This week has brought me many lovely surprises. Early on, I had a deep, spiritually rich and profound conversation with my first born. Then my lovely daughter filled the house with the fragrance of her baking (she made banana bread to lift the spirits of a co-worker). This morning Ev tells me in the car how much he loves me “so much in the whole world”, and finally, I come home to a package in the mail from Aaron and Allison: two bags of Aaron’s delicious Good Food Award winning Coffee. Yes please!!!
Of course a couple decades ago, I experienced days of diapers and potty-training and homeschooling–when they were all young and two or more houseguests lived in the back room–days I thought I might lose my mind.
I could not see an end to the constant duties of parenting small children; I felt inadequate and undervalued and completely incapable. During those years, I struggled with never leaving the house. I felt all I ever did–work, play, eat, sleep–was in the same place.
These days, I long for staying home, finding time to leisurely cook, building snowmen and shaping snow angels with my Little Wonder. I miss afternoon coffee with my neighbor and impromptu visits to the park. I miss cookies and cocoa at my friend Michele’s while the kids played hockey on her ice pond.
As I am reflecting on all of this (while sipping Aaron’s prize winning coffee), I realize the danger of “if only” thinking.
If only my life were like so and so’s.
If only my kids were older or younger or neater or smarter.
If only I had kids.
If only the right side of my hair would stop flipping up instead of under. (Seriously, I wish it would stop!)
The grass always seems greener in the neighbors yard, the struggles less frequent, the money problems less prevalent, the illnesses less severe, (insert King of Siam accent here) etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
Today is a New Day.
Announce it to the world.
Today is a new day of gratitude and peaceful living. It’s Valentine’s Day, and I want to celebrate in a new way. Historically, Valentine’s Day is not just a day for lovers and romance. It is a day known for sacrificial love and kindness and justice.
Today I choose to focus my attention on the things that are right in my world, on the small ways I can make a difference with kindness, on extending mercy to someone because too often I am the one in need of receiving it. Of course I realize even with my resolutions, my mind may wander to the Land of Ifonly. But I intentionally chose to call myself back to this new day.
Sure there still will be those moments my hands are full of a laptop bag and Ev’s school project and three grocery sacks when Ev decides to stop dead in his tracks in the middle of a busy parking lot refusing to move unless I carry him because he’s afraid he’s going to “slip and fall on the slippery slide-y snow ice”. The high drama and near hysteria of my burgeoning young actor is enough to push a mother of any age off the edge of insanity.
(Insert quiet assertion–also known as “self-talk”) Today is a new day.
Yes. Even on the brink of insanity, I choose to remember what a joy my adult children are to me–how all the hours of time invested in them paid off in this glorious new day of precious conversation, random acts of kindness and unexpected gifts.
I look deep into Ev’s blue eyes, take his hand with my two free fingers and whisper, “Just hang on to Mama my love and don’t worry about a thing: Mama won’t let you fall.”
He looks up with trust and hope in his eyes.
I am still in this moment and grateful–focused on reassuring Ev and allaying his fear.
I am still in this moment and grateful for my children on earth (and in heaven)–how they continue to bring me lovely surprises and fill my life with joy.
I am still in this moment and grateful.
I am still in this moment.
I am still.