Hello to Day 1 of “Official Child Minding!”

Geoff and I awoke early this morning in a strange bed and a strange house to the sound of butcher birds singing out in the early dawn.

It was rather beautiful to be sure (AND very noisy). Still, I was determined that it was going to be a good morning and I would get the little urchins off to school without too much heartache. Therefore when Alice and Violet were fulfilling the criteria for “stars for jobs completed” by eating their breakfast, I drew the three of us into a little bit of intrigue.

Here in Australia, our first Australians, the Aboriginal people have what they call “Secret Women’s Business” where only women can participate in certain ceremonies and get-togethers – no men allowed (sounds rather appealing doesn’t it for all of us women??)

So, using this idea, I gathered the children in by whispering to them “Now kids, let me tell you something. Everything that happens here in this house that is not really as good as we would like, while Mum is away, is OUR secret business. Any bad behaviour or difficulties that happen will stay within these walls. But all of the good behaviour that takes place we will shout out and tell everyone. What do you think of that?”

Their eyes lit up and they smiled broadly. Little Violet giggled and put her hand over her mouth with glee! Great, I had got them in!  I am not sure whether I had lost my marbles about the Secret Kids Business, but it seemed a good idea at the time! Time will tell.

The morning progressed very well … considering.  Let’s face it, children are children and they will never behave perfectly so why worry their poor mother? She is away doing a stressful job – Staff Performance assessments (I know which job I would prefer and it’s not staff issues!)

Now, all of their stars for the morning have been allotted on the Daily Chore List and so too have mine. I have put on my make-up (one of my chores apparently: am I that scary without it? Or perhaps I’ve got to impress the plumber when he comes later?) and I have washed etc etc. I have four stars too.

Once the house was emptied and Geoff had taken the kids off to school, I had a few “getting to know where things are” issues, and was tempted to get frustrated (especially when the tea leaves from my teapot fell over the clean things in the sink!) so I sat down to do some contemplation and fill up my inner tank until such time as they return at 4.30pm.  

This is what I opened and read. God speaks to us mere mortals in a little book called God Calling:

“Draw Beauty from every flower and Joy from the song of the birds, and the colour of the flowers. When I wanted to express a beautiful thought, I made a lovely flower. Listen to a bird. Take the song as a message from My Father. Let it sink into your soul. That too will be given back to the world in ways I have said. Laugh more, laugh often. Love more. I am with you.” (March 11th)

Oh wow! Wasn’t that what I felt when I heard the birds first thing this morning?And what about when Geoff and I were enjoying being on the front landing whilst showing Alice the stars before she went to bed? (and Violet was asleep) Wasn’t that imbibing the beauty of God’s Creation? And there too, was my daughter’s beautifully decorated home to enjoy as well. She has such a gift for beautiful things, that I inhaled the beauty of her home as a gift to enjoy. The good taste. Aaah, fresh carnations too!

And yes, I could indeed LAUGH more and often too! That was vital to my well-being. (Photo: I found this potted rose on Maria’s patio not long ago…timely eh?)

After the reading, I was inspired to write out my thoughts in my Journal about looking after Maria’s girls. I felt I needed some direction and this is what I wrote.  It ‘sort of’ turned into a prayer:

Lord, grace me with firmness, love and a kind heart with these two high-spirited girls

Let me speak few words and take more action instead

Give me kind words but with firm control,

Slow me down to think when I want to rant and rave,

Help me spend time in settling tired souls when I want a quick fix

Give me courage to follow through when I’d rather give in

Give me love when I feel wrongful anger

Give me laughter when a situation needs diffusing with humour

Give me Wisdom when common sense has left me completely!

And when all is done and dusted, let me see the “big picture”

And know when to NOT “sweat the small stuff”

For, milk spilled can be cleaned up in a moment

But SHAME given for the spilling will take a life  time to clean up.

Amen.

And as for the “Secret Kids Business” I will let you know how that pans out after  more days have passed. It is early days yet, so far so good.  Methinks a visit to the nearby park after school, may just be what we all need to “fill our buckets” after a busy day.

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