The morning was pretty terrible. Mostly me. Well, almost entirely me. I was wigged out and freaking out and short on sleep and short on patience. I finally put everyone in the car and we went for a drive so I could cool off and get a grip. Then we stopped at the store for fruit leather.
I was so tempted to sink into the misery of self-mortification. So tempted. But I’ve been working on that, and the practice is starting to pay off. As we drove around, I started talking out loud, naming the good things of the day. It’s so easy to list the bad things, the failures. But today I chose to lift my eyes up to the goodness that is here and now. When those good moments come, I make an effort to stop for a moment to acknowledge their goodness.
Here are some of today’s good moments.
:: Waking up with a fragrant, kissable, cuddly baby snuggled in my arms.
:: Playing soccer in the morning sun with Levi. Wet grass, pink slippers, arms full of baby, sturdy boy legs, twinkly boy eyes.
:: Watching Lia concentrate on her first day of subtraction. (“It’s easier than addition,” she says).
:: Making Amelie’s braided pigtails stick out like Pippi’s and laughing together in the mirror.
:: Hearing Amelie quote long passages from Jungle Jam (recommend!).
:: Being privileged to offer a listening ear and encouragement to a grieving friend I saw at Costco.
:: Enjoying sister time in the car with a chorus of singing children for background music.
:: Sitting on the couch beside my husband in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday for a (very) few quiet minutes.
:: Hearing Levi sing John Rutter’s Star Carol in his little boy voice.
:: Buying all the kids and myself a piece of fruit leather, just because.
:: Doing some rearranging in the kitchen to make room for the groceries I bought yesterday. Ironed out a few more of the organizational wrinkles and got stuff labeled and stowed away, feels good.
:: Bags full of pomegranates and fuyu persimmons from a friend who offered me understanding when I feared censure.
:: Reading an evening message from a cousin far away who is also in the baby days (hello temper tantrums).
A few weeks ago, I was looking photos on Posie Gets Cozy. They’ve finally adopted their long awaited baby girl, and the newborn miracle of it all just struck me in the heart. Those newborn days are so so precious.
Too think that four times I have had that newborn miracle, lived it. So blessed.
Before I could get melancholy over bygone days, I realized that just as I had that, the newborn days, I have this. This with our new home, our homeschooling days, our so grown up almost 8 year old, deliciously five year old, still small three year old, and one I can still call a baby for a few more months. This is my now. This now is as miraculous and fleeting as ever those precious first days were.
It bowled me over. What on earth have I been doing mired in details? I have this and I have it now. Take it, enjoy it, be in it.
All the to-dos, must-dos, should-dos scream at me so loudly sometimes, I get unbalanced (off my rocker?). I get caught, literally stuck, in a whirl of overwhelm and I can’t fight my way out. My patience is snappy, my kindness comes out with a sharp edge.
A few months ago, I was saved from the tyranny of feeling unhappy by Sylvia Boorstein with this simple idea: The question is not whether you feel happy, the question is are you able to be kind?
I’d like to add to that now. In order for me to be kind, and patient, and gentle, I have to be happy.
The truth is that when I’m locked in stress or overwhelm or unbalance, I cannot muscle my way to gentleness. I cannot maintain patience. I turn into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde apparition that mortifies me.
So for all of our sakes, I’ve been asking myself the question, Am I able to be kind? If the answer is no, I do my best to find a way out of whatever has me all caught up. What will help me find the space to be kind (to be happy?)?
Sometimes the answer is letting go of the housework. Looking above the messes so that I can fully engage with the children.
Sometimes the answer is cleaning house. Putting other things aside so that we can calmly bring order back to our space.
I’ve let go of a lot of things in the past few weeks. (The to-do list is truly breathtaking.) At the same time, I have spent more time laughing with my children. More time listening with my full attention. More time with a peaceful heart. More crafts. More sewing costumes. More opening pomegranates. More goofiness. More soccer. More singing. More kindness, more gentleness, more patience.
This is it, this is my now. I’m counting my good moments.
What good moments did you have today?