This week has been a doozy. It felt as though I was getting hit left, right, and center between crises arising with other people. In fact, by Tuesday evening, I was emotionally worn down and out.
While my batteries were temporarily recharged after a nice evening of Confession and a little kid-free “Jesus time” (a.k.a. Adoration), Thursday morning brought a slew of more emotional exhaustion.
Which, in turn, impacts my physical energy. And, is also a reason I try to limit exposure to stress in my life – stress exacerbates my chronic illness conditions.
However, as difficult as I found this week to emotionally muddle through, there was still one bright spot. A crazily-hectic day resulted in moments this mom’s heart will hopefully cherish forever!
Writing about this particular set of events brings a smile to my weary face today, and is exactly the purpose of The Gratitude Project – to find a little bit of beauty in our otherwise heavy world.
My son just celebrated his 100th day of school. That day saw me entering his school four times, between drop-off, pick-up, and everything in-between.
After our initial drop-off, I had only an hour to wait before having to be back for the 100th day festivities. With a forty minute round-trip commute between school and home, I wasn’t willing to drive all the way home. Therefore, I treated my daughter to “coveef” (a.k.a. coffee) at our local Starbucks.
For once, we didn’t go through the drive-thru. Instead, we took our time entering the restaurant, ordering our food and drinks, and sitting down to enjoy our goods. As I sat there, I realized this coffee date is something she and I haven’t ever really done. At least, not since she turned an age where she was interactive and engaged in her surroundings.
It is a stark contrast to the coffee dates my son and I had weekly in Hawaii – the two of us would drive up to North Shore, stop in at Coffee Gallery, I would order a “Mocha Freeze” from their barista for myself, and my 12-18 month old would get a fat, homemade, fresh Snickerdoodle cookie. With our goodies in hand, we would meander outside to their seating are to enjoy the weather – or, sometimes head to the beach itself. There, the stress seemed to melt away.
And, like the days of “old,” in which my son and I had a carefree existence, I experienced a similar sense of calm in my hectic routine for the day, as I sat in the coffee shop with my daughter.
Fast forward about an hour, and I entered my son’s school for their celebration. Hot at my heels was Lil’ Miss, ready to engage in a period of play with her brother and his classmates. The girl is seriously two going on five; nobody can tell her to slow down, because she insists she is much bigger than her chronological age.
The moment we entered the classroom, she immediately went to sit next to her brother during his classroom’s circle time. The time I spent in the classroom, I was engaged in helping assist with activities geared toward celebrating their 100 days of school. Which left my daughter at the whim of herself; I find it entertaining to watch the whims of a two year old, but I digress.
However, her whims kept pointing her back to her big brother – following his lead and direction from where to sit on the carpet, to where to sit at the tables, to going from one station to the next during the activities. At one point, she wanted a different station, and I watched her brother go over, gently grab her hand, and stride back to the station at which he was supposed to be working.
She relented to his guidance, and while he used his lengthy strides, to an outsider it would appear he was close to dragging her along.
But, observing the fact the two year old was willingly being led by the hand, this mama’s heart was smiling.
Watching the two of them play together, watching my son include his little sister in activities with his friends, made me realize – it doesn’t matter how exhausted I feel at the end of the day, or how difficult my days in the “trenches” feel. My husband and I must be doing something right.
For as many days and seemingly ceaseless hours they argue, my two kids are thick as thieves. My son wants to be a good big brother, and his sister wants to be included and loved by her big brother.
And, deep down – even if they fail to show it at times – they really love each other.
As the week progressed, I repeatedly found my way back to my happy place – the memory of earlier in the week. The time spent with my daughter, and more, the time I casually observed my children’s interactions in my oldest’s classroom.
I recalled the part of the Gospel of Luke, in which the shepherds met the Holy Family at the manger, sharing the experience which led them to the Holy Family.
Luke 2:19 reads,
But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
I felt as though I caught a simple, modern-day glimpse of what Mary must have felt so many centuries ago.
As this week winds down, and we enter this weekend, I am praying the heaviness of the week subsides. I am praying that I continue to be brightened by the little moments in my days. And, I am praying that every person reading these words today has a sense of the peace I felt in my heart earlier this week.
Beauty is around us. Like epiphanies, we must be open to looking for the beauty, and open to acknowledging the beauty. We then, must be open to giving thanks for that beauty.
This week I am grateful for the opportunity to treasure and ponder these little moments of motherhood in my heart.
What are you most grateful for this week?
Until next week, dear reader…