And Then There Were Four

Having my first kid was love at first sight.  I was in awe of that tiny little bundle.  Those ten little fingers and ten little toes made me weak in the knees.  I spent hours just staring at him, marveling at the wonder of life.  He and I, we meshed.  He moved into crawling and walking and still it felt as if this new heart of mine, this mommy heart, beat solely to the rhythm of his.

Then along came baby #2.  Less than 2 years after the arrival of #1.  And it was fun.  Now I got to introduce my first to all the amazing things that make babies so lovable.  I still had energy and patience and somehow I survived just fine on little sleep.  I adored both boys.  I marveled at every new thing they did.  I soaked up all the “Mommy watch this” and the “Mommy hold me.”  I loved being needed.  Tears and meltdowns felt like par for the course where I was able to soothe and restore.  I had this whole Mommy thing down pat.  Life was more chaotic than with just one, but I was good at it.  And I loved it.

Less than 2 years later, #3 arrived.  2 years after that, #4.  And suddenly I was knee deep in crowd control.  Being a Mommy didn’t feel nearly so fun and while I still was in love with each of my babies, there wasn’t a whole lot of time to reflect on the wonders and marvels of little life.  I hardly had time to stare at one before another needed my attention.  I was over here treading deep water just trying my best not to sink.  The first couple of years of #4’s life?  A complete blur.  When did she start walking?  What was her favorite bedtime story?  I’m ashamed to not know.  I’m sure I wrote it down somewhere but the moments aren’t carved into the essence of my heart the way they were with the first one.

Realizing I can’t remember some of those moments because I was moving through life in a daze?  That’s a sobering thought.

I don’t tend to hang myself with guilt or beat myself up with regret.  But I do tend to let my past guide me.

These relationships I have over here?  They’re not just important to me.  They’re my lifeline.  These kids might temporarily be mine before they head off into the wide world but they are my saving grace, my road to sanctification.

How will I possibly live with myself if I don’t nurture the little lives that I labored to bring into this world?

My littlest one is almost 4.  Life has slowed down considerably for me.  We can actually travel and not have to listen to screaming thirty minutes in.  No more diapers or nursing babies.  No more meltdowns eagerly awaiting naptimes.  I’ve got two boys that I can’t remember the last time they asked me to pick them up or hold them.  I only hear “Mommy watch this” occasionally these days.  My once upon a time toddlers now help around the house and ease the workload of this busy mama so life doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

But I’ve spent the past few weeks looking at them wondering how the last few years impacted our relationships.  I know I was here physically, but my goodness, mentally I was exhausted.  Some days I felt like I had nothing left in me to give.  I can’t honestly say that I paused long enough to listen to each of them.  There was always so much laundry and cooking and cleaning and the minute one began to talk, another began to cry.  I literally spent the last few years divided, not really giving fairly to any of them.

Of course it doesn’t help that on top of all my own self-induced responsibilities, I also had the distraction of an outside world.  Text messages, social calls, Facebook groups, the world of internet.  It all moves so fast today.  So very fast.

So how do I nurture the relationships that give me purpose in such a fast paced world?

I have a vision of what I want our relationship to look like twenty years from now.  And so I choose.  I choose to slow down.  To stop and savor.  To be intentional.  Intentional in my plans.  Intentional in my conversations.  Intentional in the moments I share with these darling little beings.  Intentional because that’s how a goal is met…one intention at a time.

If you want to be a pro soccer player someday, you train.  Intentionally.  You don’t spend your days eating bags of potato chips and greasy hamburgers.  You don’t take weeks off  to stay indoors reading books about soccer.  You play soccer.  It’s one training session at a time.  One intentional day at a time.

Relationships are no different.

Sometimes those intentional moments require a complete break from the fast paced beat of our everyday lives.  Sometimes it’s as simple as turning off the phone.  Other times it’s as simple as choosing them over some imagined priority.  It’s always as easy as looking into their eyes when they’re talking to me.  Listening to them when they express themselves (even when that’s done through a cascade of tears or a fit of anger).  Holding them even when they think they don’t need to be held.

Those things pressing into me from every side.   Most of those things will still be there tomorrow.  They’ll still be there twenty years from now.  But these relationships I’m building?  That’s happening now.  And I have to choose.  If I want those to look like I imagine in twenty years, then I have to choose to be intentional today.

 

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

Being intentional can be as lovely as glancing out of your window and finding a hidden chapel on the top of a sand dune right in the middle of a cluster of houses and then taking a few minutes to explore.  If we hadn’t been looking out of our windows, with intention, we’d have missed the charm of this little beauty.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

A moment to stop and connect.  It’s intentional and beautiful.  Take a moment now to stop and connect.

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

{A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}

Being intentional is easier said than done.  It’s easier imagined than executed.  So here’s where we inspire you every week with a simple picture and a few words.  Think of this as a chance to help you realize the simplicity of intentional. 

february-2017-028_1_1

This is a quote from The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.  Happiness is something we make inside ourselves…isn’t that a delightful thought?

Be inspired.  Allow gratitude and joy and beauty to sneak in with every intention.  And then won’t you come back and share your moment with us?  Or leave a link in the comments to your blog where you celebrate {A Glimpse into an Intentional Life}. 

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

one-chance-with-every-intention

One Chance: Appreciating Each Moment

I am having one of those nights.  You know the kind.  The kind where you waste precious moments wishing you could press rewind and re-do the last scene (or two).

It all actually started last night.  I went on a delightful shopping trip out to our new outlet shopping center, a mere 25 minutes away (19.7 miles, an estimated $1.64 worth of gas according to MapQuest). I window shopped for the first part of the excursion but then I got sucked into the sales.  Oh the glorious sales.

I tried on a lovely pair of shorts and while I was waiting in line, I thought ‘why one pair of lovely shorts?  I’ll get two,’ and so I grabbed another pair of the exact same shorts in the exact same size but in a different color.  I left the store on a euphoric high…I had shorts that fit in my bag.  Shorts that didn’t squeeze my mommy tummy out of the top; shorts that didn’t show off my pathetically sagging backside.  Life seemed so, well, lovely.

Morning arrived.  I gleefully pulled my new shorts out of the bag, ripped off their tags, tossed the tags into the trash and the new clothes into the washing machine.  (Just a random note, but I NEVER throw away tags until I have washed the clothes…until today.)  Hours later I tried on the shorts just to be sure I had not dreamed all their loveliness.  The khaki shorts were just as lovely as I remembered.

But the gray shorts?  The ones that were the exact same size, exact same shorts…yeah, there is clearly nothing exact about them.  They are tight in all the wrong places, or in our house they would lovingly be referred to as shorts with VPL: code name for Visible Panty Line (as coded by my father for the times when we needed a fashion adjustment).  Something a mama in her mid-thirties should definitely not be wearing.

march-2017-077_2_1

Yesterday’s clerk’s face swam in front of my eyes as I remembered him specifically saying, “You may return anything for 90 days as long as the tags are still on.”  The tags.  Oh those precious tags were definitely no longer attached but maybe if I could find them, I could still attempt a return.  I quickly dug through the kitchen trash can.  And then I remembered that Dax took the trash out this morning after my de-tagging moment.

So I headed out in the cold drizzle and yanked this morning’s trash bag out of the trashcan.  I pulled it over to the single bulb by the backdoor and began digging.  But there was so much trash in there.  And it was so cold outside.  And every time I adjusted the bag so I could see better, I just ended up with the run-off from the roof dripping in my eyes.  Frustrated I tossed it back in the trash can and vowed I’d search tomorrow.

I walked back into the house grumpy.  I barked at Daxson, who, with good intentions, asked why I hadn’t tried on the shorts.  I barked at William who was bouncing around.  And then I barked at Andrew.

Andrew had walked out into the kitchen as I was washing the grime off my hands (and arms) and said, “You know what Mommy?”  And I snapped, “Not now.”  But he didn’t miss a beat.  “Mommy. it’s just 90 more years til my birthday,” and then he realized his mistake and grinned that great big grin with those missing teeth and my heart softened just a bit, but not fast enough because the next words out of my mouth were, “Andrew, not now.”

Still he persisted.  “I mean 90 more MONTHS til my birthday.”  And then he crumpled into giggles as he realized again that somehow that wasn’t right either.  I paused my inner drama queen and turned to face him.  “Mommy, it’s 90 more something til my birthday.”  “90 more days?” I asked.  He wrapped his little arms around me and said, “Yes!  You got it right!  90 more days.  I know because,” and here he leaned in close and beckoned me with his little hand, whispering “I counted each day on the calendar.”  And then unfazed by my mood he turned and skipped off to the bedroom to tell his brothers that in 90 days it would be his birthday (which, just for the record, is a bit off).

march-2017-081_1_1

And I stood there, alone in the kitchen and I thought about those moments.  I thought about how I had set a terrible example, letting my anger get the best of me as I needlessly barked at everyone as if the blame were to be found somewhere outside of myself.  I thought about how I snapped at Andrew not once but twice and had he not been so persistent in his joy, I probably would have snapped a third time.  I thought about how he wasn’t even fazed by my grumpiness…he didn’t let my mood affect him and I thought how lucky that was because in my grumpiness I had the power to ruin so many moods tonight.

But there was at least one little mood I didn’t ruin.  Andrew’s.  And in his joy, I found my anger dissolve.  I found myself sucked into his excitement about 90 whatevers til his birthday and suddenly my drama over a pair of shorts didn’t seem nearly so important.

I wanted to press rewind.  I really did.  Because I didn’t want to snap at that excited little face.  I wanted to go back and look into his eyes the first time he tried to get my attention.  I wanted to cup his little face into my hands and celebrate the excitement over an upcoming birthday with all the attention it deserved.  But I can’t.

I just get one chance.  One chance to live each moment.  One chance to celebrate each moment with proper attention.  I have to be careful not to lose myself in the drama of superficiality.  I am learning to immerse myself in the beauty of each precious moment.  Because I just get one chance.