Monday, December 19, 2016

Living Fully

I read a devotional about a mom with a twelve year old daughter who refused to walk beside her at the mall. She was flashing back to when her daughter was two and they sang Barney together every morning. She wished she had a chance to go back, just for a day, and sing that song with her baby girl. Something woke up inside of me that day. Something that said, "You have the gift of perspective today, right now. You can embrace it fully or rush through it. Your choice."

I've been in an autopilot mode for awhile now. I make lists, I check them off. I get things done. I multitask. I feel accomplished. But somehow, along the way, I started to feel like my kids where getting in the way of all the things I needed to get done. I love them fully - of course I do - but I haven't been fully present. Every "watch this!" and "Mommy, look at this!" felt like a distraction from the pressing things I had to do. I would watch with one eye on the dishes and one eye on the latest trick and they would catch me. "Mommy! You aren't watching!" I would tell them that I would be glad to watch after the dishes were done. But you see, I was never done. There was always one more load of laundry to fold, one more spelling lesson to teach, one more time that the dog needed to be walked, one more text to answer. I wasn't ever getting to the part where I watched with both eyes and all of my mind.

I am reading a book called Bloom. It's a beautiful memoir about a mother gives birth to her second daughter and learns that the baby has Downs Syndrome. The author embraces motherhood fully, completely, with abandon. As I read, I could feel a small voice saying, "This is the mother that you are. Return to it." At first, I felt guilty. (I'm really good at mom guilt. You too?) And then I felt thankful. I'm much happier in a mode when my house is a perpetual disaster because we made a volcano on the counter then decided to build a fort and then take a walk all before lunch. It felt...freeing. Like I had permission to let the lists go and get back to the way my soul wants to raise these children.

Already, we are happier. We made cookies this weekend, destroyed the kitchen, and lived through at least six meltdowns about keeping spit off the cookies and yet, I didn't feel stressed. I remembered buying the house and saying to my husband, "This is the kitchen where our kids and I will bake Christmas cookies together." I got misty eyed even as my son cried about washing his spit and sprinkle covered hands. This is where memories are made. These are the stories I want to tell.

You may have a different way of keeping your house happy and sane. And I love that we all do this differently. I need spontaneity and creativity to feel alive and well. When my house is spotless, it means that something else in my life is a mess. Maybe you need order. Maybe you need routine. Do it, whatever it is, so that you can be fully present in this time of watching cool tricks and washing sticky fingers. It will end faster than we are ready - At least that's what every grandmother tells me. I choose to live in this time fully. Will you join me?

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