My thoughts have been scattered lately.
I'm not even sure I can accurately describe what kind of scattered exactly, but it's ranged everywhere from longing to get away to the beach, soak up the sun, and enjoy an endless amount of diet cokes complete with umbrellas in them, to farm living (yes, again....that one's come up way too much~ it's now officially on my bucket list), to moving toward a more simplified way of living (more on that to come), to the fact that our black lab has shed enough hair lately to make one million little black labs, requiring lots of time spent vacuuming for me. I don't think she's handling the adjustment to our new puppy, Sue Mexico, (yes, that really is her name) as well as we hoped she would. But considering Addy was a little neurotic before Sue Mex joined our family, it very well may have nothing to do with her at all.
Yes, I'm a little scattered.
And not just with the mundane daily things, or the dreams of beachy vacations...even though it didn't help at all when today I noticed this photo as it flashed across the slide show on our computer:
My baby at 17 months.
Not only is this photo ridiculously yummy, (I know, I'm a biased mom, but those curls? STOP IT.)
but it also relates to the post...I think. ;)
Life in the Moment.
There's this collection of signs hanging in our kitchen that together read, "Live your life in the moment."
Honestly, before I bought it, when I would hear this phrase, it seemed like a bad thing. I mean, if you're just living in the moment, won't you do a bunch of stupid stuff? Something dangerous? Crazy?
I'm typically more practical than spontaneous, so it's understandable that I would go there. But when I saw the sign that I quickly bought, that now hangs in our kitchen, something snapped in my head. It didn't hurt. ;) I started to think about my family of 5, my friends, and our extended family, and realized how very much I wanted to live in the moment with them. You see, this photo of Hunter was taken the same month that my grandmother passed away. She was very much a live-in-the-moment kind of girl...one of the many things I loved about her. I'd love nothing more than to have had more time with her~ she was a total blast. And while I can't bring her back, (but oh, wow....how much I wish I could) I can most definitely instill her fun, spontaneous ways into my life.
A very cool legacy I'm sure she'd be proud of.
We've already established that life with kids is crazy. And busy. And unpredictable.
While I long for this blog to be a place where moms can come together, celebrate their great mom moments, and regroup from their not-so-great mom moments, laugh at/with each other...I don't want it to be a place to celebrate mediocrity. We were made for way more than that.
Let's face it: we're all going to have bad mom moments. That doesn't make us bad moms.
Some days, living in the moment is merely celebrating the fact that we were able to get the kids to school on time...even if we did so in our pajamas. In fact, I celebrated that very thing yesterday, extra thankful to God for no flat tires or traffic stops. That would have been awkward. ;) I am so not a morning person...and I've accepted the probability that I might never be, so being on time to school (or anywhere else, for that matter) is kind of a big deal. There are going to be days when we're tired, the kids have gone nuts, we've reached a new level of crazy, and we're counting the minutes until bedtime.
That's normal....but my hope is that it can be the exception, and not the rule.
My hope is that the norm will look more like this:
fort-building in the playroom, or family room, or bedroom, etc.
spur-of-the-moment frozen yogurt runs
sidewalk chalk art on the driveway
cold, rainy Saturday mornings
crammed into snuggled in bed together
family movie nights
camping in the backyard
roasting marshmallows in the fireplace
neighborhood baseball games (or football, basketball, whatever)
picnics at the park
hide and seek
lunchbox love notes
I want to be heard saying, "YES! Let's do it!" way more than I'm heard saying "In a minute."
When my kids want to bake, or play a game, or go to the park, or play catch, I want to be able to drop what I'm doing and go for it more often than I do. NOT to overindulge their every whim...that's not what I'm talking about. And NOT to make them think my world completely revolves around them...that's not healthy for any of us. What I'm suggesting is that we realize how very fleeting this life is, how very quickly these little people that live in our house will become big people who leave to start careers and families of their own....and make sure we don't miss any of it.
I don't want to sound unrealistic here.
I'm not suggesting that you cram your day full of one activity after another.
But if you're like me, your default response to requests is "Not now" or "Maybe later."
That needs to stop.
There's a lot of pressure we put on ourselves when it comes to raising kids.
Finding the balance between exposing them to all the things they need to see and do as they grow, while still leaving time for them to explore and play on their own.
You can spend 5 minutes on Facebook, reading up on what everyone else is doing this weekend, people heading out to this concert, that movie, this game, that event, this vacation, etc, etc, etc, and quickly feel like a loser parent who isn't providing enough "stuff" for your kids.
When I think about my childhood, do you know what my favorite memories are?
There's one that involves my mom, Reagan, and I searching for these tiny frogs that were living in our backyard when we lived in Tulsa. I think I was 5. There is another one of my dad taking me to the toy store, not to buy something, but to let me ride the bikes up and down the aisles. We did that a lot. The employees there loved us. ;) There's the little outfits my mom sewed for my Barbies, and the countless hours my dad spent throwing pop flies and grounders to me in the yard so I'd be ready for the next softball season. There's the summers spent in my grandparents' backyard, collecting fireflies.
Were these over-the-top things? Nope. But they are without a doubt the memories I treasure the most.
Big, special things have a place in our childhood. Memories can definitely be made there, and it's good to provide those kind of experiences for your kids every once in awhile.
But I'm willing to bet that if you ask your kids, years from now, what their favorite childhood memories are, their answers will include the smaller things that didn't seem like such a big deal at the time.
If you need proof, read this. Last summer we took the boys to Disney World. We had an amazing time, rode lots of rides, saw lots of things, had breakfast with Mickey and the gang, bought souvenirs, took lots of pictures....it was epic. For 6 days we carpe diemed the heck out of that place.
On the way home we asked the boys what their favorite part of the trip was.
Do you know what their unanimous answer was? The pool at the hotel.
I wish I could say I was joking, but I can't.
This summer we're booking the Holiday Inn down the street. ;)
(disclaimer: Disney World rocked. The boys have brought up our trip several times since last summer, saying they hope we get to go again someday. Maybe we will, but I'm not positive. There are so many things we want to do with them, and for us and our budget, that might have been more of a "once in a lifetime" family memory for us. And it was an amazing one, so no regrets there).
This isn't hard....we don't need to make it hard. Just take time to slow down and live in the moment, one day at a time. Remember that these little moments really do matter. That you're creating memories that your kids are going to carry with them forever. And that it's the small, seemingly-insignificant, every day kind of things to add up to a lifetime of happy. :)