Sometimes, we can feel like we’re all alone in our journey, even when we are surrounded by a few really amazing people, who are holding our hands and lifting our spirits. What is it that makes us take those few amazing people for granted, while we pine for those who turn away from us, who criticize us, who judge us?
My husband is my rock. He’s supportive to a fault sometimes; always encouraging me to try new things, even when he’s not so sure it’s a great idea. The other day, while I was reading, I looked up at him as he sat in the barrel chair in front of the window, steaming coffee on the table next to him. He read from the same book I was and I realized just how lucky I am to have him in my life. I’m not sure I deserve him, but I am so thankful for him.
I don’t give him enough credit for what he does and for who he is. Not only is he super talented, he’s really funny. He’s a great father and stepfather. He’s also got great ideas and I love chatting with him. Often, you can find us in the living room, with no television on, chatting well into the night. He makes me want to be a better person. He also reminds me that I’m enough, just as I am.
That said, I often take him for granted. I know this when he asks me, “Do you love me?” I love him more than I have ever loved any man and yet I am not the best at showing affection. I do try, but physical affection is not my love language. I used to be the girl who didn’t like to be touched at all. Light caresses made my skin crawl. A massage made me cringe. I’ve come a long way, but I still have a long way to go. The trick is: his love language IS physical affection and so for us, this can sometimes be a bit challenging.
Even besides all of that, I take him for granted too often. It’s ridiculous how I take the ones I love most for granted while I embrace more shallow, even temporary interactions. We all do it, don’t we? Our spouses do something for us and we act like they only do it because they have to, but someone else does something for us and we’re over-the-moon grateful.
I have done the same with my children and have poured attention and time into mere acquaintances or “good” causes so often throughout the years, while I have put my children off for later. When looking back, I couldn’t care less about the other distractions, the causes, or the acquaintances. All I want is my children at my side to share memories of our life together. The other stuff could have waited, but I was too wrapped up in trying to be somebody, to do something with my life that I failed to see that I was putting off the most important thing in my life: my family.
Time spent with our families is never wasted. That’s a lesson I have learned the hard way.
I think we do this because we get caught up in the lie that we have time; that there’s always tomorrow. We get worn down by the minor details of living that we forget that our lives are but a blink. I think many stay-at-home moms also get caught up in the lie that what we’re doing isn’t enough. That we have to have something going on besides “just being a mom,” but I think this is bullshit.
Being a mother is a great position to be in. We raise the future. We are challenged on a daily basis. We work hard, all day long. Our reward isn’t in a paycheck, it’s in kisses and snuggles, and watching our children grow to adults. It’s long nights and very short years. Some days it’s wonderful and other days, it’s downright hard and I find myself wanting to run away, or find a rock to hide under for a while. Sometimes I tell my daughter I’ve changed my name to Rumpelstiltskin, or something she can’t pronounce, just so I can have some peace and quiet. The struggle is real, ya’ll!
In all of the struggle, I sometimes forget to be present.
I forget to be grateful.
I forget to cherish the giggles and the snuggles, and the arguments over where to eat.
I fail to realize that one day I’ll miss the voices of my parents and children and grand children. I’ll even miss folding the little shirts and the tiny socks, because time changes everything. Children grow up. Aging voices grow weaker. People I love will pass on to the next chapter in the journey and leave me behind.
Listen to any of the sages, past and present and they will tell us to be present. They tell us to not worry. They tell us to have faith. They tell us to love our neighbors. They tell us to care for the poor. They tell us to let go and live, because that’s where the magic is. That’s where LIFE is. This is what I’m challenging myself to do each day. I fail often, but I want to wrap my arms around this one life that I have and eek out every ounce of living there is and I want to wrap my arms and heart around the people in my life, so they know without a doubt that they are loved and appreciated and cherished, because they are.