Smile Anyway

I’ve thought this to myself roughly 800 times over the past 10 days, but I just haven’t sat down and done anything about it.  Lucky you, I’m attempting to come out of my slump.

Thinking back on the last week and a half, I think to myself, “Now just what have I been doing instead of blogging?”  Let’s see…for one thing, my husband and two oldest daughters were in California for 5 days to attend a family wedding.  I was left at home – with NO operating vehicle and two young kids and 100+ degree weather.  So, I guess you could say I was doing my level best to hang on to my sanity.  I can’t say I completely achieved that, but the house in still standing, most of my hair is still intact, and the kids are still alive and happy.  I figure it’s a wash.  Truly, those were 5 very difficult days for me.  I found out that having absolutely no option for leaving your house for days on end completely and UTTERLY stinks, and also that parenting two children is way harder than parenting four.  Seriously.  Whenever they’d get bored with each other (or mad at each other, which kept seeming to happen), who would they turn to?  Moi!  Instead of finding one of the other two siblings to entertain them, I was the only source of amusement or distraction.  I haven’t been in that position for some time, and at this stage of pregnancy and with the weather what it was, I had little energy for putting on my top hat and dance shoes.  Still, I suppose we made it out ok.

I’ve also just been so easily occupied by LIFE.  Did I say occupied, or overwhelmed?  Hmm…I suppose it depends on the day, really.  To put things into perspective (which I sometimes have a hard time doing), my wonderful husband works two jobs – his regular, 40+ hr/week one, and now a second job working 10+ hours every Saturday for his cousin – is on the city’s School Board, is in a regional leadership position for our church, and is in a community musical.  That leaves me with…oh, I don’t know…four kids at home and EVERYTHING kids and home entail.  Groceries, meals, dishes, laundry, housekeeping, yard maintenance, bills, the general enrichment of my children (library, museum, free movies, etc), and lots and lots of making sure the kids are happy, healthy, and getting along ok.  Oh, and I forgot, I’m also growing another human being.  Is it any wonder that I often feel like I’m just not getting everything done??  Yikes!  Or that I just don’t feel like being so “In Charge” anymore??  Calgon, take me away!

Then again, Calgon, don’t.

Because I’ve had some pretty great moments recently, too.  Such as:

  • Having my 13-yr old be so happy to see me after coming home from California.  She said that she missed being able to talk to someone and share her thoughts and feelings.  That’s ME, everyone!  ME!  I’m the one she waits to share her thoughts and feelings with!  Another night this past week she and I stayed up again talking until 2AM.  It seriously felt like I was chatting with a really close friend.  She’s such a great girl.
  • The other day I took my kids to the library, and we picked up our 16 books and movies that they had put on hold.  Seeing my kids literally jumping up and down to see such literary treasure made me proud.
  • I so easily pleased my daughters by spending $2.49 on a bag of batting (my girls call it “fluff”) so they could make sock monkeys with old socks at home.  They’ve been occupied for hours by this simple craft, and they think I’m a hero for getting them the stuffing (and a $1.99 bag of “googly eyes”).
  • My son came to cuddle in bed with me last night, and as he was spooned up against my tummy, he jumped and squeeled, saying, “Hey!  What was that?”  Well, the baby had been kicking against his back, and my son found that completely hilarious.  He then smothered my tummy with kisses and talked to his little brother for a while.
  • I found a huge bag of embroidery floss that I had bought some time ago, and now my 9yr old and I have been making tons of friendship bracelets.  She has pleased herself to no end over being able to master some basic patterns, and I’ve been producing some not-too-shabby patterns with edges and beads.
  • My 10yr old has been turning some corners this summer – physically and emotionally – and I marvel in watching her mature.  It has brought me a lot of peace to see her find her way.
  • Not too terribly long ago my husband and I actually went out on a (gasp!) date.  He took me to a cute retro place called the Blue Moon Diner, where we had a very nice time and I had the absolutely most perfect french dip sandwich ever.  With a fresh strawberry milkshake.  Good company and good food…hard to top!

So while there are plenty of days when I shove my head back under the covers and wish wish wish for MY mommy to come take care of me, life is good.  My blog says “Happy Are We,” not “Perfect Are We,” and I think it’s important to understand and recognize the difference.  Happiness doesn’t come only when everything is in order and shiny and trouble-free.  I think happiness comes when you allow life to bring you moments of laughter and peace and learning.  And then you stitch those moments together to produce something that is more lasting and real than the illusion of “perfection” could ever be.

So if I’m going to write something today, it may as well be this:  KEEP BEING HAPPY.  No matter what.  It’s like what I saw on a bumper sticker once:  Smile Anyway.  Though there may be a hundred reasons to fret and bother and sigh, my desire is to defy logic and let myself feel happiness.  Maybe if we all decided to do that, we could start a revolution.  You in?