Thursday, February 28, 2013

Joy for the Little Things

(Megan, Luke and Tiffany-Feb 2013)
One of my strengths as a mother is my ability to notice and enjoy the Little Things. I notice them and more often than not, I bask in them for the moment. Too often I quickly forget them, and it seems lately, by the end of the day I remember all the irritating things about the day and not the Little Things that gave me joy.

Lately, I feel like I'm allowing myself to become too irritated by my children. When Drew wakes up first, earlier than the others, I feel irritated that he either interrupts my quiet time, or wakes me up. I get irritated when Ellie and Luke want a home lunch every day. Even though they fix the majority of it, I'm irritated sandwiches are being made in the mix of scrambling eggs or pouring milk. I get irritated by toys that are scattered in my bedroom and in other places toys shouldn't be. I get irritated by unmade beds, half-done chores and hungry stomachs. I'm irritated when there are 43 things to be done, and someone is slowing me down.

I don't want to spend my days irritated more than feeling joyful. I don't want my children to remember me only ever irritated by them and not filled with joy because of them too.

A couple of days ago I was at the school for a meeting. It was in the room next to Ellie's classroom, and so I poked my head into her room and waved at her. She looked up and without even cracking a smile, went back to her art project. I got her attention again and gave her an extra big cheesy grin and then with a serious, yet friendly term mouthed, "Smile at me." It wasn't exactly one of those joyful motherhood moments. (After school, she insisted she did smile and wave. I beg to differ.)

An hour or so after that exchange with Ellie, I found myself quickly rushing through the parking lot to get home to the two little boys who were due at school in a couple of minutes. As I climbed into the car, I heard an out of breath voice say, "Mom, I just scored the best touchdown EVER." I turned, and there was Luke having chased me across the parking lot to tell me his exciting news. I looked at him and praised him for his touchdown and then...

Instead of basking in the moment, or telling him how touched I was that he chased his mother across a  parking lot in front of all his peers, or stopping and taking a photo of his ear-to-ear touchdown pride grin, or giving him more attention than the 30 seconds of praise I did give, I said, "I've gotta go. Joshua needs to be at kindergarten in 10 minutes."

As I drove home, my heart dropped. Would spending a few more minutes with Luke, basking in his excitement to see me and share his good news, not have been a perfectly fine excuse for Joshua and Drew to be a few minutes late for kindergarten and pre-school?

My goal for March is to change that. I want to bask in the joyful moments more. I want to be irritated and rushed less, and joyful more.

At the end of each day in March, I'm going to try my hardest to only remember the Little Things. I'm going to forget the irritating and focus on what I want to remember in 5, 10 and 30 years from now; things like Luke running across a parking lot to see me. In order not to forget, I'm going to make a list. And I"m going to share them with you! (Every other day I'll post my daily lists.)

Not because these Little Things will be anything fancy or great, but I'm holding myself accountable that I'll be able to list them. I know myself well enough to know there may be a day or two that I'll really have to stretch to find something I want to remember, but that will all be part of the challenge.

It's my personal challenge to be a less irritable and more joyful person.
Here goes.


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