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In which this is the inasmuch

I am facing down two deadlines and so this happened: I decided to embark on the ambitious project of organising our tinies’ clothing situation. For five years, we’ve just dumped outgrown clothing into bins and stuffed them in the crawl space. Now I have Evelynn outgrowing everything but when I went down to grab the bin for the next size up, it was stuffed with everything else but and I just went a little insane. I hauled all of the bins out of the crawl space and dumped them out, pell-mell, into the family room. I cancelled school. I worked, no joke, for 8 hours on those stupid boxes. When I was finished, I had 5 bags for the Salvation Army, two boxes to go back to my sister of the clothes I’d borrowed from her, all of the other boxes neatly folded and put away and a skiff of revulsion over how much stuff we have. (I like to think we’re pretty simple in our tastes and our stuff. But lest I start to get smug, I need only think of an entire bin of cute clothes for the ages 0-6 months to remember the truth of the matter.)

I cleaned the house yesterday, Evelynn content on my back in the Ergo while I vacuumed and washed floors. I handed the vacuum to Joseph – he loves to vacuum – in an effort to keep him out of trouble while I did the washrooms but then I heard him screaming and I came running to find him covered in blood, holding his tongue. Apparently, he thought it would be a great idea to vacuum his own tongue but he sliced the top of it open. I can’t even fathom the way his mind thinks sometimes and so he bumbles out ahead of me and my admonitions and my boundaries. We cleaned him up and it wasn’t so bad – tongue wounds always bleed like the dickens. Back to work. Little man, when was the last time you were on the toilet?

Brian is gone, always gone, class, thesis, work, overtime, it feels like I’m on my own and he’s lonely, too. Two months more until grad school is done and then what? people ask. We don’t know but we do know that it won’t be this, two ships passing in the night, anymore and that’s enough to make me want to celebrate with a steak dinner.

I don’t feel guilty in the least for the hour in the morning and the hour in the evenings when I put on Super Why or another show for the tinies and sit down here, to write, to read, to tell lame jokes on Twitter, to sit at my kitchen table and pray pray pray for us all.

I tried to figure out how to work Skype so I could be at the SheLoves Magazine meeting. I really wanted to drive to Idelette’s house to be there in person but I’m home alone and everyone has to go to bed with their teeth brushed and so I’ll try to figure out this Skype thing. It doesn’t work out and I can feel these amazing women, just a drive away, meeting to discuss and plan and pray and work for bigger stories but I’m not there. It actually aches but Anne woke up and the sight of her, her bony ankles poking out of her too-short Tinkerbell pajamas, blonde hair sticking straight up, wanting me and I can hardly breathe for the sight of her.

Inasmuch.

Anne and I built teepees out of cardboard and straws and playdoh at the kitchen table. We’re nearly finished with On The Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls. I think that if I was half the grown-up that Ma and Pa Ingalls were, I’d be more mature and gracious than 99% of the population. Also, talk about working for a living. I resolve to complain less about emptying the dishwasher. Anne begs to do another page of math work. The laundry needs folding. Again.

It’s the middle of the night and I’m up, standing in the living room alone. I’ve just put Evelynn back to bed after her midnight nurse and in two hours, she’ll be up again. I’m wide awake and the cold house is lit only with stars and the street lights outside. I can’t seem to go back to bed because it’s just so quiet, so still, so other-worldly at these hours. I’m brimming with something like wonder in the loneliness of the night, I can see the stars and something in me wants to stay here, with all the mothers up across the city. A thin connection is there and God is here and I don’t know how but I feel it.
Two hours later, when I’m up again, I’m not so sanguine. I’m tired, I just want to sleep for more than two hours together. I want a day to myself, I want to sit around in my own house, I want it to stay picked up, I want to watch a movie, I want to forget about the world, I want I want I want. I could cry.

Inasmuch.

It’s funny how these old-fashioned words stick around in my head, thanks to all of those years of memorising Bible verses out of the King James. Inasmuch is one of them.

When I feel it all, too much, when I feel like my life is small and my work is small, when I am here in the living of raising tinies and it feels like that long obedience in one direction that Peterson wrote of, an essay test of spirituality and guts and love, for some reason that one word comes to my mind: inasmuch. It’s just the Old English way of saying “to the extent that.” Which means nothing, in and of itself, I know, but it’s the start of a verse of the Bible that goes like this:


Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40b)

There are a lot of ignored and overlooked, a lot of “the least of these” in our world. And three small souls and my work might be one of them. It might not look like much to the outside world when there are big things to do, big dreams to dream, a big world to go out into.  But rescue starts somewhere, small things can be done with great love, we’re all being changed by these days and if anything matters, everything matters. I don’t like being inward and so I do fight to keep us tied to the bigger stories going on around us, but sometimes, its good to remind myself that inasmuch as I do for this small tribe, these beautiful souls, my own self even, I’m making space for God, too.

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faith, parenting