On Fleas and Forgiveness


Raising a kid when both parents work flexible, work-from-home gigs is kind of like sharing a car. You communicate all the time, but about logistics and schedules and routines until one random Tuesday night, you pass each other in the hallway and you’re like, “Hey! How’ve you been?”

It’s crazy, but the good kind. The great kind. It’s a tackle football game that leaves you rosy cheeked and heavy lunged – maybe limping and grass-stained – but with a lightness afterward because you know you did something that created energy.

On the good days, your kid gets to see you do what you’re good at, what you love. She gets to see her parents work together in the space where life and details and creativity and love all swirl together, all muddy and brown – the color of clay. She gets to see the twinkle in Ken’s eye when he knows he snapped the perfect shot and hear the excited inflection in my voice when I’m talking about something new I’m learning. She gets to be around it. No, she gets to be in it.

It’s certainly not the easiest, though, and some days flow better than others. Yesterday was one of the not-very-well-flowing days where Ken and I found ourselves with overlapping deadlines because his project took a bit longer and mine was moved up and we couldn’t find the paperwork he needed for an entirely different deadline and then all the sudden we’re opening drawers and cabinets like people who are terribly angry at each other. Did you know you can not only slam a cabinet door with fury but you can also open it with fury? You can. I did it.

And in the midst of it all, Bee’s swirling around the house with papers flying and banana mush on her fingers and it’s just, you know, generally a circus. And you’re in it, a flea, who cannot possibly see how this will ever, ever work. How will we raise a well-adjusted kid in the midst of chaos and deadlines when we cannot stop aggressively opening the tax file drawer at each other this morning?

The secret, I think, is time. And deep breaths. And another cup of coffee. Another prayer. Perhaps a shower? And the wisdom that there is no secret, except the one that we are but fleas in a really much, much bigger circus.

When we’re circus fleas scampering on the ground, everything’s huge. We’re in the moment, somersaulting and jumping through hoops and it just feels big and hard and unruly. But then, less than twelve hours later the moon rises and we reflect on the day’s events, peering at the tower we built with the crumbs we collected. And we realize the frenzied moments – the cabinet doors and missing paperwork and the I’m Sorrys – those are just scattered crumbs. Tiny and miniscule, ready to be redeemed when the act is over.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

I love that. Blunders, absurdities, nonsense – they creep in. But they’re old news. Tomorrow is a new day. There is grace. There is hope. There is forgiveness.

And there is great, great love.Love for the work we’ve been given. Love for the ones we’ve been given to work alongside.

And love from the God who gave us both.

  • That Emerson quote is everything. And so timely, for me personally, which you could not have known because you do not know me. But I guess in a way you do, in the sense that we are all going through the same struggles and adventures and learning similar lessons – it’s just the nature of being human! Thank you so much for this post, it really touched me!

    • Ah, you’re right – we’re all in it together. ;) So happy you enjoyed the post – thank you for reading!

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