Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Today is Beautiful

So, I haven't blogged the past few weeks, but I have been investing daily entries into a different journal of sorts.  It started with a Russian girl and an epiphany.  No no, it started much, much earlier.

See, I have this inconvenient tendency to live in the future.  I've completely forgotten the past (no really, I have a dreadful memory bank), and the present is stressful but more significantly, it's just not as awesome as my future, right?  RIGHT??  I've been doing it for years and years, always living for the next holiday, the next baby milestone, the next evening of solitude.  Well, I decided enough is enough and I'd like to try to live more fully in the present.  I mean, my future is going to be awesome, no doubt about it, but my present is pretty awesome as well, and I don't want to miss out on it.

I've thought periodically about starting a gratitude journal of sorts for years, but of course never did.  Then there was 2012.  It's taken me three solid postpartum months to get on my feet again, meaning to feel like a humanoid and gain a glimmer of control over my house and children.  After having Amelia, I just felt so so overwhelmed every day.  I was expecting this, but it was still disheartening to feel hopelessly behind on so many responsibilities and projects and feel so unable to accomplish anything at all, like checking my email.  Or washing my hair. 

Making lists really worsened my plight.  I recall several nights on which I'd stare blankly at my enormous list of goals and responsibilities and cry.  I was really trying to be reasonable, and there was still no conceivable way I could do and be everything I should.  I wasn't attempting to pursue hobbies, just attend to my children's basic needs as well as my own.  But emptying the dish washer and reading to the kids 20 minutes a day was not about to happen when here we were at 6pm and I hadn't yet found time all day to go pee.  I felt thoroughly discouraged, and very sorry for all of my children dealing with the reality of sharing their thinly spread mother with each other. 

I wish I could say something magical changed my perspective and things turned happy and possible again.  Really, though, things haven't much changed.  I am, however, growing more and more accustomed to my new (lack of) routine and learning how much is reasonable to expect.  For instance, before Amelia was born I'd have at least an hour or two each day to myself during which Charlie slept and the older kids were in school.  Now I have learned to expect no personal time during the day and even into the evening, as Amelia's sleeping and eating habits have really yet to form any predictable pattern.

Days have gradually improved.  A comforting realization that I consider often is simply that there is a season and a time for everything.  Also that the season for making lists of your life goals is not when you're two months postpartum.

My more significant realization is this: there is a season for gratitude, and it is always.  Tomorrow will be great, but today is also beautiful. So in my bedside journal, I record one thing that made my life beautiful today.  Things like going to Target to buy at full price framed art I've been eying for some time and discovering it was on sale that week, or Charlie smugly humming primary songs as he dumps out the contents of my kitchen drawers, making it more difficult to be upset at him. 

I like to think that God has a hand in my life each day, and pausing to reflect on the blessings of my day helps me realize how present he really is-- I didn't use to see joys like getting dinner on the table on time or sneaking in a short afternoon siesta as evidences of God's hand, but why wouldn't they be?  It's humbling and exhilarating and mostly just makes me happy.  Happy to be who I am, have what I have, and do what I do.  That peace and affirmation is all I was really craving.

A sweet mama from Russia in the Thunderbird family club met Amelia for the first time at a potluck dinner.  She has her own daughter about Charlie's age and it keeps her busy.  She smiled at me as I attempted alone to rally my children from the four corners of the room and with a thick Russian accent exclaimed, "Wow.  Four kids.  You must be so..." As she paused, my stream of consciousness finished her sentence: exasperated?  exhausted?  mentally unstable?  I would have responded affirmatively to any of these adjectives.  But no.  "You must be so.... happy," she finished. 

I heard myself answer, "Yeah, I am."  At that moment I was just being polite.  But really, of course I'm happy.  Of course I am.



blaine and michelle said...

Love you T. You really are the awesomest, even if you don't have time to pee. We're all just doing our best. And that's all we're supposed to do! Love you!

Heather said...

Tiffany, I seriously love you girl! This post is exactly what I needed to hear today. Because I too am readjusting to my new reality. No, I won't be able to accomplish a forth of the many things I used to do before ... like cleaning, reading,or taking any time to myself. But realizing the simple joys of getting dinner on the table & snuggling my baby are so important. I too sometimes live in the future. Thanks for helping me realize that I need to enjoy the present more fully.

Aubrey said...

Wow, Amelia is starting to look just like Ellie! I am so sorry you have been feeling so overwhelmed lately. Although probably not your extent, I have been feeling ever discouraged at my growing list of thongs to dos, especially when the day ends and I haven't checked off one thing! Please let me take your kids for you so you can take a break! You deserve it, I need to serve more,and Addie would love it- everybody wins!! :) hang in there, by the way, I love your rs lessons!

sara said...

How is it possible to have such cute kids! Great realization. I could use some of that thinking. Way to be supermom!

Joe and Christie said...

Well said, T. You have always been so dang mature. Keep teaching me, please. :)

P.S. What a deliciously chubby baby! So cute.

Bryce said...

Wonderfully great thoughts, Tiff! You have a beautiful way of writing about parenting and life.

Brooke said...

I really really love this. And I really needed to hear it.

Just so you know, I think you are a fabulous mother, and in my eyes, you always seem to have things together.

Marilyn said...

Sure do miss you guys..,move back to Utah....it's more fun that way.