… I’d awake to the smell of strong coffee already brewing in the kitchen;
… I’d be able to roll over and pull up the covers for a few more minutes, with the blissful knowledge that this morning, the first in a long time, I am not in charge;
… I’d hear the twitter of three excited little voices in the living room, saying, “C’mon, let’s go sing her ‘Happy Birthday’!” “No, Dad said we can’t wake her up!” “But I wanna give her our present!” “Shh, she might hear you. We're not supposed to tell her we got her pot holders!” “Mama! Mama? Mama, where are you? Mama!” (that’s my two-year-old);
… I’d finally admit defeat and get up, realizing I do not have my husband’s ability to sleep like Rip Van Winkle through the hullabaloo;
… I’d open our bedroom door and take exactly four steps forward before three sets of feet come charging down the hall: “Mama! Mama! Happy birthday!” Then I’d walk ponderously the rest of the way into the kitchen like an eight-legged race, with all three kids hanging off my pajamas.
… I’d be quickly ushered to the kitchen table by children whose hands are smeared with telltale marker smudges, urging, “C’mon, Mom, open your cards!" "Open mine first!”
…I’d strengthen my finger muscles by prying off twenty strips of Scotch tape from each of the handmade, folded cards and then let the kids gleefully pull the tissue paper off the gift bag to reveal the pot holders I asked for . . . oh! and a fun gift from my husband—my favorite sweet treat, Little Debbie Nutty Bars (or as I sometimes affectionately refer to them, “my freshman fifteen”).
… I’d swat away three sets of fingers from my precious box of Nutty Bars: “No! These are Mommy’s!” Pleeeeeeeease, Mom! Sigh. “Oh, okay. We’ll all have some later today.” After all, Nutty Bars are much better when shared, and that way I won’t feel as guilty for splurging.
… I’d drive my oldest child to first grade and then return home to find the kitchen clean and my husband watching our younger two kids playing in the backyard. He'd greet me with a kiss and offer an unexpected gift: a few minutes alone with my laptop, to finally start the blog I've been talking about wanting to write for months now.
Ah, if only every day could be my birthday! Sometimes, I admit, I awake so bleary-eyed that it’s hard for me to see past the piles of laundry, pressing book deadlines, and seemingly endless demands of ministry. But on days like these, God opens my eyes to see this beautiful mess as a gift of His grace. Those piles of laundry are from my amazing, adoring husband and our three incredible, spunky kids who show me a little more about His love every day. Those pressing book deadlines are God’s marvelous provision for our family, allowing me to stay home with the kids and still have my dream job—I get paid to read, edit, and write great books! And those ministry demands are far more than the details and dailyness of planting a church—they’re lives changed, marriages restored, and our community transformed by people who are coming to know our Savior and experience His love.
Thanks for the reminder, God. I needed that.
Oh, and one more small request: when the kids and I break into that box of Nutty Bars in a little while, could you please keep them from going straight to my hips this time? Just this once?