Today was one of those days where I had to pick and choose what got done, and the list was short. Way too short.
The weirdest thing that struck me in my "get the kids to school, get a few things thrown together at home, get clean so I don't offend my coworkers, and get out the door" frenzy had to do with baby carrots, of all things. There was a time, not very long ago, where I would never have considered putting a baby carrot into stew. Especially if I had old fashioned, peel 'em and cut 'em up carrots in the crisper. But life right now has begun to necessitate the need to cut a few corners, and the corner I cut today was to NOT cut the carrots.
Now this may seem like undue rumination on something completely inconsequential. But the deeper story at work here is that with every task I must do differently now that I am out of the house for ten hours a day, the more it makes me take careful stock of what's important and what's not. Yes, whole, large carrots are nurtitionally superior to baby carrots (so I'm told), but does that really matter when I'm going to steep them in a crock pot for 10 hours? Will my children feel neglected because I didn't cut the carrots into little coins? Part of me gasped in horror that I simply poured 2/3 of a bag of the little orange buggers on top of stew meat this morning. But the part of me that's thinking back on that now is laughing a little bit at how dramatic that felt at the time. Hey, at least I didn't use canned mushrooms. (We have to keep some sense of priorities here.)
It's no secret that my plate is heaped high right now, and my greatest fear has to do with the relationships I have in this world withering because I have so little time to commit to connecting. My seven year old makes no secret of the fact that he is not on board with the idea of only seeing me for about a half hour at bedtime, for about for forty five minutes in the mornings the he doesn't have children's choir before school. (The other kids are in the same boat, but because they don't share my middle child's choleric personality, they haven't said anything.) Additionally, I often feel my connection to the stay-at-home and homeschooling moms I once joined on playdates and field trips stretched thin to the point of breakage. I don't want to lose those relationships, but we tend to hang with those we have most in common with, right?
So, carrots are small potatoes in terms of changing MO's. Friendships, parental connection, and running my household? A much bigger deal. I continually pray the Lord will reveal to me how I can possibly give the appropriate level of attention to it all. Oh--and there's those little things called BOOKS I should either be marketing or editing to release.
I keep reminding myself there are lessons to learn--even from accepting baby carrots in the stew instead of chunks I peeled and sliced myself. Working full-time while I have small children was never the path I anticipated, but it certainly has been full of obvious lessons. (Lessons in areas of my life I have otherwise been neglecting--namely, assertiveness, follow-through, and diligence.) Every time life sets me across the anvil, sure, I wriggle in the tongs and try to escape the inevitable hammer, but the fact is, without the tempering, what good am I? I don't want to be a strip of polished steel that looks smooth and ready, but once employed, shatters into shards. Even though sometimes I feel like life is trying to dash me to bits, deep down, I know everything I feel is pulling me too much is really just stretching me enough to grow.
So maybe those baby carrots are a little light in the vitamin department. They made up for it in provoking reflection. :)