Every so often, I find myself wondering just how I ended-up having two children bearing dispositions so different from my own.  Deep down, I know they are a lot like me at heart, only they live out loud, literally, while I tend to think quietly and process my thoughts through my writing.  When my boy and girl are excited or anxious, talking and activity are taken to a whole new level.  With every crayon stroke, my boy describes each little detail of his drawings.  “Do you see the furnace, Mommy?  It is down in the basement.  Look at the stairs!  There are two sets, Mommy.  One is small and hidden!  Does this house look like it’s been taken care of?  Which one do you like best, Mommy?”  “How about talking in your head for a while?”  I suggest.  “You can tell me all about your drawing when you finish.”  Across the table, my girl performs acrobats on and around the kitchen chair while offering a laborious explanation for why she needs an umbrella that pops-out like one of the older girl’s who waits at her bus stop.  Just maybe, if my girl says the same thing, slowly, in ten different ways, and works a few big words into the mix, I will be sufficiently convinced.   I fight hard, to squelch the impatient, sarcastic words that build inside me along with the tightening in my chest.  Please, give me quiet to think,  room to breathe!  At last, it is bedtime.  We read the stories and I wearily plead for no more interruptions.

I imagine that someone with a different temperament might not be left gasping for air after days like the one I recounted;  however, after long stretches of time with my boy and girl around the holidays and summer vacations, my introverted self yearns for a week or two spent in silence at a monastery, or at least an afternoon reading and writing in a cozy coffee shop! My boy and girl possess a certain need to process life out loud, though, and I am determined to figure-out how to offer more grace and less irritation in the midst of all the talking.  I’ve learned a few things along the way, like making sure that I take time for myself before embarking on these longer stretches at home with the kids.  Quiet-time spent in prayer, reading, writing,  creating, walking in the fresh air and sharing with girlfriends are essential to building-up my reserves.  I’ve also discovered the advantages of planning ahead, not only for outside entertainment, but also allowing space for quiet activities such as art projects, building and down-time.  Even though they might not admit it, my boy and girl really do need calm and quiet to recharge, just like me!

I might start-out  with the best laid plans, the perfect balance of activity and calm, but at some point, usually  the home stretch, my reserves begin to run low and I begin to falter.  An impatient word here and there.  A loud sigh following another request for help.  And, generally, things start to go down hill from there.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure there are any full-proof methods for handling these long, messy days with grace all the time.  I do know that I am a work in progress, though.  I am grateful to have a God who grants me new mercies each day.  A God who has faith in me and my abilities to help my girl and boy be all that He created them to be.  Perhaps I need to process my thoughts out loud all day to my Father.  Thank goodness He never runs-out of patience with me!