Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Fair Time

Today is the day when all the wannabe agrarians come to the town's fairgrounds and drop off all there 4-H-ish best.

While I love seeing my little ones be creative, this day is a nightmare to me.

Oh I know. I can hear you "Barbara. Don't be a stick in the mud. Let your children blossom and create and be rewarded for their hardwork."

I know. That's why I not only feel exhausted from filling out entry forms for an hour with 7 children standing patiently by me in a teeny little hot room but I also feel guilt.

See, my life, so far, is summed up as a struggle with laziness and procrastination. It has also been one of the counting the cost and determining that most things aren't worth the effort.


Because I do not want my children to grow up dealing with those sins (I figure they can be creative and come up with their own), I figure I will encourage them to do things like this which are messy, time consuming, and have very little reward at the end other than the joy of a job well done (which, I know, should really be enough).

Yesterday we skipped school to finish our projects: Lots of crayon, marker, and pencil crayon drawings, glitter glue, homemade cookies, quilting, knitting, Mr.Potato Heads (made with organic potatoes thank you very much...), decorated eggshells, handmade bracelets, macaroni picture frames, and a gift basket for a shut in.

Fantastic. It all looked great, the kids had a blast, and it kept everyone occupied for hours yesterday.

Of course today we had to get up early to drive my husband to work so we could have the car, then come home and eat breakfast and give the baby a nap and do final touches on macaroni picture frames and have a bath and feed the baby and then get everyone in the car to go to the store to buy paper plates for the cookies and then cram into the room to fill out a gagillion tags.

Problem 1. the 6 year old trips entering said room and hurts her toe and break 2 hand painted egg shells.

Problem 2. I wore a sweater because I forgot how stinkin' hot it was last year in that little room.

Problem 3. This is a small town and I know every other person who enters the room who all want to look at the baby and tell me how cute he is and how big and can you believe he's only 7 months! and how long has your two year old had glasses....nice to catch up, but I'M WORKIN' HERE!!! (Note to self: must pray for the spirit of 'social graces').

Problem 4. My kids are brilliantly fantastically patient. E (6 yo) is occupying the 2year old, M (9 yo) is making sure I fill out the forms right, J (8 yo) is reading to the other two (7 yo A and 4 yo C) and baby Z is just as content and peaceable as ever. Wait, you say, how is this a problem? Read on for the application and life lesson of my day:

Life lesson: I have nothing to complain about. And yet here I am complaining. I have industrious, loving, helpful children who want to use the creativity the Lord has given them. And all I want to do is gripe and complain about how this is taking too long and I want a cup of tea. Praise the Lord that He shut my mouth and kept me smiling outwardly. I managed to not show the kids the internal grump I had going on.

What was that I said the other day about looking to the interests of others? Yup. I tanked today...inwardly anyway. And since the Lord does not look at the outward appearance but rather at my heart, I'm guessing I won't be getting a red ribbon for my performance today.

Lord please let me learn from my children to be diligent and peaceable in all things. Help me to be willing to put out my best effort even when it is clear that others have done and will do better than me. Help me to want to work hard joyfully instead of doing it with this stinkin' self-centered, appetite driven grump in which I am currently wallowing.

How much of life am I missing out on enjoying because I am constantly weighing out if the effort is worth the enjoyment?

But as a Tommy Walker song says: There's still hope for me today, because the God of Heaven loves me. And that is worth everything.


onfire in PNG said...

well, my dear, I KNOW that your kids are thrilled they got to do this again, seeing as it may be their last year. J was going to go for man of the future this year. em alrit. besides, you don't want the red ribbon. that is only second place ...

Serene in Singapore said...

Hi! I popped by from Heart on the Matter and I must say yo must be my long lost twin! Your posts on homeschooling (read the archives) had me in stitches. They were posts I could have written if I had the guts to show all what I think!

I am also constantly weighing in on the supposed benefits of a n activity. So we end up mostly home :(

And yes, I have 7 children too!

Only caveat - I am in SINGAPORE (no, not part of China. Part of South East Asia, a teeny weeny island between Indonesia and Malaysia).