Thankful for the “Get To’s”

My list of “have-to’s” used to enslave me. It seemed there was always so much that needed to be done as a young mom. I walked around with what I had to do weighing me down. Because I was just looking at the tasks before me and not why they were there.

Laundry. Groceries. Cleaning. Cooking. Overseeing. To make a home run smoothly my checklist was on repeat. Some chores are never-ending and often leave us bemoaning the heavy load. We go to bed exhausted only to start all over again the next morning. I still hear my mom saying, “A man can work from sun to sun but a woman’s work is never done.”

Personally, I now see things much differently. All of those have-to-do chores have morphed into what-I-GET-to-do.

There’s a reason behind every responsibility. A full hamper means there’s a family who needs me. Clutter proves I’m surrounded with activity, not loneliness. Kitchen frenzy leads to sitting around the table together. Being the caretaker of our children’s lives is an honor not a chore.

A clean and tidy house can be a lonely one. Unmade beds, clutter and a long list of chores are there only because you’ve been chosen to serve one of the greatest institution of life. The family.

I never used to think laundry could be a blessing until the first time our sons came home from college. Carrying their sack of dirty clothes behind them. And I didn’t mind a bit!

As I folded each piece, I suddenly became aware of what this labor of love truly meant. I had waited a long time to become a mom. And I wasn’t always happy re-washing shirts they had worn for only two hours. I guess throwing them in the hamper was easier than hanging them up again.

But missing them made me realize it didn’t matter any more. It was pure delight to wash and fold their clothes after them being away at school. Call me crazy but I found myself smoothing out every wrinkle with a prayer of thanksgiving that they were mine. I was privileged to be their mom. I was overwhelmed with gratitude with every load I pulled out of the dryer.

We’ve been empty nesters for many years now as both sons are married and have children of their own. But I’ve come to realize even more how thankful I am to still be washing, folding, and putting away my husband’s clothes. I’ve gotten into the habit with every fold to thank God for the man he brought into my life over 50 years ago. I thank God that I can trust him. That he is truthful and faithful. That he’s all about me and the well-being of our family. What a gift it is to walk alongside this incredible man of God.

It’s the little things in life we often take for granted. Housework might be a mammoth task. It’s a never-ending task to keep clean clothes in children’s closets and continual meals on the table. But when we consider what’s behind all that work, our perspective changes. An attitude of gratitude is birthed.

When my grandchildren come over, I thank God for the clutter and silently wish there was more of it. I can sit on the floor and play because I value time with them over a perfect house. Our youngest granddaughter who used to be with me every week started kindergarten and doesn’t get to come over like she used to. I look around at our perfectly tidy house and miss her like crazy. All four of our grandkids grew up way too fast for my liking! I’d like the clutter back! Like last Sunday when all four of them gathered around the living room. It was pure delight. I can’t get enough of them.

So look around, moms! What do you see? The evidence of children that will grow up before you turn around twice. They’ll be out of the house one of these days, and your housework will diminish. But I promise you’ll miss it.

So enjoy the moments. Thank God for every piece of clothing you’re folding and crumb you’re sweeping up. Recognize what’s behind that labor of love. God’s given you a tribe to manage. Children are a reward from Him. So, instead of complaining, try thanking God for the blessings that create your responsibilities.

What do you GET to do in life? I’m not talking about what you HAVE to do. It’s the get-to’s that make a difference.

Yes, daily chores may be overwhelming at times. But let’s realize that behind each responsibility is one of the greatest blessings of life. Family. So just in case you’re frustrated with all you HAVE to do today, why not thank God that you GET to!

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