Day one of the 10-Day Family Recharge - today's message was "So Glad I'm Here."
Life may be chaotic, it may be difficult at times, it may present more challenges than you feel you can handle. But it's also a gift.
We were reminded to stop at several times during the day and remember this, and to take a moment to think about how, despite all its imperfections (or because of them), your life is also beautiful and awe-inspiring.
And as I sat in an elementary school gym this morning, watching Gabe play basketball, I took that moment. I saw his lanky almost-8-year-old body flying back and forth on the basketball court, not entirely sure of what he was supposed to be doing, but still loving every minute of it. And I watched Dante sitting on the floor next to me, engrossed in playing with his matchbox cars.
It was all so ordinary, yet completely extraordinary. I used to wonder if there ever came a time, as a parent, when you stopped having those moments where you step back and look at your kids and are positively dumbfounded that they are your flesh and blood, and that you are responsible for their care and well-being, and that you love them more than you ever thought it was possible to love someone. In those moments, you sometimes wonder if it's all a dream, because how could that have possibly happened?
Those moments happen a lot when you first bring your baby home, but as the years go by, they're more infrequent.
But as I found today, they do still happen. As I listened to the chorus of sneakers squeaking on the gym floor, and basketballs smashing into backboards - in the midst of that bustle and noise, it was suddenly amazing to me that I am so lucky to be a mom to these three little boys who have changed my life in ways I never thought possible. They're here, and they're healthy, and they're growing and thriving, and Scott and I have somehow made all that possible.
This was my moment today, and it almost moved me to tears. I breathed it in, and let it wash over me, and the one emotion that kept coming into my head was extreme gratitude.
Gratitude for all I've been given, and for everything that's still to come. I cannot even fathom how we got so lucky, to be where we are, with what we have. And I only hope that I can continue to cultivate a greater appreciation for it.
So it worked. The message got through, loud and clear, and I was able to put it into practice.
Our day wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, of course - nor do I expect it to be, which is the other part of the message. It's all connected - the joy, the gratitude, the wonder - they go right along with the less glamorous parts of this journey, and you can't have one without the other.
Case in point - as we drove home from basketball, I had to referee several fights in the car, and while we were outside this afternoon, there were multiple incidents of bickering, tattling, pushing, and children 'accidentally' hitting each other.
On some of those occasions, I reacted calmly and with a level head - and on a few of those occasions, I lost my patience and got angry.
But overall, I do feel like my head is in a better place (or at least working on getting there). A more thankful place. A more present place.
And being in those places also puts me in a more hopeful, optimistic, happy frame of mind, which makes it much easier to deal with the nitty-gritty and the daily grind, and the parts of the dream that you wish you really could just wake up from.
It is a grind, and it will continue to sometimes wear me down. But it's also a gift, and I feel like I'm just beginning the process of unwrapping it. I can't wait to continue.