Thursday night, our tub's faucet broke - and I asked S to fix it (or to call a plumber, if it was too big of a project). It turns out that we needed a new part, and I decided it would be a good field trip for me and Diana. She loved it - great people watching and all sorts of new things to observe!
Diana - 9 months - At Home Depot
I am psyched because this bodes well for our future trips out and about!
I would assume that most women wouldn't be thrilled to find toilet paper on their bathroom sink. Normally, I wouldn't either. However, this morning, my husband used toilet paper to leave me an adorable love note, that I found when I got up at 4:30am to get ready for work. What a sweet surprise!
Toilet paper as love note
It made my entire morning...my entire day, really...and it probably took him about 60 seconds, at most to write. A simple gesture, a small investment in time, using the resources immediately available at his disposal, and bam! Instant love letter!
What a great lesson for me!
Recently, I have also had three random friends reach out to send me emails to say something nice. All came on days when I was feeling kind of blah. I don't see these two individuals very often, and they had no way of knowing that I was in need of some extra TLC. Their emails weren't wordy or long; they were just a few quick sentences to say: that they were thinking of me, that they had a good memory that crossed their minds, that they loved seeing how my life as a new mother was developing, or that they noticed that I had done something I thought no one did.
Bam! Instant mood booster!
With our busy schedules, it's easy to let ourselves forget to follow through on the thoughts of "I should tell _____ that I was thinking about them today", or "I haven't seen _____ in a while, I wonder if she's okay", or "I thought of ______ today when I heard that song that reminded me of....." I know that I am guilty of it, more than I care to admit. I'll think of someone and then, let it pass.
However, lately, I have been wondering if those sudden thoughts of random people might not be God's way of nudging me to reach out to that person. Maybe they are having a blah day or going through a rough patch, and that quick email/call/text/card/smoke signal might be just the thing they need to hear. Maybe not. The very worst thing that could happen would be that you have a positive interaction. I don't know about you, but I can always use more of those.
Here's news that will surprise no one: It's kind of exhausting to keep a baby entertained for hours at a time. S was working last night - so, it was MY job to find ways to occupy Diana. As it turns out - she thinks I am kind of funny:
How could I be in a bad mood when I hear THAT?
Today, I am grateful for:
- Baby Giggles
- Beautiful weather that lets us go for walks every day
- Physical therapy that makes me capable of going for walks
- Pay day (Woo hoo!)
- Friends coming to dinner tonight
Dear God, thank You for a happy, healthy baby - I know it's cliche, but I swear I don't take it for granted. I am also digging on this weather and having my knee on the mend - getting out and enjoying Your sunshine and handiwork. Also, thank You for giving my family the resources to make ends meet and prepare for our next step to buy a new home in the next year. Finally, I want to thank you for the support and encouragement from my friends - I remember a time where I didn't feel like I had any allies left in the whole world, and now, You've seen fit to surround me with love and kinship. Thank You for these many blessings - and all of the others I didn't list specifically. Please show me if I can be of service to You and Your kids today. Amen.
With Mother's Day coming up, I am thinking a LOT about my dear sweet mother. As I've said many times, she was the closest thing to an angel I'll ever know. Now that I am a mother, I have such a different understanding and appreciation for my mom - and it turns out that I am not the only one. In the past two days, I read two awesome posts about Mother's Day/motherhood that I want to share:
In the first, Maggie Lamon Simone talks about how she fought becoming her mother for years - and now, it's all she wants to be. I can completely relate to feeling like that. As a teen, and in my early 20's, I was often dismissive, mean, and full of contempt to a woman that never showed me anything but love, patience and faith. These days, I just hope to be half of the woman and mother she was.
Maggie was, too: "My mom is patient and loving and trusting, even toward some who
seemed undeserving, and as a result I thought her blind. She is devoted,
even to a husband who had demons enough for both of them, and I thought
her weak. She has an implicit faith and almost spiritual innocence
usually reserved for children, even when faced with unimaginable loss,
and I thought her naïve.
And she has a commitment to her family and her life that,
unbelievably, I found limiting. She is secure and beautiful and strong,
and I misread it all.
What I mistook for blindness was the most profound patience and
ability to forgive that I have ever witnessed. I thanked her by doing
every possible wrong thing, taking every possible wrong turn, learning
every possible lesson the hard way -- academically, romantically,
alcoholically -- almost daring her to turn away from me. She never did.
What I mistook for naivete was, in fact, the kind of unquestioning
faith in God, in herself and in others that I now envy. I thanked her by
not believing in anything, not even myself."
In the second, Claire Bidwell Smith talks about being a motherless mother. Now that she has children of her own, she feels reconnected to her own mother in ways she never anticipated - and that's my experience, as well. I can actually feel my mother coming through me as I start to navigate the waters of parenthood with Diana.
Claire writes: "And in this wildly unexpected way, I feel as though I have been given
my mother back. Time and time again, I hear her voice in mine, I feel
her hand in mine. She is there with me when I'm teaching Vera how to
bake cookies, or when I'm up in the middle of another sleepless night,
cradling my smallest.
It's not even that I feel like she's been given back to me, but that
my mother has been given to me anew. I understand her in a way I never
did before. I see her in a way I never did. When I tuck my girls into
bed at night, when I smooth Vera's hair away from her forehead when she
has a fever, or scoop Juliette into my arms after a tumble, my heart
spilling over for them, I often find myself breathless with the
realization of just how much my mother loved me.
They will never know her the way I did. They will never call her
grandma or experience any of her mischievous adventures. They will never
get care packages in the mail from her or cook with her in the kitchen
as I did. But they will know her in the way that I love them, in the way
that I see them and hear them and name them."
In small ways, every day, I am starting to like I know my mom more than I ever did, and it makes me sad and grateful at the same time. It's complicated to be a motherless mother. Honestly, I hate being part of this club, but it is comforting to know that I am not alone.
Yesterday, I was with a group of friends, and one said it had been a while since she put pen to paper to do a gratitude list...and then, I remembered that *I* hadn't done one in a while. It is certainly long overdue!
One of my favorite things about taking time to stop and do a gratitude list is this: the more I do it, the more things I find myself feeling grateful for. It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy; thinking about the positive things in my life, brings more of them. Even when events occur that may not seem like blessings, at first, if I am in the habit of practicing gratitude, I can usually find a silver lining in there, somewhere.
So, here goes!
Today, I am grateful for:
- Reliable day care/care givers - S and I both have busy jobs, and I can honestly say that I would be lost without the wonderful people that care for our daughter, Diana.
- Friends that are willing to work at our friendship - everyone I know is busy, running in a million different directions. I am blessed that I have friends that are willing to use their precious few minutes in the car alone to try to connect, or are willing to make the drive out to my house to hang out with me, or are willing to plan a lunch date two weeks from now because we want to make sure it definitely happens.
- Technology - it would be a mess trying to accomplish (or even remember!) every we do each day without technology like our smartphones, laptops, baby monitors, GPS's, etc.
- Funny moments that break up the day - like when autocorrect ruins a romantic text I was trying to send my husband! It's good to have a good belly laugh in the middle of a work day. (I've especially loved the funny comments people have left on Facebook status about this happening) He had just told me about an older couple he had observed helping each other maneuver through airport security.
- A happy, healthy daughter - she is having so much fun these days, crawling and exploring. I just love spending time with her, and she cracks herself up. It is literally music to my ears to hear her giggle. I melt EVERY time.
And now, my prayer for the day:
Dear God, thank you for the reminder to take a minute to pause and practice gratitude. I know well the benefits of this exercise, and can't wait to start feeling them! Thank you for all of the many blessings You have given me, both those listed above and those known only in my heart. I know that I am a truly blessed woman. Help me today to look for ways to SHOW my gratitude, and if there's some way I can be of service to You and Your kids. Amen