Some days, weighed down with the cares of the world, particularly the ones within my own four walls, I find it difficult to evoke a sense of gratitude; I end up, instead, falling into the Grand Canyon-sized pothole of discontent, mostly because I have trouble relinquishing control, or the idea of “let go and let God.” I am fully aware that the only one that can provide the ladder to get out of the chasm is ME, and that the best way to do so is to reflect on my blessings.
In January, I began a Gratitude Journal, and it quickly became my go-to reflection landing pad. I was faithfully logging the minutiae and mundanity as golden nuggets of thankfulness; however, I have temporarily jettisoned this in favor of more fervent guidance in a daily devotional I saw mentioned by one of my favorite renovators on HGTV, Erin Napier, who embodies my “light in the darkness” style of gratitude.
Ok, back to the focal point of my blog: Moments and Milestones. I’ve been experiencing MORE with my family in this time than I am usually granted in this season of school, spring productions, and home life, so I’m sharing them with you to emphasize how, when you least expect it, you find reasons to love the season you’re in, even if its turbulence outweighs the calm.
“In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights…how do you measure a [day] in the life? Share love, give love, spread love. Measure your life in love…”-“Seasons of Love” from RENT-
Moments to cherish: the ability to snuggle my tiny son and listen to his restful breathing, while cradled in the crook of my arm; then, helping him stretch his tiny arms towards the sky, as he wakes, reaching for all that is new in his tiny world. Telling him stories and watching his cherub cheeks curve into a smile that is increasingly painted across his face. Covering him in kisses and well wishes for the day. When you just focus on feeding, changing, and departing in opposite directions, there is little time to soak up the joy. I’ve been granted this through our period of distancing—it’s actually drawing me closer to my loved ones. Blessing one.
Moment of peace: the ability to begin the day with the sun, have a warm cup of tea, and read in bed before my daughter’s pitter patter soundtrack begins to play, as she comes down the stairs and immediately petitions to go outside on one of our newfangled morning walks. I have always been a reader, absorbed in more than one story, but as responsibility and very early alarms herald the day, I’m not usually granted this freedom. I find that my mind is stilled, and I meet the day’s challenges better. This one will be hard to give up if, and when, we return to “normalcy,” and, to be honest, that’s part of a normal I seek to create. Blessing two.
Milestones: It’s been six years since Tim and I have rollercoastered together through an infant’s development, and I feel a bit like the Tin Man in the “Wizard of Oz” before Dorothy has properly oiled his hinges—I know how my “Mom of young baby” joints should move, but I’m at a different pace now at 38yrs old. Our son is in his travels through rolling front-to-back, and the reverse. He’s also hesitantly giggling, and squeal-squawking to develop his “own voice.”
The biggest milestone we are reveling (and reviling, because it induces screams and extra doses of sleep deprivation) in is his first tooth. Although I think its companion, tooth numero dos is not far behind, I have to agree with those Moms who say they’ll miss the gummy little smiles—all lips and no chompers. I remember clearly Darcy’s first two teeth, who came out together like twins; it changed the whole landscape of her face, signaling the move away from infant and towards the wobbly toddler she’d quickly become. Luke is our last, and this means that we are journeying towards another phase, a bit faster than I’d anticipated; however, I think that is a blessing, too, to witness another life’s first milestones. My sweet baby cherub is growing up.
Milestone Duex: as if we aren’t already going through two scoops of parenting, the big kid in our household decided it was finally time to fly—on her bike. Without training wheels. Y’all, my girl is fearless. I’m kinda secretly proud of her gutsiness, and it’s a trait I pray remains long after the self-discovery of her teen years fades. She is incredibly brave. It all began with a bike ride snafu where one training wheel snapped off the bike frame, leaving her teeter-tottering, a state of being that caused trepidation to get back in the saddle. We’ve been going on these walks each day, and she says to me, “Mama, why is that little girl (or boy) riding without them? HOW can they, and I can’t?” Cue “big girl” inaugural ride.
We take her to the field at her now-abandoned, post-apocalypse empty school yard, seeking the padding of the grass to cushion her inevitable fall. The baby is scowling in his stroller, cocooned by mosquito netting and bumping around as I jog nearby the fledgling rider and my patient spouse. Like the wonderful dad he is, Tim supports her with his hand at her shoulder blade, keeping pace with her wobbly self.
Without warning, he lifts said hand and she continues, unaware that her lifeline just rip corded himself without her knowledge. Y’all…
I screamed. The baby startled. She whooped and hollered in victory. I got it on film. My daughter flew!! We continued several more times, cutting larger swathes of the field with big circles. Best. Day. Ever. This was one of those parenting victories that did not involve us, so much as her own confidence to try. Huge milestone, and one that’s imprinted on my heart.
So, kindreds, don’t overlook those peaks in the valleys of our days we are living, as this tragedy continues to unfold.
Those peaks (or hills) are the medicine, the sunshine, and the celebration of life.
(originally 4.2.2020, edited early 4.3.2020)