What I’ve woken up to is beautiful
A year ago, a day like today would have likely been very different. Tim was travelling today, and with a shorter day for work between taking kids both to and from school, it used to leave me feeling like I could never fit in all that needed to happen in a day. A year ago it would have likely been stressful, trying to fit in 8 working hours in the impossibility of only 6 hours without kids in the house. It may have felt busy, taking care of homework and dinner and bedtime routines without additional help at home.
But a year ago, I was still trying to keep up with too much, not focused on what I really cared about, but full of busy things that made me feel productive and capable and dutiful.
Things are different now. I’ve found my peace between the fast-paced world and living and cherishing the moment. I’ve figured out what matters most and make sure I put those things first. So instead of my day full of stress and feeling busy, I made the most of my day. In the morning, I had a short time for myself to do yoga, write in my journal and to read a bit of the news before I got the kids ready for school. After dropping off the older kids, Sierra and I headed up to the regional park with Sadie for a nice little walk.
My hiking partners this morning.
It was a beautiful fall day with lots of colors and leaves on the ground, and sunshine filtering through the trees.
After the walk, I dropped off Sierra at daycare, where she happily ran to play in the backyard. I started my workday and got a few hours of billable time in, then I rewarded my hard work with a little time to play! Thursdays, I’ve decided, are my day to paint. I even found a bunch of YouTube videos to provide tutorials on acrylic painting techniques.
I finished up this abstract painting (which Aubrey, sweetly, says she must put in her room). Then I started two new paintings, but wasn’t able to get very far on them, because, as I am realizing, you need to set aside drying time in between layers. It was too soon to time to pick up the kids, so I set that aside for another time.
I rode my bike to the school to pick up the kids. We took the “long way” back because Rylan wanted to do some dirt bike riding through one of the fields. Riding back and forth to the kid’s school is one of my favorite things – it is just so cool to be able to bike instead of drive, and the majority of the ride is extremely peaceful, especially along the short dirt road alongside the vineyards.
Once home with all three kids, we had an extremely luxurious long afternoon and evening together. Not a single out-of-the-house activity planned and no hard work for me to get food prepared (I decided to make breakfast for dinner – always a treat for the kids and a quick job for me). It was chore day, and the girls were extremely agreeable about dusting and washing the windows – I think they actually enjoyed it.
Unfortunately, Rylan’s had a little backup of schoolwork he’s been bringing home, alongside regular homework, so we did have a bit of difficulty there. But, I’ve learned I can’t force him to do anything, just remind him of the consequences. I also put things in his own hands, by asking (when he’s procrastinating or in today’s case suddenly deciding to rebuild his K’Nex roller coaster that has sat in the front room for 10 months unbuilt), “Do you intend to turn in your homework on time tomorrow?” The answer, “yes.” “Then, when exactly are you going to do the homework in order to do so?” He said he’d do the homework after dinner. And suprisingly, he did!
And while Rylan was busy with his homework, the girls miraculously played without fighting for a full 30 minutes (this is rare – they love to play together but lately manage to get into a fight quite quickly). This gave me time to clean the whole kitchen!
Which meant we had time to pull out the craft project they had completed the other night – a firefly that has a glowstick in it and therefore could only be truly enjoyed once dark.
We decided to forgo their regular bedtime routine to play with the firefly, making our day feel even longer. There were giggles and lots of laughing and jumping and playing, it was so fun to watch them enjoy such a simple craft for so long.
Once in bed, I’d planned (and had agreement prior for) a quick hug and kiss and to head out of the room. But, the girls have found a weak spot recently. They ask me to tell a story about when they were younger. And, as has worked the last few nights, it launched us into twenty minutes of reminiscing about past vacations, time at our cabin, with old friends, and of when Rylan was little before they were born. So they ended up going to bed a little later than usual, but it was worth it.
What was so special about the day was that it was almost entirely filled with moments where I felt truly present and doing exactly what I wanted to do with that moment.
Can every workday be like this? No, probably not quite so ideal. Many workdays do require some harder work or longer hours, other days are inevitably filled activities and errands, and some times with the kids, no matter how hard you hope for happiness, time together can be soured by a child’s bad mood.
But a year ago, I could’ve had the same opportunity for a day that was full of moments to cherish, and I would’ve blindly sped right through it.
Maybe I’m a bit less productive now, but one can find quite a bit of productivity by being efficient. Maybe I’m turning inward a bit more now, but I’m hopeful my connections can be stronger with a healthy balance between time for others and myself too. Maybe I’m a little more selfish now, but what hard-working mom doesn’t deserve to be a little more selfish.
And that is why, tonight I left their bedrooms and thought to myself, I feel like I’ve woken up, and what I’ve woken up to is beautiful.