40 Day Challenge, Day 34: Welcome

hiding boyBegin with the Prayer of Abandonment. 

Every morning, we welcome in the day with something akin to a whimper and a squabble, the unfortunate combination of one morning person in a house with three night owls. On weekends, Sarah chatters and prances around the breakfast table as the rest of us glare balefully from behind our teacups and breakfast cereal.

Please, just make it stop. I had about 5.2 seconds of REM sleep last night . . .

Weekdays at Chez Saxton follow a fairly predictable schedule. At 6:00, Sarah bounces out of bed, ready to greet the world, and spends the next thirty minutes poking around, trying to find various articles of clothing that “room fairies” have mislaid during the night: pants (clean ones are worth their weight in gold), mismatched socks, empty homework folder, and shoes. Invariably it takes two or three fashion parades before she settles on the dress-code outfit that was laid out on her bed the night before.

I stumble out of bed, let out the dog, and make my way to the kitchen to whip up lunches and breakfasts, give the kids their medicine, and stumble back to the bedroom to uproot my husband from the sheets. I then dress for work and carpool duty.

On the days that I manage to get four or more hours of sleep, the short drive to school is a pleasant one. I put on some Keith Green or Second Chapter of Acts (“Hymns”) and I talk about the cloud formations or the family of geese that has taken residence in the pond near the school. Sometimes I just tell stories about when they were little. Everyone is happy, cooperative, and ready to greet the day.

On the days that I get less than my full quota of zzzzzzs, the mood in the car is a very different one. Kids snarl as I implore them to please not to add to my headache. Hats, gloves, and homework completely disappear. Medicine is left on the breakfast table, necessitating another run to school to deliver whatever was left behind. Those geese had better step lively as they cross the road, or someone is going to lose a tail feather.

Have you ever noticed how your family’s mood is determined in no small part by your own? Wives and mothers are the heart of the family home. We are the harbingers of beauty and grace — even with bed head and morning breath, we are the ones who either elevate the hearts of our family, or summon a dark cloud overhead.

At the end of the day, we get to do it all over again. The kitchen is Ground Zero of family life, where all the senses can feast on the aroma of dinner, the sound of music, the pretty arrangement of candles or flowers with the dishes, a nibble of something sweet or savory — this daily dose of beauty form memories that will stay with them for life. How do I know? If I close my eyes, I can still remember the feeling of coming home, the aroma of soup and bread and my father’s pipe tobacco smoke.

Is your home a place your sweetheart wants to come home to? Are you as welcoming as you were that first year of marriage.

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