Yesterday a friend from my Yakima days shared something on Facebook that I immediately felt was speaking directly to me. It said:
Love one another and you will be happy.
It is as simple and difficult as that.
I don’t write about it here very often because it seems like if you want to find tragic, angry, bitter posts there are plenty of outlets, but the truth is I often get worried that if I don’t do things in a certain way than I am failing. Twisting my perspective to consider that by simply loving I am doing it right is revelatory.
Lately things have been challenging. Our child care situation is dicey and by dicey, I mean we have none. I have been managing to get Briar to school and entertain the other girls until nap time, after which I work furiously. I churn out copy, send emails, and manage multiple projects. When the girls wake we compromise, we make lunch together and then I start them on an art project so that I can work alongside them, pecking away at the computer and rotating to ooh and ah and help with the cutting, gluing, sparkling, molding…
It’s a goopy mess.
Then when the sun starts to slip behind the towering trees that skirt our property Sean comes home. I imagine it will get easier, but he brings home the weight of deadlines, challenges and exhaustion. We all collide and clang in need and restlessness. Dinners can be a trial, so we bolt. The prospect of getting everyone out seems like a chance at contentment.
You know where this is going, right? Oh, but the uphill battle of an outing with 3 kids, a tired dad and a weary mom. The kids jockey for our attention, I try to pull details of the day out of Sean, his voice is muffled by the girls, I ask him to keep going, the noise from the backseat builds, he barks, I bristle. Spirits slump.
We soldier on, seeking an engagement that will allow everyone a taste of what they need. Sean and I speak in sideways whispers:
Me: “They are trying.”
Sean: “Not hard enough.”
Sean: “That’s not ok, why are they screeching like that?”
Me: “Honey, they want us to watch.”
I don’t mean to paint myself as a saint, I’m not. Nor is Sean always the exasperated parent. It’s just that he and I assume our positions in the rut just like the girls. Finley bosses, Briar insults and Avery pouts. Sean judges and I defend. Sometimes he ends up defending as I judge him, it’s relentless and self-defeating, but to that spot we often return. Eventually we find our way back to calm, the girls tiring and murmuring a soft thank you, Sean and I collapse, cuddle and forgive.
What I’ve been realizing lately is that while we are in this incredibly, challenging moment-in-time, this effort is not what I’ll remember when the dust settles. I won’t remember having to monitor the scowl on the face of the woman in the produce section, obviously annoyed that my children are speaking. I’ll forget the peril we feel as the girls clamber on rock walls or balance on logs. It isn’t the sharpness of our voices at the restaurant table that will stay.
A merciful gift in this journey is that memories rise. The honeyed images of the life we’ve lived loose themselves of the chains of effort. It’s the tinkling of their laughter, the bouncing delight of their faces pushing away with exuberant squeals from Sean’s whiskery kisses. Muscle memory will recall scooping each girl into a spin, reaching for Sean’s hand and the fluid bows to kiss sleeping heads and then kneel by their beds, inhaling their scent and thanking our lucky stars for the blessing we’ve been given to share these sticky, tiring days. The things my mind misses as I live it, my heart will remember until the end of my days.
You’ve managed to highlight so many things in this post (so many of them familiar), in such exhausted appreciation and descriptive language, that I’m at a loss in how to eloquently write this comment. Here goes: This post feels like a different level of Amanda-ness… less bright-eyed wonder, and more profound worship and appreciation that sometimes loving a moment can actually be really hard work.
I wonder if there is a bright eyed 20 something college kid around somewhere, home for summer break, that would like nothing better then to take your darling girls to the park or pool or play with them so you can get a couple hours of uninterrupted work done? That might free up your evenings and lower your stress level so you can enjoy this time to its fullest? Just a thought…
I think, as always, that you are fabulous and those three daughters are darling 🙂 Enjoy your summer!
“assume our positions in the rut” Wow. Our lives in a nutshell. It is up to us to see, and do, things differently. With intention. Mindful of every moment and our place in it …
Sacred post, my friend …
Briar, pointing at the checkout, “There she is Dad! That’s the lady who hates kids, right Mom?”
You’re right: the embarrassment of that moment will fade leaving nothing but a funny story that’s a Magee girl classic.
i say this over and over again – but reading this felt like a description of my family – thanks again, for sharing, and for doing so beautifully…
This, yes this: “It’s a goopy mess.” You know I get it. I do. And you know that because of that I favor your phone call all the more. To hear your voice, to get to talk to you, it means so much. Because in between the life, we have each other. Regardless of how life works professionally, we will always have life and each other. Ok? Ok.
I love you. It is that simple.
What a beautiful description of memories – I adore it.
this sums it up. Thank you for sharing so honestly….it reminds us that we are not alone. Here’s to the memory making.
Raising kids is by far the most challenging thing I have ever tried my best to do. Those years when our kids were young pulled on every ounce of my (ou) efforts, daily, all-ways. Now our kids are 18, 16 & 16 (twins – boy and girl) I get to sit and enjoy all the efforts made along the journey. I love them more today than I ever could possibly have imagined. It is an ‘an incredibly challenging moment in time’ but man, I can’t think of anything more worth it! We have spent our time together making just those memories….those exasperating and those quiet, tender ones.
Looks to me you recognise it all, already. Beautiful post!
I’m always awed by how you can make the trivial into beauty. I’m now impressed that you can share the difficulties (that we ALL have) with such eloquence. This makes me love you even more. We all feel like we are all doing this alone… but posts like this are a reminder that we’re really all doing it together.
How simple and difficult the day to day is.
Memories rise .. true, thankfully.