Perfect Moments

Two Shoes TuesdayI made stricter house rules this summer for the kids in hopes of keeping them from spending the next three months absently laying in front of the television, a computer screen or their phone. It was a well-thought plan, a list really, of alternatives to glowing screens. Things like being creative, reading a book, spending time with friends outside and helping out with a small household chore are but a few. So far, it has been effective for both girls, and it has allowed me time to focus on the things that get neglected during the school year. I can’t possibly be full-time teacher, chauffeur, meal-planner, event coordinator  and housekeeper from September to May. Summer is my time to re-group. Summer is my time to try new recipes or re-organize the closets. It is a great time to purge our basement and filing cabinets. These next few months help me prepare for the next school year, the next swim and gymnastics season.

However, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily tasks of life. There will always be something that needs or should get done.  Cleaning and organizing may be as much a mindless addiction for me as television and gaming is for my children. And I know, deep down, that having a perfectly cleaned and organized home is not a true reflection of our family. A clean house does not build relationships or create new memories or adventures.

hammock profileSo, between the sports camps and the vacations, between the running around to friends houses, and the chores, the most perfect moments are usually the ones completely unplanned. I am trying harder to look for those perfect moments hiding in forgotten corners of our day. Things like cuddling on the hammock with one of the kids while we both read a book or take  an afternoon nap together. When they are home, I’m trying to be diligent about putting down a broom and picking up a badminton racquet. I want them to remember music festivals and people watching rather than a long list of movies they’ve already seen. I want to fill our scrapbooks with goofy faces and unexpected giggles from days spent swimming in the lake.

nap outside in hammockAlthough I am aware that life is not perfect, I do believe that we can string together enough perfect moments to make life all the more wonderful.

“Life is not perfect. It never will be. You just have to make the very best of it, and you have to open your heart to what the world can show you; and sometimes it’s terrifying, and sometimes it’s incredibly beautiful, and I’ll take both. Thanks.”― Graham Nash

 

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Five Minute Friday: Belong

5-minute-friday-1I picture you here, snuggled under layers of covers, watching movies with your sisters. I picture Sunday morning pancakes, Friday night pizza parties, and ice-cream runs in the middle of the week. I picture Lego building marathons, afternoons baking cookies, trips to libraries, the museums, and the soccer fields.

I picture you.

You were not a mistake.

You were wanted.

You were thought about for years.

We planned for you in our hearts, made space in our home. Our family is your family and would not be complete without you. You belong here, with us. I don’t know your name or the color of your skin. I don’t have a clue if your hair is long or short. I’m going to make mistakes and forget important things like what is your favorite food, your favorite color and your favorite bedtime story. I’ll have to learn what makes you scared and take note when you smile. But I  will learn.  I will cherish every moment, even if you are angry with me for wanting you. I will cry in private, in the shower, away from you on the days that are harder than others because I will want to greet you with constant open arms, constant love and acceptance. Life will not be the same without you and we will wonder how we ever managed before you. I will want to kiss you goodnight and ask how you slept. I will wait for the day when you let me hold your hand.

But I will not force you.

I will not rush you.

I will just keep reminding you every day that you belong.

That you are important.

That you matter.

That you are loved.

There will be no division between the children born of my womb and you, the child born of my heart.

* Today I’m linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday. Each week bloggers are asked to write on a topic for five minutes. No planning. No editing. Just five minutes straight from the heart. This week’s word is Belong.

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Writer’s Workshop: My house shall be a mast

Mama Kat ButtonI love when the jeweler cleans my wedding ring. Its renewed radiance resonates for days. It looks bigger and more brilliant than before and I am reminded of how it glistened in the summer sun after DW placed it on my finger over thirteen years ago. It’s easy to forget the beauty when it is dulled by the grime and dust accumulated day after day.

Recently, I have been painfully reminded how fragile relationships are, especially marriages. My daughters need to understand there are no perfect relationships. There are no knights in shining armor, no “one true loves” or perfect matches. These “fairy-tale” romances do not exist, at least not organically. After all, the word romance itself is based on feelings of exaggeration. It is associated with chivalric love and adventure. What can exist, I think, are two people who commit to loving each other and promise to spend the rest of their days actively courting and pursuing one another. One of the things I most value about my marriage is that we both choose each other. We both take care to affair-proof our relationship.

I’m not a follower of talk-shows, but I found this article by Dr. Phil to be pretty spot on. There is a lot of great advice, but here were my favorite points:

  • Don’t play games in your head. It is a short step from thought to action.
  • Don’t confuse reality with fantasy. We often forget that there’s a difference between falling in love and being in love. You can’t expect a love that grows to be like it was on the first date.
  • If you want to have a good partner, be a good partner. Put 100 percent into your marriage.
  • Work on your marriage every single day, not just during the bad times. Wake up each day and ask yourself, “What can I do today that will make my marriage better?”

There’s also a quote by Kahlil Gibran, from the book The Prophet, that found me this morning:

“Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast. It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.”  – Kahlil Gibran

I can’t help but want to substitute the word marriage for house, because, after all, my relationship with DW is my comfort and my shelter. It is what I call home.

Often people say things like, “They are my rock and my anchor” when describing their closest friends or partner. However, anchors are heavy and cumbersome, aren’t they? They are large weights tied by chains that keep us from moving. The whole purpose of an anchor is so that you can’t drift, but that also means that when you have dropped anchor, you can’t go anywhere. You are confined to the same spot, your view does not change. Opportunities for growth would be limited. I don’t want to be DW’s anchor. I would never want to be what keeps him from reaching his full potential.

The idea of our relationship, our marriage, being more like a mast is much more fulfilling. In fact, it feels almost enlightening. Together we can be tall and strong; together we can hold each other upright, letting the air fill our sails and carry us anywhere we want to go. A mast towers into the sky, a backbone like structure, rising above the deck of a ship to support the yards, booms and rigging.

I want my house to be a mast, not an anchor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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