I imagine many of you can attest (maybe before, definitely after quarantine) that it is difficult to remember “these are the days” when the days are as long as they are hard.
As I write, my 18 month old is drinking cereal milk from the bowl while my newborn cries for my attention. Daddy left for work half an hour ago, I’m sure the dog hasn’t eaten in a day or so, and I’m still wearing what I wore on Tuesday. But I promise we are living the dream.
Some days I remember that, and bask in a grateful glow. Most days though, like today, I forget to look past the spit-up stained sweatshirt I threw on when the baby cried at 5 am. Inevitably, it’s 8 pm before I’m sitting down to eat, with dishes piled up, reminiscent of my errant thoughts abandoned throughout the day that rang more whiny and unfair than blissful. Show me a picture of my daughter after bedtime and I’ll cry because I love her so much, but in the midst of the crazy, my tears are often more wrought from frustration and overwhelm, not a wellspring of love and gratefulness.
So how is it that both worlds can coexist? How can I be so taken by the sheer whimsy of these tiny humans that I raise, and so shaken by the emotional and physical toll “momming” them can have on me daily? I know I am not alone in this.
Here’s the humbling news: I am the problem.
Motherhood was meant for more than just surviving. There is utter wonder in the monotony of childhood, a wonder that should make us thrive! Do you remember saying “Do it again!” as young children when our dad’s made our nose disappear with his fingers or our mom took us on a horse ride through the living room? Can you witness in your kids the endless entertainment brought on by the same thing over and over again? The “doldrums” we experience as adults are made up of what at one time brought us repetitive joy, an over again abundance of delight found in the simple. We, as a collective body, were made to delight in monotony.
Just as a field of lilies all look the same but bring such soft wonder, or the way the sun sets every single day without fail and in that repetition brings us awe filled moments; the normally mundane in its most natural form was made to cause wonder. It is not the repetition that stopped bringing awe, it was our receipt of the moments. Somehow, in the midst of my joy, little bits of frustration, exhaustion, bitterness, or comparison sneak in – and before I know it, they’ve stolen my wonder.
So tomorrow, when I wake up and put on the same sweatshirt (hopefully a clean version), and put together the same breakfast and same busy toddler games to fill our day, I am going to do my best to delight in the same old routine. Because in that routine there is beauty and wonder and opportunity, but only if I am looking for it. We are, after all, really living a dream. A mundane, normal, unsure, incredible, meaningful, full of beauty dream.