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Carrying On a Routine In the Middle of Transitions

alec vanderboom

This is a week of transition for us. We had a home inspection for the buyer at our house yesterday. This morning we have the home inspection at the new house we'd like to buy. It's so weird to be in the middle of this buying and selling process. Either the buyer loves the house and we're out in a matter of days, or it's back to square one.

I'm dealing with the stress of the uncertainty by bulking up on the homemaking routine. We started skipping evening Swim practice so that we can eat a normal, hot dinner at 6 PM. I started cooking dessert again for the first time in months. Even in the middle of all the extra home improvement projects, I make sure the fridge is stocked with food and there is a little bit of clean laundry in the dresser drawers.

Yesterday, I had six kids and a dog in our the minivan for a long country drive. (Going to the park was out of the question when it was 20 degrees during the buyer's home inspection). We listened to Disney's "Tangled" twice on the car's DVD. There is a song where Rapunzel complains that her daily household chores of sweeping, cooking and laundry only keep her busy until 7:15 AM.

I had some issues with those song lyrics. First, I don't know what kind of household she's dealing with but my domestic chore list is never done by 7:15 AM. Second, these domestic chores are not "nothing." I grew up in the post-Betty Friedan world where routine domestic chores are seen as beneath the dignity of college educated women. It was a real shock to become a stay-at-home Mom and find out how much those routine tasks matter.

I swapped Betty Friedan and Arlie Hochschild for Mother Teresa and St. Martin of Porres. Both Mother Teresa and St. Martin of Porres, loved to scrub toilets for Jesus. They actually sought out that humble work right after receiving great honors from famous patrons. I thought about their example yesterday while I unclogged a toilet under an intense time pressure yesterday. I'd done a lot of abstract legwork before our move--comparing mortgage rates, etc. Probably nothing was as important, however, as making sure we had 3 fully working toilets before our home inspection. Jesus really uses every tiny act for the glory of his kingdom. There is no "small act" when its preformed with love.

As someone who loved the intellectual stimulation of college, I prefer when Jesus calls upon my writing, public speaking or thinking skills. That doesn't mean that I don't realize how important it is to have also developed an ability to bake. Yesterday, after a rough day, I pulled out the new mini-muffin tins my 7 year old had requested during our last Walmart run. (I'd accidentally packed all our cupcake tins when we first put the house on the market six months ago). Even thought I was super tired, I made chocolate icing from scratch for her because an non-iced cupcake is a pathetic thing.

When the cupcakes were cool, the 2 year old and 4 year old joined the 7 year old for an impromptu icing party. This was the first time my smallest daughters were old enough to be a real help in the kitchen. I look at their lovely faces and felt a feeling of peace. I don't know where we will be for Advent. We could be here. We could be at my Mom's house. Or we could be in a rough kitchen in a new house that needs a lot of repairs. No matter where we are, this trio will be having fun icing sugar cookies together before Christmas.

It's the people that matter, not the setting. I'm grateful that I've got enough humility to keep life running relatively smoothly while we potentially change the backdrop of our life.