Sunday, February 2
Finding Joy...A Post That Ended up Ironically Being About Groundhog's Day
As I rolled out of bed one morning late last week I did two things:
1) I vowed to have a good attitude
2) I said a prayer to help me with #1
I was tired and feeling a little bit like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog Day-- you know where he re-lives the same day over and over and over and OVER again. If you are a mom you may have had that feeling once or twice yourself.
My prayer went like this:
I'm sorry I'm crabby (let's just be honest here!). I don't want to be, but my sleep is a little shoddy and the kids are very busy and I'm a little tired-- it's kind of a bad combination. I'm feeling a little bit like a marathon runner in a race that is entirely up hill on a really windy day. Please help me to be patient today. And grateful. Help me to spread sunshine and love my children well. Thank you for ALL that we have. Truly. I am a blessed woman. We are a blessed family. Thank you. Amen.
After making my vow and saying my prayer I got out of bed to head downstairs and pour a cup of coffee...the final element in the mommy survival triune; attitude (a good one preferably), prayer, and coffee!
(I must confess, I then held a brief moment of empathy for my own mother whose morning coffee habit I used to greatly misunderstand) "What? You can't hold a reasonable conversation or hand me a box of cereal before you have your coffee?"
Oh how little I knew.
Oh how quickly I have become that mom.
With coffee in hand I began considering the day before me. I was finding it a challenge to frame it as positively as I knew I should .
I was struggling to look forward, with enthusiastic perspective, towards my day. A day which was likely to include a great deal of nagging, and some whining. Lots and lots of food preparation, and lots and lots of clean up afterwards. It would probably also include refereeing many petty arguments, a massive number of toys that would need to be picked up, and then re picked up, and then picked up again. There would be a LOT of repetitive tasks and little to no time to take a deep breath.
Ugh. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm whining...Goodness, I've turned into one of the kids!
"Lis, it's all about how we look at it," Scott says. "It's about our attitude towards it all. All of this craziness and work isn't going away anytime soon."
I knew he was right. We seem to talk again and again about how shocked we are at the amount of energy required to run a household and raise three children. We seem to be continually surprised at how encompassing it can all be.
Our attitude, on a lot of those days, is literally the ONLY thing we have any control over.
But how do we do that? How do we stay positive when the nitty gritty grind of daily life can sometimes feel so non-stop?
I think I know the answer...even though I'm not often a good role model for carrying it out. It is all about attitude. About focusing on the good. About finding joy in the daily details.
It's about focusing on the hugs, and the smiles and sunshine which are sure to be mixed into the more frustrating moments. It's about allowing your thankfulness and appreciation of those moments, overshadow your irritation towards the others. Its about taking this parenting journey one day at a time and concentrating on the blessings.
If yesterday was a bad day, we must put it behind us.
If five minutes ago was a bad moment, we must put that behind us too.
There is a lot of chaos, but there is a lot of grace too.
Somehow, for some reason, my girls like to come up to me in the middle of the kitchen, put their arms around my waist and shout, "Best mom ever."
Seriously? I want to say. That's only because you don't know any other moms! I'm crabby mom lately. The one who needs her coffee before she can speak. The one who rants and raves about the wet boots that need to be placed on the shoe mat and not in the middle of the floor! The one who is making lame grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner again.
But I also know, that in some predetermined twist of fate, that I actually was intended as the best mom for them. God knew what He was doing when he stuck us all together in this crazy little family full of girls and hormones and a very outnumbered (but lucky!) husband.
There is a verse in Matthew where Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has offended or wronged him. Jesus replies, "Not seven times, but seventy times seven".
I think the same may apply to my attitude.
"God, how many times do I have to try to think positively before it actually works?!"
Not just seven times, but seventy times seven.
I did some quick math. At first I thought it said 77 times, which in and of itself would be a lot.
Really? I need to try this 77 times before I get it right?
But then I realized it was 70 times 7 for a grand whopping total of 490 times!!
That means...ALL. DAY. LONG. Jesus was insinuating that sometimes to get the tough things right, things that don't come natural to our human nature, things like forgiveness (in the case of the actual scripture) or my attitude (in the case of my life!) we have work on it a lot. Repetitively.
Over and over and over again.
So I look forward to tomorrow...A new day to try again. A new day to get it right. A new day to try...maybe hundreds of times to focus on the beauty (which is always there) instead of on the messy.
In the movie Groundhog's Day, Phil Connors (played by Bill Murray) does eventually get it right. It takes many days of repetition, but slowly he learns to love better and to try new things. He gains deepened perspective on people and life...When his attitude changes, so, eventually does the date on the calendar...From February 2nd to February 3rd. He's now moving forward.
Ironically, when I began this post I had no intentions of coordinating it with Groundhog's day. When I looked down at the date on my computer screen I realized that as I finished this post it was, indeed, February 2nd.
Haha. God has a sense of humor.
Here's to waking up tomorrow and seeing things in a completely new way!