Friday, October 5, 2012

{If you want sweet tunes while you read, scroll down first, click 'go there now' to Playlist, and click 'Play all.'  Be patient.}
I love the kids being in school.
I'm only physically WITH them 8 hours a day.
And despite the abundant amount of time I have to myself right now,
I seem to be even MORE busy.
And more annoyed.
How does that happen?
I'm awake earlier.  Up later.  More tired.  More on edge.
Cramming more and more in to every free moment. 
Writing, reading, editing, texting, emailing, editing, networking, reading, surfing, exercising, driving, preparing. . .
at break-neck speed.
When 6pm rolls around,
I'm short on patience, joy, even love.
And some days, I've hardly touched my children, held, kissed, or hugged their little bodies close to me,
not once grabbed their cheeks for a big kiss on the mouth.
Not a single tousle of thick, sandy-blonde hair,
or one snuggle on the couch.
That's when I know,
I've done it all wrong that day.
Too much of nothing.
I don't like ending the day that way, 
without having connected to the people who are more important than ANYthing else I've done or could possibly do. 
I know all too well, this (above) way of living is not sustainable.
Hence, the Friday night shut down.  Where I crash hard.
When delivery pizza, pajamas and the couch beckon wildly. 
When the week prior, all my accomplishments, achieving, scrambling,
really amount to nothing.  
Nothing but exhaustion, resentment, bewilderment.
So, I've learned to let it go.
Thankful for Friday night, the beginning of and ushering in to a slower pace for the weekend ahead. 
A small reflection of all I TRIED to do
and all I really didn't need to.
And how to do it better the next week.
I was browsing through old pics on my phone the other day.
Longing for days that have long since passed but are forever ingrained in my memory.
Diapers and chubby legs, tiny heads, wispy hair and rosy cheeks fast asleep and pressed against my chest, the scampering of little feet across the wood floors, tiny hands trying to pick up even tinier pieces of food.
How does it go so fast?
Even if we're consciously aware of time and slowing our pace to meet the needs of our heart's longing?
I don't know.
But I know our boys will still become men.
Our daughters will become women, in the blink of an eye.
Regardless of our efforts to stop them.
I'm getting used to having all 3 kids out of the house, ALL day.  It is lovely.
And in the in-between moments, I still find myself holding on, wanting the craziness of raising small children, to last. 
These odd moments in the middle of a crazy afternoon or rushed morning,
where, whether by God, the universe, my tired brain,
I'm JOLTED to the present.
A little voice within, saying, "STOP!  LOOK AT WHAT'S BEFORE YOU!  LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING.  BE. In. It."
Watching my almost 4-year-old try to zip his jacket himself,
my 6-year-old tie her own shoes, slowly but surely.
My 8-year-old comb is hair to the left like his dad, tuck in his shirt and tighten is belt buckle.
A small glimpse in our hectic mornings,
in to what heaven must be like.
Pure amazement.  Awe.  Beauty and appreciation in small things such as this.
I still wonder if this is it.
No more kids?
No more babies to swaddle and wake to in the middle of the night?
Nurse in the early hours of the morning?
Bathe in little bathtubs, with little washrags, little towels, cover in little onesies and little blankets? 
Charlie's first day of preschool was no big thang.
I've been too busy with my days full of projects to stop long enough to let it effect me.
Well, until it did.
Watching his little almost-four-year-old frame bound up the steps, 
Buzz Lightyear backpack fit snugly to his little shoulders. . .
I wanted to throw up.
Thinking about just that.  Is this it?
A knot in the pit of my stomach, again, watching my life run up the stairs to another world.  A world of more growth, more people, more dangers, more distance from me and the safe little bubble I, as a mother, work to create for them.
Although my husband is pretty sure our family is at its max, I'm still not settled there.  And don't know the answer.
Do we have more?  Do we move along?
Do we slowly close that chapter and meander in to the next one? 
It's just too heavy a question to answer right now.
In the meantime, busyness keeps me from pondering too long, forcing me to focus on what I need to do now.
I sit contentedly in the small things.
Gracie's beautiful, hand-written notes, found amongst the chaos of our house. . .
(Think she's calling me "Favre."  I've always seen myself as a "Quarterback" of sorts.)
Or this.
Lovely.  Hey, she's honest.
Lazy Sunday afternoons, toes curled beneath afghans, napping to the game.
 Followed by lazy dinners of hot dogs and tator tots.
Football at the park across the street with the neighbor boys.
Their sweet, little red-topped heads, a true joy to see each day, 
images of them, a small little piece of Americana to me, 
Norman Rockwell-esque moments of boys being boys.
Playing 'til the sun has long since left.
Spending time, despite the crazy schedules, 
teaching my people how to "give back" and what that really means.
That a world exists outside of their precious little lives.
Tats. . .because they're B.A.
The little moments only a mother gets to experience. . .
Like Charlie walking up to me as I work frantically to edit photos, to sniff the arm of my sweater.
"Ah, what are you doing, sir?" 
"Smewwing you." 
Taking this as my cue, to stop. 
To lift his fast-growing body to my lap, to kiss, hug, squeeze, smell.
Realizing the magnitude and beauty in moments like this. . .to be someone's whole world, despite the unlovable parts of me, and shown unconditional love through the oddest of gestures.  
Like the sniffing of an arm.
Or Gracie crawling under Charlie's bed in the dark of the morning hours, in her Cinderella undies, no less,
to snuggle up to his side where he lay crying because he was afraid to go to preshool.
"Charlie, honey.  It's going to be okay.  When I was little?  I used to be afraid of preschool.  But then I overcame my fear.  You're going to have so much fun."
Big sister coaxing him out with more patience, gentleness and kindness then I could EVER muster up that early in the morning.
These lovely moments where I realize how much better they are than I am.  And how much I have to learn from THEM.  What a gift.
This time of year, not just enjoying the goings-on in our home,
but the splendor of the scenery around us. . .
right outside our front door.
Our quiet little Stillwater tree-lined street. . .
My neighbors' clothes, drying on the line, in the warm, Autumn sun.
 Our ordinary ride to school,
becoming extraordinary.
Hope you're celebrating and enjoying the simple and ordinary in this beautiful time of year.
Love, Liz



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