Another day has passed and I have not used anything I learned in Algebra. I have actually come to a point in life where it seems like math is doing more bad than good. I’m sure I’ll find all those algorithms buried somewhere in my brain when my kids are struggling through high school arithmetic. But what I really wish I could unlearn is the basics, I wish I could forget how to count.
I need to be especially bad at math during this phase of life. My middle child has had trouble sleeping , and my oldest wakes me up to tell me. As soon as I lay down again, my youngest is wailing. I glance at my phone through bleary eyes. That’s 120 minutes of sleep that I did not get. My quick math is really stumbling me from greeting this day with joy.
The baby is learning about how many things he can reach and how high he can climb and how fun it is to splash in toilet water. I leave dinner bubbling on the stove to run and rescue him from drinking from the toilet, for the fifth time in sixty minutes. My simple addition, counting the times I have rescued him, is causing a problem in my attitude.
My five year old grows faster than anyone in the family. It seems like I am always shopping for shoes. My credit card statement comes and I use easy multiplication to figure out how much I can spent on shoes in the last few months. I cringe. My math skills are impeding me from giving freely.
Mothers need to be bad at counting sacrifices. I need to stop counting the loaves and the fishes and comparing it to the five thousand mouths that need food. I need to stop counting the number of times I was up in the night, the number of corrections I have given, the number of minutes the toddler napped, the number of loads of laundry, the number of handprints on the walls, the cost of food, the amount of alone time, the inefficiency. I need to freely give, to generously lavish late night story times and consistent discipline and clothes and snacks and clean sheets. I need to forget the number of times I had to cancel an evening with friends because of a sick child, to forget how to add up minutes when we are trying to get out the door, to overlook the high utility bill that resulted in a warm home and clean water for five. I need to stop counting, stop adding, stop calculating the cost. I need to open my hands and give every day and pray that I would learn to be bad at this kind of math.