Wednesday, May 9, 2012

One Moment in Time... and Another... and Another...

Doug has been out of town on business this week and the kiddos have been tossed from sitter to sitter each evening.  Tonight it caught up to them.  As we drove home a solid cacophony of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth came from the back seat.  It was early for such exhaustion, about 6:30pm, but I swore that the second we got home they were both going straight to bed.  Following a quick after-dinner snack and a happy birthday Skype session with 3/4 Giles girls, I rushed them off to bed.  Deciding that perhaps I should let my little girl know that I really did love her and wish her a happy birthday (we celebrated all day last Saturday), I cuddled in for my goodnight hugs and kisses.  As we lay there face to face, her little arm wrapped around my neck, we had this conversation:

"These four years with you have been the best years of my life.  I'm so grateful I've been your mommy, and I'm even more grateful that I get to be your mommy forever more."

"But Mommy!  I will grow bigger and bigger and be as big as you and then you won't be my mommy anymore!"

"Nope.  That's not how it works.  You will grow bigger and bigger and bigger like me and you will have babies of your own and I will still be your mommy."

"Forever and ever?"

"Forever and ever."

"Oh! *sigh* Mommy, I am so glad you are my mommy.  You make all the days happy.  You make every day happier.  You are the best mommy ever and I love you so, so much."

"Thank you, sweetheart.  I love you too.  Goodnight, sleep tight."

"Goodnight, sleep tight, Mommy."

That moment obviously speaks for itself: Priceless.  But the thing that really got me posting to my blog tonight instead of doing one of the 900 other things on my docket, was the process I endeavored upon after closing her bedroom door behind me.  First I thought, "That was so sweet.  I should facebook that.  What would I write?  I could just put what she said.  Nah... That doesn't express how I felt about what she said.  I could call it a 'moment' first.  I could write a commentary on how I finally got over the toddler-phase 'moment-fasting' and hopefully this is a sign that her fourth year will be better.  Man!  It's been FOREVER since I had a moment where motherhood was all worthwhile.  People talk about those and I just think, 'good for you. I'm floundering out here; treading water 'til my kids get a little bigger.  You go on and have your moments and I'll just try and keep my head above water."

So I hopped on facebook, ready with my status-length rant.  Once there, I noticed I had a message from a dear friend of my husband.  She had written me a sweet, kind, note praising my mothering tactics even though she understood that at times it must be hard, and thanking me for finding her friend Doug.  Not meaning to downplay how touched I was, I must mention that reading this was like an instant guilt trip.  Here I was, ready to rant about how I've been jacked my life's little moments, and someone else was admiring me as a wife and mother.... :/

Well, I was deterred.  One of the things she had said in her note sidetracked me and I went to check it out.  She had mentioned that she’d reached the conclusions noted in her message to me based on a thorough facebook stalking.  So... curious to look in at my life from that perspective, I started to scroll through my profile.  Less than a month down my timeline, I noticed this post: a status update of mine dated April 15th, 2012.

"Not going to lie, I've been in a mom rut lately. Been gritting my teeth and bearing my burdens in near silence, waiting for today; one of those perfect days full of beautifully simple moments with my little family that make it all seem worthwhile again. Gratitude."

So I came here to write this blog post.

At this point in my writings, however, I became more intrigued and I returned to facebook yet again.  As I continued to scroll through my timeline I realized that that moment was not the only one I had recorded in recent history.  In fact, I had just posted one on the 4th of April.  It didn't flat out express itself as a "moment," but it was one nonetheless.  On my way back up, I even discovered a photo of my babies sitting together in a chair on the patio dated April 14th.  Would I have taken that photo if I hadn't been recording a moment?  And yet, the very next day I wrote of my gratitude for those moments I hadn't had in such a long, long time...... ???

I am so blind.

Here I am, surrounded by the beauty of these little lives.  As I write this now, I can turn my head to the right and see a pool toy in the foyer (no, we did not go swimming today), dance class registration forms, dishes in the sink, wadded up paper towels from wiping little hands and mouths beside cups on their sides on the counter.  To my left a bucket full of crayons and pencils has been spilt on the floor beside the couch.  Many "breakable" things have been piled up on my counter height table, three pairs of my shoes are on the floor outside my children's bedroom, and an empty applesauce packet lies stuck in the crack beneath the door.  Directly in front of my tv- where the computer has been plugged in so that we can watch children's shows on Netflix and work on the computer in a location where kiddos are still visible- there sits a marker brought to me earlier in the day by my one year old, another empty applesauce packet, and a timecard I've been keeping for work- logging all my hours teaching and cutting music; the timecard is covered in black scribbles that make it practically illegible.

This is beautiful.

My mother would disagree.  Although she would note the symbolic beauty of little lives and the evidence thereof, and although I am perfectly aware that she loves my children as much if not more so than I do, she would disagree that my mess is beautiful.  Most days I would disagree too.  Tomorrow I may disagree... at least regarding the mess...  But for right now, all of this is beautiful.  Their chaos currently serves as a reminder to me that they are here; dirtying dishes and the counters and themselves as they eat with their little hands; taking out toys just to forget why they got them out before they've played with them because they’ve become distracted by other toys; fighting one another and hugging one another and doing so all within the same breathe; THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.

Life's little moments aren't rare.  We are surrounded by them; engulfed.  But one thing that I have tried to teach my mother is that blessings are found when we look at our lives through the eyes of gratitude.  It's easy to see that I haven’t been practicing what I’ve preached.  I'm not sure many of us can really see things as clearly as we should see them.

Whatever you see, or my mom sees, or I see tomorrow; today I choose to see a beautiful pattern of moments strewn across my home.  Hopefully this little light shining in my heart will continue to grow.  Hopefully I will have friends and family whose lights shine brighter than mine on my darker days.

Being a mother, a father, a sister, a friend; they all have their challenges.  But when looking at our lives through the eyes of gratitude, we may catch glimpses here and there of the honesty and beauty in our work on this earth with one another.  We may find that those “rare moments” are happening so often that they have become difficult to notice.  One moment does not often stand out in a sea of moments.