I tend to get really antsy about things.
When it’s summer, I’m so hot and irritable that I can’t wait until the cool air breezes in. When it’s the dead of winter, I dream about the warm sun on my face.
When I sit in my house, sometimes the walls close in on me. Other times I long for the tiny apartment I grew up in. I mean how hard was it to keep a two bedroom apartment clean?
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for about a year and a half. I still don’t have a routine. I still float through most days. I still wonder how other moms manage to keep up with a cleaning schedule and active children underfoot, let alone do really fun things with their kids. I worry my way through most days about our finances, but not enough to pull my kids out of preschool or stop eating out or cancel play dates.
Last April, I was so overwhelmed by my new role in life that I actually called the school district to see if I could come back from my extended childcare leave a year early.
I know, right!?! I was a wee bit crazy, but at that point in time, going back to a somewhat unsafe, somewhat unstable school seemed easier than dealing with a consistently dirty house, an inquisitive and energetic three year old, a cranky, shrieky 1 year old, and all the other duties that come with a life at home.
As irony or luck or the will of God would have it, I’d missed the transfer deadline by a day.
Though I’m more at peace with this season of life than I was in April, I still get antsy every now and then.
Am I supposed to be at home right now? Is this what it’s supposed to feel like? Am I doing it wrong?
Should I go back to work? Should I go back to teaching? If so, when should that be? If I don’t go back to work, how will we afford tuition for the kids?
By the time the day’s over, I’m so overwhelmed about what should or shouldn’t be that I’ve missed the beauty of the very day in front of me.
I tuck my little ones in bed and they wake up a day older.
A few things have happened over the last couple of weeks that have reminded me to embrace this moment just as it is, to be content right where I am.
I sat in the playroom the other day and it suddenly dawned on me that my sweet Caroline is a big girl. She’s really not a baby anymore. She carries on conversations. She throws fewer tantrums. She plays so nicely. She sits on the potty. She runs. She’s nearly 2.
This revelation brought unexpected tears to my eyes. I wept and grieved for my baby. Where did the time go? I feel like I missed so much even though I was right here the whole time.
And then, a young college student was killed in a freak car accident. I didn’t know this girl, but my family knows the girl’s mother. The incident reminded me of the preciousness of life. It reminded me that tomorrow is not a guarantee. That this time at home with my kids is fleeting. Does it really matter if there are cobwebs on the ceiling in the dining room? Does it matter if the kitchen floor didn’t get mopped last night? Really? In the grand scheme of life, is a
spotless (Oh, who am I kidding? My house will never be spotless. Let’s go with clean) clean home the most important thing?
And as I (once again) pondered whether or not I should go back to work, I heard on the news that a former student of mine was arrested for bringing a gun to the school where I used to work.
It’s like God knew just how to put me back in my place. He keeps reminding me over and over again that my place right now is at home with my kids. I better figure out how to accept it, embrace it, even.
It’s so easy to look ahead, make plans, jump ahead to that next season, wonder about that green grass that just looks so scrumptious on the other side.
But all we have is right here in front of us, right now. And to quote that ridiculous Justin Bieber song, “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it.”
Amen, Justin Bieber (and Big Sean), amen.
Life might not be exactly what we wanted it to be in this moment. We might be waiting on this or that for our life to begin. We might be worried about worldly things. We might be struggling with our job or the lack of one. We might frustrated by our lot in life. We might be coming to terms God’s will for us right now.
It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to resist the life we’ve been given. But in the end, we have to find an element of peace. We have to make the most of what we have right now. We have to water the very grass in front of us.
The seasons change in due time, but today is all we’ve got.
Life happens when we’re content right where we are.