I’ve been thinking a lot about “little things” lately. This is a picture of one of the stained glass windows at my church. Its not a great picture. I took it with my phone, while I was in a hurry and dragging my children through the church hall. What is significant about it is that is what I saw through it. It was beginning to snow and you could see fluffy white snowflakes floating down through the colored glass. It was so pretty, it literally pulled me out of my hustle and bustle to take just a few seconds to appreciate the beauty. My MIL mentioned on the phone the other day about how raising children “goes so fast” and suddenly they’ve moved out and you’re left with an empty nest. When you’re IN the hustle and bustle, it can seem like an eternity. There are concrete moments for me that are lasting – something that really stood out, caught my attention, or made me slow down to really think about what was happening, but for the most part, in order to keep up with “life” it takes some serious movement. Alarm clocks and cereal bowls, jumping in the car to go hither and yon, spelling tests and daily homework, chore charts and Sunday school readings, prepping for the holidays to teach tradition and culture. And outside activities. Just soccer by itself is a lot. Its a lot of busy-ness and upkeep and energy. I know that some families tout the “be humble” and “slow down” mindset, and while I know this may work for some families, I don’t know that it would work for ours. The humbleness yes – I think most people hope that their children grow up to be somewhat humble and grateful people. I also want my children to do all the “things” (swimming lessons, classes and trips etc.) that I did and to be able to share so many acitivites and celebrations with them and that takes a lot of movement! Right now for example, we have just ended Halloween season (if it lasts more than 2 weeks in my opinion, its a season), and have started Thanksgiving season. We went to our first Thanksgiving celebration dinner at church (our family was in charge of the “thankfulness activity”) and next up we have Friendsgiving (where we’ll bring a dish to share for a potluck) and then actual Thankgiving Day. Both of those acitivites (the thankfulness acitivty and the participation in potluck) in my mind are setting an example for my children that this is what we do for this holiday, we celebrate in our community and help out in church, we pitch in and celebrate with friends and family. Its important. And its important that its not just once in a while, that its every year so that the tradition sticks with them. I feel the same way about our family vacations. For us, its every year at the same time in the same place. For many families this would not be ideal, but for us we have found so many benefits to this routine. In the meantime, I have planned Miss S’s 4th birthday for the beginning of January and I’m beginning to work on Christmas. I guess what I’m saying is that its a lot of puttering around, but the end result is always so worth it. My favorite analogy right now is that of a Monet. Up close, you can’t really see what the picture is or it can look messy, but from far away, it all comes together and looks very pretty and well thought out. And for me, those moments when I can take a breath in the midst of the busyness to appreciate the beauty, the circumstance that I am in, the surroundings, those are amazing and they really stick with me. The snow falling outside during our hustle through church was one of those moments. It reminded me that I am doing what I think is best for my children. It reminded me that I am making a beautiful painting and one day all those little brushstrokes of activities and culture and education and love – they will come together in what I hope will be a beautiful life.
Be Fierce. Make a painting.