A day in the life

6:20 AM // I hear the flick of the light switch in the hall followed by footsteps. My alarm hasn’t gone off yet, but the kids are awake. As often as I hope to wake before the kids, those mornings are few and far between. Stretching in bed, I take a deep breath and walk towards the dining room. I see both kids at the table coloring and drawing. “Mama’s awake!” they yell, opening their arms for a hug.

Every morning love sounds like cupboards opening and closing, bowls landing on the counter, coffee brewing, water gushing from the faucet, and the dog’s nails clicking on the kitchen floor. Everyone is hungry. I dole out vitamins, cereal, fruit, and then grab my hot mug of coffee. There’s a hush of quiet while the kids eat and I retreat back to the bedroom for reading and writing, a chance to fill up on God’s love for me.

7:40 AM // Everyone congregates by the front door. Charlotte’s zipping her coat and peeking her head outside to feel the temperature. “I think we’ll have recess outside today,” she declares. Meanwhile Isaac sits on the table by the door with his legs bouncing up and down. “Put my shoes on,” he says. I unlatch the velcro strap on his shoe and cradle his feet one at a time. On the floor sits Charlotte’s backpack with her water bottle and mask, she heaves it on her back before I get a chance to give her a hug. I place a kiss on Isaac’s forehead. “Let’s play hide and seek,” Charlotte yells to Isaac and they bound down the porch steps chasing one another. On school days, love looks like quick hugs and kisses, filled water bottles, help with zippers and shoes, and prayers for kindness to be given and shown to my children.

9:00 AM // With breakfast dishes cleaned and put away, laundry started, and a few emails answered, Isaac and I grab a stack of books and make our way to the couch. “Read books, mama” and "I love you, mama" are my favorite phrases. On the couch we dive into stories and worlds far away, we learn about dinosaurs and construction sites, and we marvel at the myriad of insects found in creation. Love looks like a mother and son pressed together bound by an affinity to stories.

9:30 AM, 9:50 AM, 10:10 AM, 10:45 AM // “I’m hungry, can I have a snack?” Over and over again Isaac requests snacks. Apparently meals don’t count, only snacks. Love looks like patiently redirecting his demands for snacks. Love also looks like grabbing the nearest fruit or energy ball or granola bar and eating together.

1:00 PM // “Mama, what are you going to do while I sleep?” It’s the same question every day during nap time and bedtime. Usually, I respond with the same answer: read and write. Sitting at my desk looking towards the park across the street, Isaac crawls into my lap. His legs cascade over me. My hands rub his back and his body softens into mine. He knows how to procrastinate and I'm happy to accomadate him as I know these days will be fleeting. Rustling his hair, I take a deep breath giving thanks for this moment. Planting a kiss on his cheek I then slide him off my lap and tell him it’s time to sleep now. With the afternoon light streaming in through the window love looks like putting words to the page and following the dreams of my heart.

3:30 PM // “Can we go see Shirley?” She’s our friend from church who both kids have claimed as their person. I think, too, Shirley has claimed both Charlotte and Isaac. Together at church they play hide and seek and draw pictures. With warmer temps and the sun lingering longer most afternoons we take a walk. I hear the kids yell as we pass Shirley’s house, “Can we go see Shirley?” The kids knock on her door and then proceed to ride their scooter up and down her ramp. Wind whips through their hair and the smiles never leave their faces. Love looks like being known by neighbors with laughter and hugs.

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM // While I prepare dinner the kids watch their favorite show (rotating between Doc McStuffins and Handy Manny currently). Peeking my head into the living room I see the winter sunset streaking pinks, orange, and yellow across the sky. We all take a moment to marvel at the beauty before us. At the table for dinner - between requests for snacks, declarations of not being hungry, and fighting over stray toys or crayons on the table - I read a Bible story out loud. Some nights we skype with family and other nights we eat and end the evening with a dance party or Cosmic Kids Yoga. On these nights with tired kids, love looks like food shared together, God’s Word spoken at the table, and endless patience when meltdowns occur.

7:30 PM // Nestled on the couch we gather one more time for books and prayers. There’s fighting for who gets to sit next to who, which kid gets to hold the book, and whether or not Charlotte is reading too loud for Isaac. The final moments before sleep seem far off - and require a reserve of patience I can’t seem to find many nights. Plus there’s the push and pull of getting teeth brushed and pajamas on. But finally we all make it to the bedrooms.

“Mama, sleep with me,” Charlotte calls to me from her bed. Charlotte’s head pops out from under her blanket and I lay down next to her pulling the covers over my body. We talk about the day, our favorite parts, things that made us sad, the plans for tomorrow, and what I’ll do while she sleeps. She keeps talking between bursts of energy practicing math problems. “Shh,” I rub her back. “It’s time to sleep.”

After a few minutes I hear her breath begin to steady and her body feel still next to mine. I take my own deep breaths giving thanks for my daughter and the day we shared. I pray for her school, teachers, and friends. I marvel that this moment is mine to experience. The day is almost over and in the quiet moments of the dark, love looks like small hands wrapped around my neck, a messy dining room table, a filled kitchen sink, and scattered books.

9:00 PM // Finally, with the dishes put away and the hum of the noise machine as our background music, my husband and I sit on the couch. Sometimes we’ll have books in our hands or we’ll continue making our way through HGTV shows (and occasionally The Amazing Race). I light a candle and curl under the warmth of a blanket, my body relaxing into the couch. A full day’s filled with living, loving, cleaning, working, and writing is behind me. And I think that all of this - each part of my day from the tiny ways I care for my children to the daily tasks of feeding and working - this is what love looks like.

Isn’t this what love looks like: the daily push and pull of our days, the mundane, the joys and sorrows, the ways we wake to the morning light and show up to ourselves, our children, and God. Isn’t this what love looks like - a day of shining brilliance from the moment we wake to the final moments when sleep takes over?

A day in the life as God’s beloved.

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// This post is part of a blog hop with Exhale—an online community of women pursuing creativity alongside motherhood, led by the writing team behind Coffee + Crumbs. Click here to view the next post in the series "Love Looks Like."

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