Joy, week 39
The fan hums consistently as it pulls the cool air in through open windows. Outside there are the faraway sounds of cars passing, sounding farther away than they really are. The moon rises slowly in the sky, framed for the moment between branches on a pine tree. The house is mostly quiet but for the muffled sounds of little girls playing but trying to hide it. I wonder why I describe these moments of quiet so often in these posts. Perhaps it’s because pausing to notice and share them is such a luxury in my day to day life. Perhaps it’s because I’ve always enjoyed quiet but never really knew it until quiet had been almost entirely erased from my life. Perhaps it grounds me, helping me to savor the life I have even at the end of days that I didn’t love. Maybe I just love searching for the right words.
Regardless, here I am again, and in the brief moments it took to type those sentences, the scene has already changed. Suddenly two girls are in my room, one professing her ultimate goal of sleeping on my floor and the other jealous of the idea, using a plastic hanger as an imaginary bow to shoot arrows of air at her sister. I mind the interruption, and yet I don’t. It’s my life! Suddenly I’m grateful that I write at all, knowing that this stage will pass before I am ready and one day I’ll be swimming in quiet and wishing for the stampede once more.
I’m not sure how to judge the week. It was a good week. Nothing too crazy happened, and I like weeks like that. I feel good about the things I did this week, but my heart wasn’t in a lot of it. Every day I had things I “felt” like doing, things that are good but which ran counter to what needed to be done. I’m happy to say that I stuck with my duties and so things hummed along rather nicely. My favorite quote from James Lehman was my banner this week: “We don’t feel our way to better behavior, we behave our way to better feelings.”
My little one has been potty training this week. THAT is reason enough to stay home and forgo any urges to leave the house! My daughters scored some awesome goals in their soccer games. We read books, drew pictures, played with friends, picked vegetables from our garden, tried new recipes, shared favorite treats with friends, joked and laughed and worked.
I had hoped to have the entire house whipped into shape by today. I made great progress but there are areas which have gone untouched and areas that obviously didn’t work like I wanted because they’re already back to a state of chaos. But I’m working at it and that’s enough. We had some small setbacks which tempted me to be discouraged but I was able to keep things in perspective and not let it phase me. I was tempted to think that I’m not learning anything but again I didn’t go there. Behavior, not feelings. So I got back to work. So many skills to teach, so many hugs to give, so much work to do, and I’m thrilled to be here doing it. Really, in many ways, that is joy. Being able to do your own work. What a lucky girl I am!