If you've been visiting this space for awhile, you'll notice the blog has had a bit of a makeover. A little lighter. A little more simple. And a little ditty on the side about how I'm trying to live my life. It's new, and I'm still getting used to it (the ditty, that is) because I'll be honest: I do not come by this whole "choosing joy in every moment" idea naturally. Truth is, I have a tendency to swing into darker places, to stew over little messes, to be stormy and passionate-- sometimes in the not-so-nice ways. My 30 years have been spent swinging in the extremes of emotion. Balance is not a word often used to describe my life.
And that's okay.
Because right now, I am typing while my daughter sleeps on my arm.
She's breathing in a rhythm that makes me realize we are moving toward summer; her inhales and exhales flowing slow and clear, the result of spending an entire day outdoors. It is this baby, along with the two boys breathing in similar candence in their beds a floor above us, that helps me understand the importance of choosing gratitude over anything else.
As a poet, I've always chalked bouts of dark and stormy (or weepy and aimlessness) on my craft. Occupational hazard of sorts. It almost seems attractive-- and certainly has its elements of romance-- to be a creative soul that bleeds emotions in words and sponges the essence of loss as much as love from the world all around. I know. It sounds pretty stupid when I actually type it.
The older I get, the more I realize how brief this time in life really is. I look at my children and find myself totally awed-- when I take the time to slow down and notice-- how quickly they grow and change.
The Noah who woke up this morning was not quite the same Noah whose hair, damp with sweat, I tucked behind freckled ears as he slept tonight. Experiences, moments, discoveries; these things happen to him all day. And he changes.
It is the same with Max and Elizabeth.
Each moment is part of their story. I think I got tired of being caught up in anything and everything that got in the way of the opportunity to watch these stories unfold. And so, I made a decision to choose joy in every moment. And I'm not looking back.
Don't get me wrong: there is very little joy in unclogging the toilet every other day, even when my four-year old is prancing around yelling "I'm the best toilet clogger in the universe!" It isn't easy to feel grateful when my daughter gets up a thousand times a night or when Noah is crying because some bully called him an "A-hole" and he feels like he is swearing by even saying A. Hole. I have plenty of melting moments around 6:45 p.m. (exactly) when the wear-and-tear of the day just feels like too much and I want to pee alone or curl up on the coach or sew or anything besides what I'm doing. My breath gets shorter. My back tenses up and I feel antsy and agitated and unable to settle. And that's okay too-- because it is my body's way of calling me back to the present. Maybe I need to step outside or slide out for a walk. Maybe I need to go grab a book and curl up on the couch and let the dishes wait in the sink. Learning to give myself a break-- this is a big part of living joyfully. In these moments, however, more than anything else, I need to stop and ask one question: am I, despite all the junk, still very blessed? I've never, ever been able to say no. And somehow, I swear, it changes everything.
One glance as photos like these, and I realize, my life is full.
So very full in all the best ways. What are some ways you remind yourself to choose gratitude?
I'm also so very grateful that I'm learning to sew, because now I can whip out fantastic little projects like this sandwhich/snack bag.
You can check out the tutorial on Cluck and Tweet.