Well lets just say the week started off brighter and more sparkly than the end of the week. Mark has begun his new job which is going well and we all did great the first 2 days home.Then they all had to come with me to ladies bible study on Wednesday morning. While that did not in itself present any problems as they got to play in the Little Gem’s room and have a ball doing so, the disruption to routine began to take the week of course. This was followed yesterday by Zog having an osteopath appointment and again the other two needing to come. Again the appointment itself was not an issue as they all love her place and the toys they can play with. Zog made it plain and clear to all on the way home he had no intention of going to Pitville park for our nature walk. Thankfully Emma the star of the day was able to give Bob a lift so he did not there and then fall apart. That has happened today. Zog though of course decided that at 3:15 just before Bob was due back that infact he REALLY DID WANT to go to the park. ARGHH
Our week saw our numbers increase as we included Justinian and Theodora, Emperor and Empress of the Byzantine Empire who changed outfits as regularly as Kanga does.
The new routine of Mark at work with new fixed hours is new for all of us as a family and is going to take time to get used to. So my pride of how well we were all doing on Tuesday is getting some reshaping. I am also shattered at this end of the week and while we have much to be thankful for in sleep from the children for once, there is still a big adjustment going on for us all. Mark asked me if I was alright with him going out last night to a meeting and I said yes but in hindsight with all that was going on for both myself and especially Bob having him come home and then turn round and go out again was too much this week and we are reflecting that today in the choices we are making.
My intention was to pick up with lessons this morning and keep going but the break in routine and the lack of bread for toast which was on the printed menu on the fridge(to keep me on track not a must do rule)along with porridge was the last straw for Bob and he and I have not only not been on the same page for reading but not in the same book. He needs his routine and if something like a menu is written down then it must be followed otherwise the world itself tilts off its axis as far as he is concerned. We also have some fun trips out planned for the weekend and as so often happens with hopes he then blows off because he cannot believe they will really happen so why risk hoping when you can just mess up big time and lose the possibility of the trip out so you can get on without needing to hope. This breaks my heart beyond words. He is only 6, he shouldn’t need to worry, he should be able to look forward and hope. I remember the first time I saw hope disappear from him. He was two and we had just lost Elisabeth and Noah a few months before that. His friends were all having siblings and he was not and he really wanted a baby. I remember him holding our friends’ second child and his eyes filled with joy and sadness because this was what even in those tender years wanted. And hindsight can tell me all this but sadly in the moment I fight back, longing for reasoning, longing for a way in to his hurt but lashing out desperate to reach him and failing completely. Along the way other moments of hope not realised have built up and on days like today that shows.
But that little boy who wanted to have a sibling has been amazing this week. Kanga who is very much her Daddy’s girl has gravitated to Bob in new ways this week. It is his hand she holds when we are out walking the in the village and last night at bedtime when they all had a sleep over it was his hand she went to sleep holding. He has taken all this in his stride as though it is the most natural event ever. In the moments of everyday play there can be the usual sibling rivalry but in the moments of security and tenderness sought out then he has been right there for her never questioning it and clearly loving being able to provide for her in those ways.
We didn’t know when this week of Mark starting work was going to happen till just before so there was little time to prepare, to think through and so as with Bob when my plans and expectations get messed up I react, i dive deeper and ever deeper into the routine and schedule that I have drawn up and cling to it desperately while using the other arm to stay afloat by whatever means I can think of. It makes it a hard place to be a small child when the adult is flailing too in a new situation. I heard a single woman recently talking about how she is using this time to prepare herself for her hope of being married one day, sorting out her finances and debts, of going through counselling to reduce the baggage she would bring into a marriage. it was the first time i heard someone so clearly articulate that and I wish I had had the courage to do likewise, as I think it would significantly change I parent.
Next week is going to be another week of disruption with dental and hospital appointments and an interview. I need to take some time this weekend to pray and think through what we can aim to achieve this next week and cut us all some slack. I want to give my children reason to hope, to let them dream, I also know how crucial routine is and work out ways to help them when that is unavoidably disrupted.
In the meantime we come back to the cross, to repentance and forgiveness and taste God’s grace and mercy (bread plaited by the boys) and enjoy the beauty of the autumnal colours caught in Bob’s bowl he made over our break.