In a day and age when life moves a little too fast for many of us, it's safe to say we could all use a little more peace and
beauty in our routine. I'm learning at a shamefully slow rate that those things can be found in the smallest of details, as
long as we're looking.
And whether or not we're looking depends largely on where our focus is, naturally. Just this morning, I was scrounging to
find something green for each of our oldest three daughters to wear to school since it's St. Patrick's Day. Being the
mother of an Irish family, I was feeling rather inadequate while looking through the girls' closets and drawers, coming up
with nothing green. They were not particularly pleased either, reminding me how "EVERYone will be TOTALLY in green
but me, Mom!" I ended up raiding my own closet, offering things clearly too large for them, but the girls were delighted
with the options and felt ! "cool" wearing clothes that hung on their small frames. I actually gave up "cool" about 20 years
ago, so now I suppose I can be the support staff for the next generation of cool. Unfortunately, I had nothing in my closet
for our four-month-old daughter or our three-year-old son. Thankfully, being cool is not a priority for them yet.
When everyone was dressed, the normal morning routine began. It was time to distribute cereals, issue vitamins, get
teeth brushed, organize backpacks, grab cold weather accoutrements, unload the dishwasher, reload it, get a load of
laundry going, and deposit the girls on their respective buses. At the height of chaos this morning, I looked over just in
time to see the baby with a huge grin on her face. I immediately felt my stress level decline, and I couldn't help but smile
myself. I found beauty in such a small gesture, made by such a small person. But what I had momentarily lost sight of is
that the beauty is really all around me, all the time. It's in my oldest daughter's pleas for help stuffing all her school
belongings in her backpack. It's in the fact that my seven-year-old took it upon herself to change and feed the baby when
she got up this morning. It's in my three-year-old's huge blue eyes as he's begging me to put his fireman boots on him.
Taking it a step further, there's beauty in my being here to get them on the bus, off the bus, watching them take those
first steps, being the one to spackle their little faces with cereal for the first time, and dancing to the Drifters with them in
the family room.
Attitude is 90% of any situation. I could lament that my children have dragged out the crayons, paper, colored pencils,
and safety scissors for the eighth time today, which means I have to coax and guide them to put it all away again when
they're through, or I could rejoice that they are using their creativity and having fun. I could moan and groan about not
being able to run a simple errand without schlepping around a fat diaper bag, a car carrier, and three small children, or I
could find joy in having these little wonders at my side on a sunny day. I could beg God to give me a minute to myself, or
I can thank God for the short time span that I have to do my best as a mother.
I think God knew just what He was doing when He engineered the average child and parent. He knew that the crying of a
baby would spark an innate need for a parent to soothe whatever is causing the little one's discomfort. He also knew that
building in things like a baby's smiles, coos, and giggles would soothe whatever is causing a parent's discomfort. Works
It takes effort to jerk myself out of a blue funk brought on by persistent cold weather that's keeping spring at bay, but it's
worth the effort. It would be easy to get bored with the "Groundhog Day movie" mentality that permeates my daily routine.
Truthfully, however, it's easier to seek out meaning and depth from the everyday things that grow from being surrounded
by my children. Their sense of wonder, their innocence, their needfulness, all remind me of the blessing and the privilege
I have been given in raising them. Now I just need to get past the guilt I feel today because I am wearing a green sweater
that came straight from Dublin. And it fits me, too.
Mia Cronan is a happily married at-home mother of five children, ages 9, 7, 5, 3, and a newborn as of November 2004,
living in Ohio. She owns and edits http://MainStreetMom.com, the magazine for modern mothers with traditional values.
Mia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. MainStreetMom.com is the flagship site of http://EMCWebs.com.
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