Aside from a frequent prayer to Jesus during the day, there’s something else I’ve been trying to be intentional about telling myself lately: Lighten up.
I’ve been trying to be really intentional about noticing the gifts and pleasures of my motherhood, and not letting the lots of little frustrations build up so quickly.
Yes, there are lots of little messes. Yes, there are lots of little conflicts to resolve. Yes, I can never seem to get on top of my laundry for more than 12 hours. But there are so many little treasures in my day, if I stop (often feeling sorry for myself) long enough to see them.
They say that is what I will remember, when I am old and my children are long grown and flown away. I love Rachel Jankovic’s point that when the harvest is in, I will not remember the work of all this planting.
Here are some of the gifts I’ve noticed over the past few weeks:
Gabe and Faith’s daily journal stories
My kids’ artwork above the sink
Faith making a book for me entitled, “My Life is Fun!”
Gabe being a tender, patient big brother (at least to the babies)
Gabe and Roman mock-fighting with lightsabers (one of the swords stubbornly held together with duct tape)
Going through CC’s to break a $10 bill so the Tooth Fairy would have money to exchange for Faith’s first lost tooth
The girls wanting to wear Michael and I’s t-shirts as pajamas
“Alexa, tell us a Batman joke!”
“Abogadoes” instead of avocadoes
The delight in Gabe’s face when I presented him with a drawer full of duct tape rolls for his personal use
Gianna humming to the baby and rubbing his tummy
Roman kissing his little brother
A field trip to the zoo (the kids were incredibly well-behaved!)
Gabe finally (and proudly) mastering his Act of Contrition (he’s soon going to make his First Confession!)
“Jewels in Heaven” competitions among the three big kids
Sleepy-slow mornings in pajamas with a big breakfast instead of cereal…just because
Elaborate magnet block and Lego creations all over the house
Reading “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” aloud as a family
Gabe asking me to “tell me everything you know” about the Statue of Liberty
Waking up occasionally with snugging little girls and boys in our bed
My 10-week-old’s first giggle
My 17-month-old’s first steps
My four-year-old’s pride at reading her first words
Soft, fuzzy, warm baby head snoring under my chin
The kids all bursting out the front door to welcome visitors
The kids wrestling with their dad in the living room
All five kids with me in our bed on a sleep-in-and-snuggle homeschooler morning
Roman carrying around his blue blanket with his thumb in his mouth
I spend too much time worrying if I’m being a great mom, and too little time acknowledging that I’m doing OK. I need to remember that He will not give me a stone when I ask for wisdom, ability, and grace to give good things to my children.
“If our children’s lives are the sea floor, we need to leave the gold all over it, everywhere, in little bits. We can’t do it one big nugget. We can’t even do it in a bunch of medium chunks. We have to leave gold through their lives in a fine dust that’s spread all over everything. At the end of our children’s lives, we hope we hope it is worth a fortune. But at any given moment it is the little things that contain the gold. The gold is quick forgiveness. It is quick repentance. It is cheerful smiles and tender hugs. It is teasing and laughing. It is loving. It is Daddy throwing yet another wrestle party all over the house. It is dinner. Regular. Predictable. It is having physical needs looked after. It is being disciplined. It is being challenged. It is being educated. Being made to do something you didn’t want to. It is not being the boss. It is not getting away with lying. It is knowing who to talk to. It is knowing you will feel better when you do. It is security. It is joy. It is every day. It is life. It is knowing your faith, and knowing that it is your parents’ too. It is knowing your people and being known by them.”
― Rachel Jankovic,
I’ve been trying to lighten up more lately. To smell the roses (like the droopy camellias my kids pick off our bushes as presents to me). I’ve been trying to remember that the “gold dust” I’m spreading over my children’s lives is often unconsciously given in the small loving habits and comfortable routines of each day. I’ve been trying to appreciate the golden moments my life gives me in between all the messes…while those moments are happening right in front of me.
To lighten up is to smell the roses while they are in bloom.