Saturday, we had an overwhelming day. It began in the usual sort of way for our big, unorganized family. Frustratingly. By the time we had finally gathered all the things we needed and accomplished all the tasks that needed to be done, our slightly temperamental vanful of people pulled out of the driveway about an hour later than planned. And as if we weren't late enough, we then waited for twelve minutes in the Burger King drive-thru for the breakfast we 'didn't have time' to eat at home.
While out, we did something else that we don't ever do: we spent money on each other! Quite a bit of money, by our standards, and it was a little overwhelming to buy expensive gifts. But it also felt really significant- ten years of marriage should be marked by something a bit on the extravagant side, don't you think? I feel a little scandalous right now not wearing a wedding ring (especially walking around with five children!), but I can't wait to have it back complete with my new anniversary band!
We had an awesome time together, one of those perfect 'throwback to dating' days with no agenda. We talked, we fed the baby, we shopped, we went out for lunch, we fed the baby, we looked at diamonds, we bought diamonds (yay!), we fed the baby, we laughed, we had ice cream. Just like dating...except the baby part. At the end of our "alone" time, we were refreshed, and we remembered why we usually like each other.
It was a great day.
We picked up the kids, who had been to the kite festival with Grandma and Papa, and got an excellent report on their behavior for the day. But almost instantly, I could tell that Miss M had no intention of making the evening easy for us. She intended to make us miserable. Over the next couple of hours, she did her best to ruin the day.
I won't go into detail, but the evening culminated in the kind of tantrum that forces one parent to physically restrain the little-girl-turned-animal creature for hours, while the other parent gathers the four remaining kids into the furthest corner of the house and watches a movie (or listens to music) at an abnormally loud volume. They wouldn't be able to sleep anyway, and at least this way, while the screams can still be heard, the blasphemy and disrespect is drowned out.
Sometimes my husband and I have to relieve eachother from the restraining duty. It's physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausting, and her rages test our dependence on Christ like nothing else. This particular tantrum was a payback for going out on our date, a bold statement of "I don't need you. I've got Grandma and Papa and their love isn't threatening to me", mixed with too much excitement and too little sleep.
It was ugly.
But such is life.
Sometimes it's bad, sometimes it's good, sometimes it's great, and sometimes it's ugly.
In our case, it's often the good and the great that cause the ugly. But we can't stop seeking out the great because it brings the ugliness with it. It's good for us. It teaches us. The bad makes the good great, and the ugly makes the great glorious. The trick is finding the joy, or at least the peace, in all of it...and learning to rely on God no matter what the day brings.