GO TO BED,” I screamed down the hall. My sorry cocker spaniel with her nubby tail tucked, head down, moped to her cage.

Sometimes I wish everything in my life could be as responsive as my Polly. Potty training one of my girls I directed, “Just go peeps!” There went my cocker, squatting on demand relieving herself on the bathroom rug.

The order GO TO BED was not meant for sweet Polly, it was meant for my two crazies – Lexi and Eliza. IMG_0186Bedtime has become party time in the Blake household. These two recently became roommates and unexpectedly share a bed.

Eliza’s eyes involuntarily shut during dinner as her head nods toward the table. Once the words – get ready for bed– are uttered she snaps to attention. Zipping through the nightly routine, brush teeth, shimmy into pajamas, breeze through a book, get a little drink, “Good night mommy.”

Yeah right, the fun begins. The two begin with whispers quickly escalating to cackles and IMG_0234shouts. I open the door with a final sweet, “Goodnight girls.” My eyes focus in the dark on Eliza dangling from the top bunk and Lexi attempting to do a forward roll on the bottom. Lexi scurries back to bed burying herself under the covers. Eliza giggles swinging her legs wildly. This is what going to bed means to Eliza. We have a difference of definition here.

It seems as though I am off with other worldly definitions these days. I strain to keep my arms at my side speaking to mother after mother about the approaching summer. “Oh, I can’t wait for school to be out. No schedule, no running, we can relax.” I feel a strong urge to grab the woman by the shoulders and shake vigorously. – Are you crazy? Join me in my hysteria. The children will be home all day long! No relief, no reprieve. We clearly have a different definition of summer.

Anxieties climbing up my neck tightening down my shoulders, forcing my hands to grip the control I think I have. Before I know it I am nagging my husband on how to breathe properly or enter a room correctly or chew his food better.

In the span of a couple weeks, we have 4 of our 5 family birthdays. The same couple weeks is also splattered with 3 children worth of field trips, field days, parties, recitals and the dreaded final day of school. Facing the transition into summer brings on a shortness of breath and a loud commanding voice. I am thinking of digging my heals in to say – STOP. However, I think the only one who will comply is Polly.

So… something has to change… it is going to have to be me.

Polly at my side I will dig my heals in, choosing to face this beautiful life laid out before me, redefining each blessing as the gift it was meant to be. It is a choice, a choice I need to be intentional about making.

I can choose to dodge what life tosses me, hiding behind bad habits and resistance or choose to embrace the times of smiles, laughter and excitement before they so quickly turn into memories. I have raised these girls thus far; a few weeks at home will be enjoyable as we sink into sleeping later and sucking down ice-pops poolside.

Eliza and Lexi safely in their bedroom at night may fall asleep later than the usual hour, the later they will arise in the morning. Sight of their little toes in the cracks underneath the bedroom door as they strain to hear what is going on outside, will bring a smile to my heart. I will joyfully eavesdrop on the silly conversations of a 3 and 5 year old.

I will pray prayers of gratitude choosing to relish in the chaos. Moment after moment,day after day I will dig out from under the feeling of being overwhelmed, to emerge in a place of acceptance and gratefulness. Certainly not any easy task but here I can breath and I bet the people around me are breathing a little easier as well. IMG_0672