I read these delicious blog posts.
They’re all about slowing down and savoring each moment.
Finding the joy in the soap bubbles in your sink.
Leisurely walking down the sidewalk soaking in moments of family togetherness.
Filling your house with the delicious aroma from a big cast iron pot filled with vegetables you plucked from your backyard garden.
They are incredibly relaxing to read.
But I do not personally know any of these people. Or what they do for a living. Or how their children learned to leisurely walk next to them without careening into oncoming traffic.
Seriously. Who are these people? Where do they live?
I know. I sound like a cynic. But I’m not. (Most of the time.)
I am an optimist. A glass-is-half-full, see-the-good-in-people, embrace-your-best-self optimist.
However, I don’t have soap bubbles in my sink because I throw half rinsed dishes in the dishwasher and hope for the best. We avoid sidewalks with our children because of the aforementioned darting into oncoming traffic as well as 100 plus degree temperatures (at 8 PM AT NIGHT!). I have no garden, of vegetables or anything else, and the few times I tried to plant a flower or bush were miserable failures.
Our family is frenzied because we live in 2015 and have triplets and two-career parents. We probably snap when we shouldn’t, and that’s all five of us, because we’re not cooking homegrown vegetables and taking naps in familial hammocks (We had a hammock. It broke. Not from use but a storm.).
Most mornings I leave at 6:15 in the morning so I can keep my commute under an hour, and it enables me to get home in time to make dinner in the evening. My hubby leaves later so he tries to make it home most nights in time for the big dinner hour. We swim in the summer after dinner which is our “downtime.”
School starts back next week so early mornings will involve lunch packing and bag checks for folders and new schedule changes with gymnastics and soccer starting up. I’m guessing that Monday nights, with our first ever 6 pm kid activity, will mean Chick-Fil-A for dinner, and it probably won’t be the grilled chicken. Bray and I have tag team trips in September so we’ll face time and make it up when we both get back.
Weekends we’ll split between kid games and the farm. We’ll have some downtime there though one kid will be atop a tractor while another brushes the horse and yet another is on the buggy with grandpa. We don’t regularly stroll around down there holding hands.
I love seeing the pictures of the relaxing strolls on the beach and the late morning cups of coffee, but that’s not our life and I’m okay with that. My kid beach experiences involve insane amounts of sand in hard-to-get-out-of places and unexpected wetness and attempts to avoid jellyfish. And a late morning cup of coffee for me is 7 am.
I wonder if that’s a little of what your life looks like too? I encourage you to not get caught up in an idealized, and highly pictorialized, notion that your life and family can’t connect and grow without organic tomatoes and spotless vacations.
Most of our families are messy and rushed. We carve out little moments with each other. I still catcall my husband, and we read bedtime stories with the kids. We have family dinners together during the week, even if it’s only messy spaghetti, and we share our daily stories. If I took photos of those moments, you probably wouldn’t get wistful wishing your life looked like ours because (a) I’m a bad photographer, (b) they’re messy and stained and uncoordinated.
So here’s a little encouragement from the peanut gallery today. If you were worried your family was going to need therapy because your moments don’t look like those beautiful blog posts, they probably will end up needing therapy but it will have nothing to do with long walks and pots of vegetables. At least mine probably will, but it won’t be for lack of effort and love.
Love comes on in along with the messy and hurried and frazzled, but love always outshines all the rest of those.