Since mid-summer of last year, I have had a ‘this too shall pass’ mindset. I have calmed myself with the idea that while life may be crazy at the moment, things will settle down after – I have the baby/we sell the house/we buy the new house/we move/we finish unpacking/we drive all the way down to Massachusetts to visit my dad/Patrick goes on his business trip/the snow melts/pigs fly. There is always this idea that right now is somehow unusually busy, and that there is that One Big Thing on the horizon after which all will be smooth sailing. Yeeeeah.
|Helping with the bread dough|
This is just life! Stuff happens, like, all the time. There’s no more lounging in bed until noon on weekends (I’m a stay-at-home mother, weekends don’t even exist anymore!), no aimless puttering around the house, and certainly no time to experience the luxury that is boredom. We have children, now, and a house to manage, land to work, checklists and appointments and obligations. And that is GOOD. Not that I agree with glorifying busyness, but a busy life is a full life, and that is something to be truly thankful for, not spiteful of. I need to throw myself down into the trenches and get with it. This is like an MMORPG– there is no end, no winning, no finish line to run across triumphantly. Instead, there is the husband pouring you a glass of wine at the end of a terrible-twos type day, kissing you on the forehead and saying I love you. There are the quiet moments of morning snuggles when your toddler crawls into your bed, dragging her gigantic blanket and insisting on using your pillow (nevermind that Papa’s pillow is currently vacant and EXACTLY the same.) There’s your five-month old who won’t stop cooing and giggling at four o’clock in the morning, and it’s the cutest thing in the world but you are afraid she will wake the Papa and the toddler (the win here is that she doesn’t). These are the triumphant moments. Winning is no longer about a finish line, it’s about closing each day with a smile, with the knowledge that although I may have yelled too much and the house is a disaster, my family is happy and healthy and loved.
|A captured moment between our two girls – and the natural state of the living room.|
There is a post I once read (somewhere on some blog that of course I can’t remember) that discussed viewing each day through the eyes of your children instead of feeling regret or disappointment in yourself. Did they learn something and have fun? Sure, I regret yelling at my toddler when she spilled the glass of water, but she had a blast wiping it with the cloth, and learned how to clean up after herself. I was stressed to the max when my newborn wouldn’t stop crying, but my toddler did a great job of trying to comfort her sister, giving her kisses and rubbing her back. I feel guilty for leaving my baby in the walker a little too long while I did dishes, but during that time she practiced hand-eye coordination and had fun pushing herself around the kitchen. I’m usually not big on make-yourself-feel-better motivational stuff, but the message really struck me. This, of course, does not advocate a lack of accountability; I really should not have yelled, and the dishes could have waited until naptime. The point is to release the selfish critiques and instead focus on the good stuff, and on improving ourselves without the negativity of regret.
And so, I will stop waiting for the magical day when life slows down and learn to ’embrace the crazy’ as my sister-in-law so aptly put it. One day I will look back on these times with longing, and I want to make sure we have great memories to sift through.