Don't Do A Photo Shoot When Daddy's Gone.

Matt has been traveling for business this month which means I've gotten a little taste of single parenthood. Me no likes it. You single parents out there: I'M NOT WORTHY AND YOU TOTALLY ROCK!

When Matt is gone, the children gravitate to my bed at night. They sleep hard and I hardly sleep. James kicked me in his sleep and shouted things like: "STOP CHASING THE CATS!" Jude sniffled and snuffled, Jewel's asthma woke her up coughing, the babies woke up and yowled for bottles.

Every morning I was a red-eyed, grouchy monster who couldn't be spoken to until I was hooked up to a coffee IV.

I can't imagine living like this every day, every year, always. I can't imagine walking this life alone.

When Matt is gone, I strip the schedule down to basic necessities. We eat, we play, we sleep. We don't do playdates and unless someone is dying, we don't do doctor's appointments. We sure as heck don't do the Christmas photo shoot.

I need to remember this for next time.

If you do a photo shoot when Daddy's gone, your Christmas photo will look like this:


What you can't see is me jumping around rattling off a barrage of commands, "HOLD THAT BABY STILL! JUDE STOP! JAMES STOP! HEY, IS ANYONE LISTENING TO MEEEEEEE?"

What you can see is Jewel looking at me like: Hey, Mom? What's that about gentle, kind speech?

Yep, I'm a sinner and my kids know it.

This past weekend has helped me accept that being a good mother isn't about doing everything right, or looking good in front of other people. It's not about the perfect Christmas card, or a precisely organized house. In fact, it's not even about being "ready" for motherhood.

If I had waited until I was "ready" to become a mother, I would still be childless. I was 22 when I had my first baby. I didn't know much and we didn't have much either. Those were the days we scraped together pocket change to share a frozen yogurt. But what we've always had is a huge helping of God's grace and enough love for second, third, fourth, fifth helpings. Isn't that all you really need?

We're not perfect, but we love the Lord and each other. Sometimes we even put on a free, crazy show for the neighbors. I should charge for stuff like this:


When I just relax, go with the flow and stop trying to control everything, I'm pleasantly surprised. God works things out much better than I ever could.

Sometimes, grace things happen all by themselves: