We had to be there by 9:45. This was a stretch on a Saturday morning for this slow-moving, like-to-stay-in-our-jammies-all-day kind of family.
We were behind schedule and not surprisingly, running 5-10 minutes late.
Then we were re-routed due to a home football game (one of the few negatives of living in a Big Ten college town) and it was Homecoming.
So instead of 5-10 minutes late, we were 30 minutes late.
And my friend who was waiting for us thought we forgot.
We didn’t and she waited and all ended up being well but while in the car there was frustration.
Children began to get hungry.
I didn’t bring snacks (I know – what kind of a mother forgets snacks when having photos taken? Obviously, this one.)
Sighs from an irritated husband.
Worry in me – did I get everyone ready for nothing?
We arrrive to grace and I exhale and the photos begin right away – with three children under six, you never know how long you have before someone melts.
I remember hearing Dr. Kevin Lehman speak on birth order a few years ago and was astounded at the accuracy in which he described each position. Famous youngest children? Chevy Chase. Steve Martin. Billy Crystal.
I think we have a comedian on our hands. Not surprisingly, he’s the youngest.
And as I viewed these shots, I was struck.
If I didn’t know any better, I might think we’re a family that has it all together.
But the reality is that the kids bicker. They tattle. I’m often tired and snap more than I should. My husband feels stress and carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.
And while we are most certainly not a Norman Rockwell family, we are a family that loves. Despite the tantrums from children – and mommy. Despite the frequent tattling or the snippy words between parents now and then in front of the kids. Despite the you-name-it.
But we are not perfect. We fall and we need Jesus desperately.
The pictures we often see are our best foot forward, the”front porch” we reveal to the world, the PR-friendly version.
There’s usually so much more behind the smiles.
So I clutch this little one, this one that is every bit of three, this one who likes to test boundaries and can utilize his dimples. This one who can push my weary buttons and melt my heart at the same moment.
I force him to sit with me for just a moment because I know there will be a day when it will be weird to have a photo like this of him sitting on my lap.
I hold him tightly because sometimes we are at a stand-off though you wouldn’t know it by this photo.
And I giggle over our story, he and I. The story behind our smiles.
So much to be ever grateful for as the countdown continues. Thank you, God, for:
621. Our stories behind our smiles- the good, the bad, and the ugly.
622. Your sufficient grace and mercy
623. The smell of fresh pine
624. Christmas decorations
625. Date night with my favorite guy
626. Thin Places by Mary DeMuth
627. A much-wiser mentor that helps to guide my path along with Him
628. A precious friend that holds me accountable
629. Encouraging words from readers I cherish, who pull me out of my shell and listen to my heart
630. Three children in bed with a mama and daddy on a rainy Sunday morning.
This week may we see the front porch and marvel at it’s beauty but then remember there are other rooms in the house we see. Rooms of clutter. Rooms that need work. Rooms that are less than desirable.
But rooms that are real.