Joy, week 5
In her book, The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp shares a picture of herself as a young girl and describes the many things this picture hints at and discloses about herself and her life. She shares an interesting thought, “This photo reminds me of how every young person grows up with an overwhelming sense of possibility, and how life, in some ways, is just a series of incidents in which that possibility is either enlarged or smacked out of you. How you adapt is your choice. ”
For some reason these two sentences have been parading through my mind all week, in various circumstances and moods. It was an unusual week but a very busy week. Every day there was an out of the ordinary but very important matter to take care of simply because I am a mother. One or two were taken care of smoothly but most of them are alive and well… and painful, but with great potential for growth. There is indeed an overwhelming sense of possibility but I still feel like I spent most of the week getting smacked around.
The result? A humbler mother, to be sure. A few additions to the daily and weekly lists of things to work on. A sense of “joy” that was somewhat muted by both the experiences themselves and by a schedule that left little room for noticing and appreciating little things. A heart that needs to hold still sometime soon in order to put things away where they belong. A little anxiety that I’m already headed into the busy season that invariably hits in the spring and doesn’t let up even slightly until June. A lot of stubborn determination to work harder and somehow have all this enlarge us as individuals and as a family.
Still, it was a good week. After my evaluation last week I knew I really needed to make the weekly tasks work, and I’m happy to report that I did accomplish four essential but non-urgent weekly items, all relating to the growth and development of my children, that fell through the cracks last month. I ran a tighter ship this week, in spite of it all, and that is a good thing. The fact that I feel so good about it in spite of my discouragement tells me that I invested in things that really matter. I also have my weekly plan for the coming week taken care of with these and other recurring priorities already penciled in.
I am sorry to say that the daily routine I’ve established in the mornings was greatly disrupted this week, which is definitely a contributing factor to my edgy emotions. However, I never skipped my routine, just had to shorten it considerably. In some ways it was probably helpful for me to have a week like this and realize that compromise in this area is unwise; I draw too much strength from it to make it negotiable. I’m looking at another roller coaster week and hope I can maintain a better balance this time.
I have another list of items to take care of in February and am happy that I’ve accomplished a couple of them already. That’s a nice feeling.
I must also say that the MVP award for the week goes to my youngest two daughters, who trudged EVERY DAY to some random appointment, commitment, meeting at the school, etc. and never once acted up. They were absolute angels, sitting quietly, coloring in their Strawberry Shortcake coloring books while Mom dealt with “big kid” matters. They found joy in simple things and generally kept me afloat by being so submissive and calm. It wasn’t until the week was over that I looked back and really saw the golden thread of their perfect behavior as evidence of a God who cares that I’m trying to tackle hard things and was smoothing the way just a bit so I’d have the energy for it. A very simple tender mercy, one I’m thankful for.
Lest the serious-minded “me” keep things too heavy, I must also acknowledge that there were some light, happy moments this week that I enjoyed. I watched two of my daughters score goals in their futsal games. I had some healthy conversations with my teenagers. I got up super early Saturday morning so I could squeeze in some sewing time. I went out to lunch with two of the women I most admire in this world and enjoyed every minute of it. We spent time with a couple we really enjoy and laughed a lot (something I didn’t do enough of this week). My husband started a new job recently and has been gone much more than our family is used to, which brings adjustments and needs all on its own. One of them is that I miss him. A lot. Twice we left our daughter in charge and took off on our own for 45 minutes to connect, talk, and unwind a little. It was very healthy, kind of a lifeline for me, and I’m grateful we recognized that need and quickly responded with small pieces of time that we could afford instead of putting it off until later. There were even a few happy homework moments with a couple of the children.
So I ask myself, after a tough week, am I happier? The answer is “yes.” I am happier, but not in the bubbly, cheery way. I’m happier deep inside because I know that the things I invested in this week were things of importance. I am happy because I tried hard to pay the price, to sacrifice the right things and to hold tightly to essential things. I am happier but I do need to remember to tell that to my face. I will smile more.
Life is good. Have a great week!