I find myself saying these words all throughout my days to an emotional little boy and a toddler girl who is growing in her flair for the dramatic every day. As Owen runs to me, yelling in panic about the wet grass clinging to his feet, I say, “You’ve got to calm down. That’s just a part of it.” Or as Elsa yells and writhes away from a diaper change session, I look down and say, “Baby Girl, be still. That’s just a part of it.”
It’s not overly sympathetic. But it’s truth. There are things we can’t change and can either chafe against or lean into with, at least, a desire for joy.
Lately, we have fallen into such a regular rhythm and routine. There is no newborn-induced unpredictability in our lives right now. We sleep through the night. People eat when you’d expect them too. The number of poop explosions hovers near zero most months. And there is such beauty to parts of the routine. We spend our mornings outside getting wet and muddy and sunburned. My afternoons are filled with quiet as the kids nap. Dinner this time of year includes countless tomatoes, and I am eating all of the fruit.
But this rhythm includes the tedious, the necessary. Every single day, there is laundry that needs my attention. The dishes are endless. It seems that no amount of vacuuming can rid our house of sand that has clung to us all the way from the beach. And we are working so hard on obedience, trying all sorts of different strategies to help Owen learn that there is indeed joy in obeying right away. We are working on keeping Elsa out of the ER, as she has made it clear that the spaces she enjoys most in our house are the highest and most precarious. Each day, there is work.
And the thing of it is, this IS my work. For as thankful as I am to be home with my kids, I regularly forget that. I sigh and re-write lists of things that feel more like work to me.
Get that bracket to hang those blinds upstairs.
Plant veggie seeds for fall harvest.
Purge more toys.
File that mail.
Invite that new family over for dinner.
Schedule the dentist appointments.
These things feel productive to me. Important. Like work.
So, I find myself saying as I fold tiny superhero-themed underwear: That’s just a part of it.
As I do dishes for the third time in a day: That’s just a part of it.
As I leave the park mere minutes after arriving (and doing all the sunblocking) because Owen has said no to me and run away (despite a prior warning): That’s just a part of it.
As I inch my way through an excellent book, though I’d love to drop everything and inhale it: That’s just a part of it.
Margie in her latest book talks about this with grace, and wit, and charm. She tells her stories, and in them, we find holiness at the kitchen sink, the magnificent in the mundane. I long to grow into this. I long for God to someday say of me, “Well done. You were faithful to what you were called.” I long for my children to remember me as someone who was joyful. I long to be a wife that cultivates peace and acceptance and joy in my marriage and home.
So I think about what I am called to, this season, this year, this month, this day. I ask for grace to lean into what each moment calls for, with acceptance and with joy. I repeat this mantra of That’s just a part of it to remind myself that each act of our lives is important and should have our attention.
I often fail.
I try again.
And I grow.