family connections, and some Sabbath rest and restoration. Nothing huge, just a lot of big feelings in some medium-sized people. Being a teenager is hard enough. Being a teenager with extra challenges and dynamics and complications is terribly unfair. And I need to be able to mom them without being so emotionally bogged down in all of it.
But in that vagueness, I was very specific about my prayer requests and one was for family connections and Sabbath rest and restoration.
I live in East Tennessee. It snows here in December...... uh, pretty close to NEVER. I had heard rumblings early in the week and last weekend about snow, so I checked the forecast before bed last night. Nada. Nothing. Not a chance. Not a flake. I got up this morning, resolved to have a good day and start fresh from yesterday, then checked the forecast: Snow. Every hour starting at 10 AM. 80% chance. 1-3 inches accumulation. I felt in my gut that it was going to be true.
I went to school and around 10:15, it started to snow. I got Francisco out of class and took him outside to see snow for the first time, a moment I don't think he nor I will ever forget. He reacted in exactly the way I had hoped he would and I was able to capture it on video.
As the morning wore on, the snow continued. First just little flurries, then big ones, then a full on dumping of snow. And the grass started to cradle it and the trees started to don their winter formals. The childlike joy and excitement that only snow can bring started to spread from students to adults alike. And then came the call that everyone anxiously awaits, word that school was letting out early for the day. And that's when I realized what God had given to me.... an opportunity, an almost UNPRECEDENTED opportunity, for family connections and Sabbath rest and restoration.
So here I sit tonight, snuggled on one couch under blankets with two of my girls while Kraig and the boys fill the other and Kelsey sits across from us, wrapped in a blanket with her feet entwined with ours on the ottoman. So far today and tonight, there have been hot chocolate stops on the way home, snowball fights, naps on the couch, reading, wii playing, a delicious family dinner (that none of us had to cook-- thanks, Whitney!), and lots of tv watching while the lights of the Christmas tree bathe us in wonder.
Last night wasn't awful. But it was emotional and tiresome and draining. And with just a whisper to my Father and some prayers from the Saints, He sent the most peaceful and unexpected gift of snow to provide us with our Sabbath rest tonight.