Friday, July 31, 2015

to find the joy

It's amazing, this life sometimes.

In between all that we are required to do, the monotony, the obligation, there are moments filled with breathtaking beauty if we allow ourselves to just slow down for a moment and drink them in.

I've been struggling lately for many reasons, I've been forthcoming about that all. I have to be to preserve my own sanity because that is just how I function. This time of year is hard for me. Postpartum hormones and I don't much get along. There have been more days when the anxiety in my head has overflowed lately than not. It's just a part of who I am, for better or for worse.

Even in between all that, though, there are these moments, these fleeting moments that make everything else fade away.

The moments like this one, this morning.


The times when I am driving my oldest child back and forth to school...because I'm literally always driving him back and forth to school...and he confides in me the things that other kids his age might be hesitant to talk about. He asks me all the questions in the universe because he somehow still trusts that I have the answers. He is so grown and mature and so tiny and fragile all at once. He got out of the car a few days ago and my eyes irrationally filled with tears, overwhelmed with responsibility and pride. I made that. I don't know how, but I made that.

Then there are the times when the child that I least understand catches my glimpse across a room and her eyes fixate on me, then squint a little bit in playful defiance. I don't understand her, I don't know that I ever truly will, but lord help us, I'm trying. Really trying. Just when I think she's outgrown any desire to interact with me beyond simply fulfilling her needs and requirements, I find her reaching out for my hand somewhere in public and am reminded that she's still my little girl with the golden ponytails, trapped in the body of a 12 year old. She's figuring out who she is, and I am lucky enough to have a front row seat.

Then there are the times when the one most like me becomes completely overwhelmed with everything in the world, when the fear rises up in her and I can see it coming out of her pores, when she needs someone to talk her down and to guide her in this quest to beat the worry. And then she does it. This summer has been an important one in her life, the one that will forever be known as the summer she left home for the first time without us. She was scared, but she did it. As I write this, she's in the middle of the mountains somewhere with her father on a backpacking trip, overcoming whatever life throws at her.

Then there are the times that the boy who for so long was my littlest climbs up into my lap and rests his sweaty head on my chest. He wants to run faster, jump higher, be stronger. He wants to be bigger until he wants to need me. And he does. He is stubborn and so determined to be brave, even when he isn't. He caught a huge fish this summer that he keeps in our freezer. If you come over, chances are you'll be asked if you'd like to meet Fishy. Someday we'll eat him, but for now, we just take him out and hug him occasionally. This boy makes me proud and he makes me crazy, usually all at the same time.

Then there are the times with him, my last. The baby. The one that I wished for and dreamed for. He's squishy and delicious and I could spend hours watching him sleep. He still insists on holding my hand when he nurses, and I oblige. For the longest time, I felt like something, someone was just missing from my life, and I know now that it was him all along. He completes us. He brings joy and love and pterodactyl squeals to our home. He just arrived, but it feels like he has always been a part of us.

And last but not least, there is him. The man that I chose to spend my life with. The one that I've chosen every day since then. The one who has become a better father, a better husband, a better person. He is my center, he is my home. And even after all these years, when I catch his eyes staring back at mine amidst the noisy chaos that is our family, he melts my heart.

I am working to take those moments, to focus on them, to overlook all the rest of it, to find the joy.

The joy.

It's there.

The trick is letting yourself see it.

Maybe there are people who see the joy and beauty at each and every opportunity. If they exist, I know I'm not one of them.

I have to remind myself to look.

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