The weekend dissolves into a chaos of sleep and awake, night shifts wrecking havoc on my already Novemberish brain. The house a pigsty of dirty dishes and laundry, summer clothes and shoes yet to be packed away, a sheet music scattered living room and clothes-riddled bedroom. I feel my failures deep and sure, the housewife that never can be found in November, when the seasons hush and slow to winter's lone-harp song, and my body slows with it, always sensitive to cancer meds in this fresh winter. I bog down into low thyroid days, when all I do is sleep or dream of sleep. The children call me Mama Bear, hibernating for the winter, and I wonder why my cubs don't climb into the den for a long winter's nap like the black bear in the woods.

On Saturday, we are up late to cheer my hockey team on at an important semi-final in a tournament, and I sit with hockey moms who are still perfectly coiffed at 10 p.m., talking about how much housework they got done between games today, each mom one-upping the last with her beauty and time efficiency. I feel the prickles of my newly growing hair like a crown of shame, think about all I have not managed to do this weekend, and realize this is what Joy is after: life unmasked in the blogosphere, where we let our imperfections be part of our beauty and don't hide in the dark when life doesn't go as planned. I slide on thankfulness like a warm coat, and insulate myself from the tyranny of this perfectionist motherhood. My husband smiles down at me, sensing my soul rest, his brown curls unruly under his wool cap, our children running amok up and down a ramp to the men's bathrooms, burning off late night energy.

I wake up Sunday to a road too icy to trek to church, even in all-wheel drive. Slide under the down comforter and praise for a few more hours rest. In the sunlight, the world is frosted with snow, a wonderland of crystalline beauty, in all our yards autumn messiness. The children track mud and snow into the house and there is a small snowboot track on my sheet music still scattered on the front room floor.

I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about how He loves. ~John Mark McMillan
Instead of sliding down into the nothingness that perfectionist thinking breeds, I count my blessings at Sunday's end,

...the white glare of snow making sunshine bright and world clean growing back, black and plentiful from The Story blaring through speakers on icy roads
...moments with my dear aunt and uncle
...Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa, gales of giggles echoing
...sleep, sleep and more sleep
...another week of night shifts winking at me
...down comforters and warm husband