I started this post on Friday. But a combination of exhaustion (I took a nap at 9 am), watching a couple of extra kids, a primary program practice, hosting a dinner, and a general lack of ability to put my thoughts into words kept me from publishing it. I try to keep things real around here… Since Friday my perspective has shifted slightly. Last night I got to cuddle up with my chica and listen to the words of some of the leaders of our church at the General Women’s Meeting. It gave my soul time to pause and breathe.
- Having a baby is hard. I am reluctant to say that. I don’t want to seem ungrateful. So many long for a baby and are denied the experience, and I am so grateful that that is not my trial. I look at him and my heart fills up with love. All I want to do is kiss him and memorize every facial expression. But… at this point my body has been essentially his for the last 18 months and a slight case of claustrophobia starts to set in. It’s exhausting to make my body physically available for someone else five times a day. And yet – I know I will miss it. After feeding him, he’ll cuddle with me for approximately five seconds and my heart almost bursts, knowing that this is my last. It amazes me that I can feel two such opposite emotions simultaneously for such an extended period of time. No wonder I’m tired.
- I want to be a writer. Write actual books that other people – ones I don’t know- read. Ideas spin around in my head for novels and essays and I need to write them down. It’s something I’ve been working toward for 2.5 years through classes, critique groups, and….writing. At first I was embarrassed to tell anyone my dream. I didn’t have any professional training. But as I’ve learned, and found so much joy in the process, my confidence has grown. The problem is, the time available to write, is when I used to sleep – early in the morning and nap time (so far AJ is a short napper, so a twenty minute nap and then productivity is often not an option). So, I’ve been tired, which has led to resentment and general irrationality. Three times this week tears have leaked out as my writing time was cut short. My goals were coming in second to what everyone else needed from me. I have been praying and pondering about what to do and I had come to the conclusion that I needed to sleep less, get up early more, reach higher. In my view, I needed to make my spirit stronger. I can choose my attitude, so it is totally possible to be tired and still choose to have patience and be present as a mother and a wife. This true, and is sometimes important and necessary. But, last night, while listening to one of the speakers, Heavenly Father whispered to me that it wasn’t my truth, not right now. He told me that I needed to make sleep a priority. I have always found so much joy in motherhood and in homemaking (although not grocery shopping, that is officially the worst). Somewhere along the way my perspective shifted just slightly. I had started to view my duties as a wife and mother as an obstacle to my goal instead of the source of joy that they had been for so long. My goals were worthy, and even inspired. I have felt enlightened as I work to develop as a writer, and along with the whispering to sleep, came inspiration. Ideas of where to fit writing more productively into my day came to me. I felt peace, love, and purpose and I am so grateful.
- The earthquakes, hurricanes, and refugee crises have made me think about service more. I don’t want my children to feel completely helpless when they hear about catastrophes. Instead, I want them to make a plan to help, to do something, anything, even if it is small. In addition to the obvious physical trauma that is affecting so much of the human race, I have been reminded of all the invisible trials that press down on those that I pass by everyday. Sometimes you can’t share a trial with others, it has to be battled out or borne within yourself, but that doesn’t mean others can’t be inspired to help/to lift in some small way. I want to make both kinds of service a deeper part of our family culture. I want it to be something that we instinctively do, something that we think about everyday. We are capable of more. I’ve been compiling some ideas and thoughts on how to teach my kids to be more service minded – which I’m sure will evolve into a blog post soon. I want to teach simple ways to be outward focused, more like our Savior.
- When I think about the people that I love, it’s their quirks that stand out most in my mind. The way AJ will lay his head on my shoulder and burrow into me when I rock him before bed, but only for a second. The rocking chair is right next to his closet door, and the door knob is so shiny he has to try and touch it. The way Josh talks to himself when he’s concentrating, a running stream of consciousness. He gives his letters away in Scrabble every time. How Anna ducks her head and grins when you give her a compliment, and how Max is so particular. His quirks tend to shift and change, but currently, he doesn’t like to use utensils that have already been used. So if I use one fork to cut up his food, he likes to have a fresh one to eat with. Quirks say so much about who a person is.
- I lost my wedding ring at the beginning of the summer. I was painting our bedroom and thought, Justin will be mad at me if I get paint on my ring, I’ll put it somewhere safe. That night I couldn’t find it. I was convinced it had been wrapped up in the plastic that had covered the floor and was gone. The ring that Justin had given me fourteen years ago when we really had no idea what marriage meant, the one that I couldn’t wait to put on and never took off, the one that he’d made payments on for six months, had disappeared. I didn’t cry, instead, a spot in my soul ached. Over the months it was missing I’d touch my ring finger on my left hand and my heart would lurch when I realized it wasn’t there. Then I’d remembered it was gone. Last week, I came downstairs after tucking the older kids into bed to see flowers on the counter, my ring dropped over one of the stems, and a card – Justin had commissioned from Anna – propped nearby. Now tears came to my eyes. Justin had found my ring! (on the highest shelf in Max’s bathroom in case you’re curious). Instead of giving it back right away and giving me a bad time about being disorganized and forgetful he chose to remind me that he loves me. I learn a lot from that man. Marriage is hard, but it also one of the best places to learn charity and forgiveness. These family relationships, the ones that we are committed to day in and day out, soften and strengthen us in so many imperceptible ways.