“I’ve always believed in savoring the moments. In the end, they are the only things we’ll have.” —Anna Godbersen, The Luxe
At twenty-nine years old, one of my daily struggles is understanding and further forcing myself to accept that the human existence is broken up into a series of phases.
For example…although the powdered sugar bomb my two-year old daughter set off in our pantry two weeks ago is hilarious, that is a phase. (How can you not hysterically laugh at the sight below–doe eyed two-year old, who’s dusted head to toe in white powder that refuses to come off and just keeps spreading, and she’s grinning like a mad fool, no doubt high on sugar? You laugh, instead of cry, or worse, grudge out in a demonic voice “What the H#&$!” Go with laughter, it’s the gold code of mom survival.)
This is why all mother’s hold their bowels until back-up arrives.
Sugar messes are nothing, soon she’ll move on to coloring the walls with lipstick at age three, eating frozen chicken nuggets out of the freezer while she hides in her closet when she’s four, whacking her bangs off, straight down to the scalp, when she turns five…that is if she follows in her three older sister’s footsteps. These are true stories people (I know what you’re thinking…where in the world was the mother? This is where I tell you that moms sometimes can’t wait for backup…).
Now you’re depressed and grossed out and wondering how in the world this explains phases, I’m terrible…I know, but I’m getting to the point–promise. (Confession: Teaching was never my calling. God Bless Teachers, Amen.)
Basically, Anabella is going to be destructive and I’ll continue ushering through the messes, “this is why we can’t have nice things…” But eventually she’ll stop, or I’ll lose my hair—but we will survive.
Rewind even further back to more examples…a long, long time ago to my husband and I’s dating phase (when you have kids, suddenly 2, 5, even 11 years of marriage seems like a 100 years ago). Sometime’s I dig out those folded, old notes we wrote each other when we were fifteen and read in chagrin—fascinated by the memories of feeling like I was living and dying by his next declaration of love that always started with ‘hey baby’, or remembering when we were fifteen and he broke up with me in the hallway between classes. (You know when you’re so cool that you just utter ‘let’s be friends’ and then walk away—clearly, fourteen years later I still feel some way about it!)
(this is where you laugh with me, or at me…it’s okay, I forgive you.)
Our selfie game circa 2001.
After he shattered my heart that day, my mom picked me up from the bus stop and I proceeded to cry all the way home absolutely devastated about my future as Mrs. Black cut short after a solid three weeks of dating.
Or the memories of when we’d talk on the phone for hours. What exactly did he and I talk about for three straight hours? I’m sure we were so lovesick that we actually just listened to each other breathe. We were sick puppies. Sick.
And the phase before my husband and I had four daughters. We were only married seventeen months before our first daughter’s arrival and didn’t do much aside from work, stare at one another, eat, sleep, and probably try to break back into the nest at Travis’ parent’s home—we had ramen, they had steak.
Those times taste bittersweet, although I cannot recall who we actually were as individuals. Have I always gulped down three cups of coffee just to start my day, or hide in my closet to eat candy?
No, it’s a phase and I will survive, with a high chance of type 2 diabetes, but hey, I will survive!
The truth is, for us, we found our calling when we had our first daughter, and then our second happened, and then our third (and we were like, how does this keep happening…), and then SURPRISE, actually it wasn’t a surprise at all, along came our fourth daughter—and after her I said, or most likely screamed, “NO MORE ESTROGEN, I’m done bearing children.” And then probably sat down, cried, and started popping birth control pills like candy.
I knew my limits, my girl power army is four strong—just enough to make my husband crazy the rest of his life (oh, how the tables have turned since he broke up with me in that hallway).
When they all want your attention at the same exact moment.
But this phase that we are currently in—the whole routine of going on a decade of changing diapers, digging to the depths of our energy tanks after a long day to march up the stairs to tuck them into bed at night, breaking up fights, which sometimes feels like negotiating with little terrorists—can feel completely overwhelming some days.
The kind of overwhelming that makes you contemplate calling the asylum yourself just for some sleep! Worse, it’s hard not to lose sight of pursuing your spouse in the capacity before kids—date nights are hard to come by, among other things…like an uninterrupted conversation between my husband and I…and who knew that closets are good for everything.
It’s a phase, it’s a phase…and I’m without doubt that I will be singing, “I’m a survivor” when we are empty nesters.
But on a night, after a long, stressful day, when I turned the corner into my bathroom and witnessed this image of my husband and our daughter…I melted.
That place where time suspends, frozen, and it leaves you dwindling in the vast space of immense awareness.
You can actually taste how beautiful the moment is.
My husband had worked eleven hours, came home, changed out of his work clothes and jumped right into our brood’s nighttime routine. Armed with a blow dryer in hand…he has never been sexier to me as he blew out our daughter’s hair.
Regardless of how many phases there are, this is a moment within a really tough phase of life, I want to savor indefinitely…
Choose to seek the moments…they breathe life into the health of your sanity (and when raising small babies, you need all the help you can get).