Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Now

It's the end of another day.

Laundry, pick up, diapers changed, dinner prep, sweeping, mopping, nursing, toilet was another busy day. And even though I worked constantly through the day- by the time the kids are fed, bathed, and snuggled in their beds- I look around and it seems as though I did nothing all day. The last half hour before dinner things just seem to unravel and the house implodes on itself. Somehow. Every day.

And today as I did my endless list of chores, I thought a lot about how a new year just started (it did....right?) and how people were posting resolutions and changes and goals for the new year. The days are blurring together, so I totally lost track of when this new year started. But I know it did not that long ago. Facebook is still weeding through the last of the status updates on it, and when I'm up at 2am feeding a hungry baby- Facebook status perusal keeps me awake.

As I pondered this new year, I knew that this year I'm not going to see any big career accomplishments. I'm not going to get in the best shape of my life, and I'm not going to travel to the exotic places that are tucked away in my "someday" file. I'm not going to cut out all sugar this year- or cut out caffeine (oh heavens no). I'm not going to get another degree. I'm not going to turn my house into my dream house on Pinterest.

I thought about goals and resolutions that would be reasonable for me to set for myself this year, and all I could think about was "the now". Not next month. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Not six hours from now. Right now.

My whole life I have wasted far too much time looking for the next exciting moment- or just for things to get easier. I have ignored the "now" for a glittery "then", but by the time "then" arrived it was the "now" and was rushed past for the fireworks up ahead.

I am the mother to three very small children. They are all in different stages- stages that each have their own, unique trials. When Addison and Carter were newborns, I wished it away so that we could get to an easier stage that involved SLEEP. And then I wished for them both to be walking so that my back could catch a break on carrying them both everywhere. Then I wished for them to TALK. Then I wished for.... you name it. And every time we passed by current trials, we moved onto new ones.

I know how easy it is to say that life is hard with three small children. NEXT YEAR IT WILL BE EASIER! Next year they will be doing ________ that they aren't doing now. EASIER! But in telling myself that (which probably won't be true, either) I will miss out on the gift of what I have now.

So for 2014, as I have these three very small children in my care, I want to commit this new year to enjoying the "now". Yes, the future up ahead looks exciting too, but I am painfully aware that they will only be these ages once, and even though these ages are physically demanding- they are equally amazing and beautiful. (I don't promise to enjoy every moment, because I'm no fool. Some moments are meant to be hurried through with a ginormous "YOU SURVIVED" trophy handed to you when you're through.)

But the now.

I want to commit to enjoying every single baby snuggle without thinking how much better he'll sleep when he's bigger.

I want to kneel down to the toddlers' level, look them in the eye, and work my very hardest to understand them NOW instead of envisioning our improved communication when they've grown a bit more.

I want to spend my days LIVING them instead of focused on documenting them.

I want to take longer to make cupcakes so that my children can "help" even though it would be so much easier if I just did it myself.

I want to put off folding the laundry just a bit longer so that we can have a random, 3:30 pm dance party.

I want to take my time with diaper changes, instead of hurrying through them- so that I can find that tickle spot on their bellies and hear them laugh.

I want to continue to make and enjoy making nice family dinners even when I know they'll be snubbed 50% of the time by the toddler food critics who would much prefer chips and m&ms for dinner.

I want to take a deep breath and remember that these lives are a gift even when the witching hour between dinner/baths/bed has come and they are acting like complete brats because they are exhausted from a long day.

I want to take extra time to give more hugs, kisses, and snuggles as we take extra time to sit on the couch with a book on tractors. Even though the mirrors probably won't get cleaned that day as a result.

I want to slow down and learn patience instead of yelling at those super frustrating moments when they are going three different directions and ruining all my plans for the day.

I want to focus on what they are amazing at instead of complaining about what they can't do.

I want to smile at them more.

I want to bond with them on things that they love instead of on what I think they should love.

I want to teach instead of nag, pray instead of guilt, and take deep breaths instead of stressing the small things.

I want to relax and be present even when my mind wants to travel to the list that isn't getting done and bathe the day in tension.

I want to be fiercely thankful for them even when I'm cleaning up bathroom accidents or picking up broken pieces of things that were MINE or trying to find the second earring from my favorite pair that is clearly gone for good.

I want to love. I want to listen. I want to learn.

I want to mother with everything I have and be convinced that that is enough.

I want to enjoy every day with 3 small children without hoping for a better tomorrow. Or next month. Or next year.

The now. 

I want to commit 2014 to seizing the now and enjoying the task that is set before me- the lives that are mine to mold, the house that is mine to make a home, the dinners that are mine to create, the laundry that is mine to control. I want to embrace my job with renewed enjoyment. Even when I do it imperfectly, with a toddler hanging off each leg and a baby waking up in the next room.

The now holds so much more than dirty diapers and dishes. If I let it.

It's going to be a great year.

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