I can't explain what happens to me when the house goes quiet and I sit down with a blank piece of blog paper in front of me. Many of you have read along for years and you may remember there was a season before life exploded and there wasn't nearly a day I would miss the chance to sit down and put the stuff on the inside- out and available for anyone. I actually enjoy writing more than animal crackers which if you have known me longer than this blog you know that is a whole lot. At one point in college I calculated that I had spent close to $600 on animal crackers in about 5 years. I was concerned by that number and decidely quit but it didn't last long. So as you see I really do enjoy stringing my thoughts together on paper or on here but I don't like to edit and reread so I have never made a solid writer with real credentials. I worked for the Atlanta paper in high school and one summer after and it proved to me that getting paid for what you love to do isn't always the best thing, especially if you aren't a rule follower. So like my writing, much of who I once that I was has gone by the waist side for a bit. I know full well that the "she" that I once thought I knew is there but there just isnt a spare second to develop her character right now. (And even as I write that I chuckle on the inside knowing that what I am doing now is molding me more into who I really am anyway than any of the writing, exercising, hostessing, party planning, trip taking, exploring ever would do.)
I say all that because I am so surprised at my half-efforts made to come here, to one of my favorite places to unwind. I would think even among 60 extremeties to be cut every 3rd day and the diaper trash that goes out atleast daily (I'll worry about my carbon foot print on another day) that I would find a few minutes to steal to atleast get a little writing done.... a little part of the true me out there..but as you have seen.....it just doesn't happen. But neither do alot of things. If anything profound comes from this season it is that I have learned the art of loving myself and I have slowly learned to give myself grace and not be so hard on the me that can't seem to do the things I used to do....even with just two kids. I can't believe that I was any better at paying attention to my talents and ambitions just one short kid ago?!?! Somehow, 3 has been the number that has broken me, and I am truly grateful it has....
Because it has allowed us the pleasure of truly living in the moment.
It's raining now and it will probably rain for a few days so come Thursday I may change my mind but for now I am being romanced by the rain. The boys and I sat in the garage earlier today just smelling the rain as it just began. Then on our way into our favorite rainy day lunch at Chick fil A we found every puddle in our path and made sure to get wet enough to leave foot prints once inside. I will never claim to have the patience or creativity of a teacher but in the car today me and the big boys talked for atleast 10 minutes (which is a long time in toddler years) about the rain and how it comes from God, nourishes the trees and the flowers, and it is a gift to us. Then, for one of the first times in his short three years, Brooks, started to pretend he was on a ship in the water (while we were driving) and he was opening his map to find our way home. I never thought hearing your child pretend would be so beautiful? Would you read into all of this with me? Many of you may be bored by our little morning but I just have to write these things down because I know that they will go and be gone quickly and how I would have hated to have been on my phone during all of that. How I will want to have had a real memory, deep, deep down of our often long days together - even the ones drenched in rain.
This isn't at all where I thought this little "monthly purge" would go but that is what I love about this living in the moment type of thing that I have finally started to appreciate. Honestly, before this most recent season (aka - 3 years and 3 kids)I was always looking for the next date on my calendar or the next trip, or the next milestone to celebrate. Lately, the conversations in the rain and the 20 minutes playing with the boys deep inside the slide at the park hold even more excitement for me than anything else. Having our kids close together has done this to me. It's shown me just how quickly each phase goes by. Brad said it best the other day and it sunk deep in my gut and it kinda hurt. He said, "Just think...William will be 3 in a year and 3 seems to be the point where things are a little more easy so by this time next year we'll be 2/3'rds of the way through with the hard stuff." Ouch. He didn't mean it to wish away where we are but more as a high place to look to...a place to set our sights. But in my gut I wanted to melt into a puddle. Though an easier season would probably do all of us some good around here - I don't want it to come quickly for any reason...not even for the thought of throwing out the diapers or donating one of our now THREE cribs to a new family or having anymore time to myself. It is obvious, I have never been more needed (and physically drained) in my 30 years but I have also never felt more useful. For so many years leading up to my plunge into motherhood I just wanted to be used. I didn't need to make a ton of money or be the best at whatever my title was - but I did want to feel like I contrubuted. FInally after all of that searching and praying, I know I am contributing, even without the paycheck or daily kudos from coworkers to prove it. And there is so much to be said for feeling available to do whatever it is you are truly needed to do. For my sake, I am grateful I wasn't deep in the middle of a demanding and satisfying career when the call to mother children came my way. I know it would be impossible for me to be excellent at both and that is all I ever wanted...to be all in to one thing. To be all about it no matter the sacrifice.
The other big secret of this season of life that we are in is that you don't have to make sense to anyone but the 5 people within your own walls. Often I tell people that my family feels so fragile right now. There isn't a more perfect word. The big boys would mimic someone skipping into 285-traffic if they had even the slightest ounce of trust in that person. This makes the world all of a sudden seem like such a threat, from the things on tv to the words in the songs on even B 98.5, to the way a toddler friend treats his little sibling. They are sponges and it seems my job is to filter the water that touches their surface. But then there's me.....I am an even bigger sponge. Being a mom is a weird role in many ways....of course I am interested in how everyone else is doing it but only because somewhere along the way something taught me that I didn't know how to do it in the first place. My most freeing days are when I unplug from social media, turn off the tv, put down the parenting book, and think for myself about how I would like to train, rebuke, teach, love and instruct my little people. Our most natural moments come when I draw from within me....what my mama taught me and what is in my core and then decide for myself and for our family how we should preceed. I finally get the silly saying my mom always said about everyone else jumping off that bridge.
And with that - I have found myself more confidently saying no. Can you feel the burden fall off my shoulders just writing that? It has never felt so good to JUST SAY NO. No, we are not going out of town for a short 24 hour trip even to a fun place with our fragile little family, no we are not buying an ipad for the three year old (yet), no I can't come tonight...it just won't work for us. The other theme these days is "what is simple?" Dinners are simple, weekends are simple, birthday gifts are often homemade, morning activities involve a few solo cups and some string, and with these short little words - no and simple- I have experienced more authentic joy than all of the alternatives combined. The best part is - for the first time ever I don't feel the need to explain to anyone either. For one of the first time's ever - it doesn't have to make sense to every one else. It just has to fall in line with our values and our priorities. Though we may be fragile right now, we do have a well fortified wall around us because of these boundaries we have set. We are on a lock down of sorts but inside these walls it feels so darn good...and, it's oh so cozy, therefore, I don't mind the looks or comments or opinions one bit. What a sweet place to live!
Aptly, this is what I have been reading over and over and over this month and if you know me well or have texted me for any reason in the last few weeks I have probably sent you on your way with these beautiful words. This is from Psalm 138. How perfectly lovely and pleasing to a mom, a daughter, a wife, a husband, anyone..... These few words speak so much louder to me than any pat on the back or 100th like on facebook. These words assure me that I am known, no matter how far away from myself I feel and no matter who understands what I am up to these days. What perfect, perfect words on this perfectly rainy day.
Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit down and you know when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all of my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain. Psalm 138
And here are just a few of the smiles that make the long days worth it all. Trust me, there are just as many whiney hours, nose bleeds, scrapes, and tongue biting moments so it isn't always tied in a pretty blue bow but hopefully you know that about us anyway.Enjoy!
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