We are in the market for a house. It sounds fun, but it’s not. Three simple requirements: livable, within the budget, and in a safe neighborhood. You’d think I was asking for the moon.
With these three standards in mind, we pile into the van for another evening of house hunting…
Shortly down the road and feeling sympathetic toward the already impatient passengers, I pass the older kids a piece of gum. (An ingenious idea that worked really well until someone got a little zealous in their bubble blowing ability and blew their gum onto the floor.)
A banana for the baby was probably not the best idea, and the GPS says we are lost…
I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I just asked my child to please growl quieter or that my husband just winked at me when I turned back around from wiping banana off of the car seat, but this is so laughable.
We are so far removed from put-togetherness, you’d think we were the Clampetts pulling into the driveway of yet another empty house.
I feel like a mess. Literally. I made it out the door with ziplock bags of sliced apples for the kids, and a bag of diapers just in case, yet somehow neglected to wipe off the mascara residue from under my eyes and clip back those dad-gum fly-away hairs that never fit into my ponytail.
Good thing our house-buying ability is not affected by my looks, or we might be in trouble.
Mr. Coppertop and I grin at each other over the noise in the backseat. He’s my partner in crime and is many times the reason I can laugh in these moments instead of cry. I search the glovebox, hopeful for a napkin, and have this crazy thought…
I feel an odd sort of freedom that comes with being content with this imperfection.
I wipe sticky banana off my fingers, take a deep, resolute breath, and open the door. Who cares if the realtor looks at us with wide eyes…
I’m at a new stage of life I’ve never been before. It all happened so fast. I’m a mom with three small kids. It messy, fun, unpredictable, humbling, and fulfilling. I don’t wake every morning to impress people, I simply wake every morning to get little people dressed, and help get breakfast on the table.
Granted, it would be nice to feel a little more put-together, and keep the front of my shirt clean for longer than a few minutes. But there’s something really beautiful about giving myself to others, being exhausted because of it, and seeing eyes that love me all the more for it.
We pile out and back in again for the third time. The apple slices have run out and so has the baby’s patience.
I’m learning a little secret to survival in moments like this…let go. No matter how hard you try, you cannot plan for every eventuality. With small kids, meltdowns, potty breaks, tiredness, and messes are just part and parcel. You can get frustrated when it all falls apart or you can ride the waves and catch the thrill when you can.
Sometimes this choice feels like it’s not my own. I can’t say cleaning crusting banana off a car seat was included in my evening plans. However, letting go of perfect kids and perfect hair while we search for the perfect house has opened the door to a place that I truly want to be: in the moment…
Jessica Doebler is a Christ-follower, full-time mommy of three, and has been married to her sweetheart for twelve years. While she is knee-deep in housework, dirty diapers, and wet kisses she likes to spend nap-time snacking on chocolate, and sharing life with other moms.
You can find her at www.inspirethemom.com or follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest.