It's been a pretty chaotic couple of weeks.
Sam's had several large projects coincide at work which have resulted in long days and late nights.
Last night Sam got home and we hurriedly had a quick dinner, after which I took the boys and went to a consignment event for children's clothing while Sam went to Mutual (a youth program at our Church).
We got home after bedtime and I quickly got all the boys to bed.
Sam walked through the door a while later and reluctantly told me he had to go back to work to take care of some cells.
He got home after midnight, and then, despite the late night, I woke up around 4:30 and couldn't get back to sleep.
Lincoln woke up around 6:15, and by 7:00 Sam had run out the door for another long day...ready to stop by the University of Utah to take care of some experiments, head down to BYU to teach a class and have a meeting with a collaborator, and then go back to the University of Utah for more work before coming home tonight.
Perhaps it was due to the culmination of several nights with little sleep,
but I found myself feeling a bit "off" this morning.
My patience level wasn't at its highest.
Lincoln chewed up his shredded wheat 1 biscuit at a time and then spit them out, so by the time I finished showering he, his chair, and the table were covered in wheat-y goo.
After cleaning him up and getting him ready for the day, I sat down in his room for a moment and my eyelids began to close almost uncontrollably. I dozed off, and while Talmage and Wesley cuddled up in a blanket next to me, Lincoln pushed a chair over to the kitchen counter and dumped a large canister of oatmeal out all over the counter and floors, further spreading it around with a spoon.
By the time I discovered him, we had our own oatmeal-blizzard!
He'd been fussing all morning, so I determined that due to his late night, cutting teeth, and being sick all week he was ready for his morning nap a bit early.
But he opted to cry instead of nap.
Shortly thereafter I discovered a bookshelf he had thrown the books off of, ripping the cover from one.
By the time I got him out of his crib, he was ridiculously grumpy.
Between his constant crying, the general whining of the other boys, and my own exhaustion, I left Lincoln playing with Talmage and Wesley in the family room and went to my room for a moment to collect my thoughts and gain some serenity after the hectic morning.
After about 3 or 4 minutes, I thought I heard the front door close.
With a sinking feeling, I realized that I had forgotten to lock the child-lock after Talmage had taken a diaper out to the trash for me, and Lincoln can easily open the door.
I ran out and saw Lincoln standing inside next to the closed door, holding a small flowerpot that had been in our front yard.
As the pieces clicked together in my mind, I realized that Lincoln had gone outside without me realizing it and for the few minutes I'd been in my room, he'd been in the front yard.
I became slightly teary as I considered what had just happened...
It was so unlike him to come back inside.
His tendency is to run away and explore when given freedom.
He could have easily wandered into the road or quickly made his way down the sidewalk and around the corner, disappearing who-knows-which-way by the time I discovered he was gone.
I thought of my own frustrations during the morning,
and I thought of other moments when my children have similarly been in danger because of my own failings.
And I tearfully thanked God for watching over my children,
and for making up the difference when my efforts simply aren't enough.
Because, whether I like it or not, they really just aren't.
And although during those couple of minutes on my knees with him in his room
Lincoln squirted hand sanitizer all over, tipped over a chest of drawers, began throwing clothes out of his dresser, and climbed onto my head,
I was given strength to go on.
Because while I know I'm not enough, I know I'm not alone.