So anyways... just prior to her visit, I go over the basic rules of conduct very slowly, lovingly, and thoroughly with my three oldest. They had it down pat. They knew the drill. We were ready! I kid you not, as soon as we heard that "knock knock knock" on the door, my children magically morphed into someone else's kids. All rules and etiquette went right out the window. I basically spent our entire visit "putting out fires", referee-ing, separating, reminding, disciplining, chasing... At one point, I stopped and realized the house was "too quiet" (if you know what I mean) only to realize Benjamin was still awaiting discipline in my bedroom. (He'd been in there at least 10 minutes!) I decided to give him grace because I'd completely forgotten what I'd sent him in there for! Poor kid. Then came lunch, which was an adventure in itself. All table etiquette was gone! They were eating like animals/cramming huge quantities of food in their mouths, talking with their mouths full, interrupting, belching and making a big production out of it rather than discreetly saying "excuse me", up and down fidgiting... Benjamin was jokingly threatening our guest with a cheese curl, making gun sounds and saying "you dead!". Cassandra dissected her sandwich and was literally licking the mayo and mustard off the bread rather than eating it. There was a lingering smell of poo in the air from the diaper that got changed during meal prep. (Try eating a sandwich to that!) And all the while little Edmund was screaming like a banchee because he wanted to eat his lunch too but had to wait.
To be completely honest, I was dreadfully embarrassed by my children's display of folly. Granted, they were thrilled to have a daytime visitor to break up our ordinary routine, but at the expense of completely forgetting nearly everything RD and I have worked to the bone to instill into their hearts and minds.
We all breathed a sigh of relief when my crazy bunch of kids, I mean dear precious children, went down for Quiet Time and we experienced our first moment of silence. Unfortunately, that's when my friends' little girl awoke from her nap (how she slept through the chaos I'll never know!) and decided she was hungry... but the next bottle was at home so they had to pack up and leave. :-( Figures...
As we were saying our goodbye's and I was seeing her out the door with my tail ducked between my legs with embarrassment, a strange and unsuspecting thing occurred. My new friend said "thank you... this visit was... refreshing." Huh? She went on to say that it was encouraging to meet another mother that's worn similar shoes to her own, one that has "normal" children (that's up for debate), and one that has problems and difficult circumstances of their own.
Who would have ever guessed that my house of chaos could have been a resting place, a respite for a stressed out new mom. It was humbling... and yet encouraging. No mom has the perfect home. No mom has the perfect family. We are all desperately in need of God's grace, wisdom, and direction. Apart from Him we can do nothing.
Be encouraged, moms... we're all being sanctified through our children. That's part of the "blessing".