It is fun.
It is funny.
It is humbling.
It is interesting.
It is challenging.
It is ridiculous.
It is tedious.
It is messy.
It is the best thing I have ever decided to do.
It is the most worthwhile undertaking I have attempted.
It is really, really hard.
It is awesome, in the truest sense of that word.
But a lot of the time, it isn’t particularly enjoyable.
It is a never-ending quest to manage, wrangle, calm, soothe, meet-the-needs of, care for, provide, go and do. And clean. Why is there so much cleaning involved?
I try to be present as a mom, as a wife, as a person. But the minutiae, the to-do list, the exhaustion, the frustration, the pace, the never-ending work of fulfilling the needs of others, can make this difficult. In the quest to tread water, to keep my head afloat, I sometimes forget to feel the slippery water weaved through my fingers, to feel the cool and calming pressure on my skin, to feel my body in that space at that moment. My life has become an eternal quest to plan for and accomplish what’s next while still being here, now.
Last night at dinner – which I hurriedly, and half-assedly prepared – before Plum started grumping and Pickle started trying to throw his kielbasa (“But I HAVE to! But I WANT to!”) there was a moment when Pickle was looking over at his sister, making funny raspberries, rolling his eyes up into his head, being silly and laughing. She thought he was hysterical. Her uncontrolled belly laughter is one of the tell-tale signs of her exhaustion and an impending meltdown, but we ignored that fact for a second. He mugged and chortled and she laughed and laughed. And we laughed along, too.
My husband, who had had a very long day of grumpy baby and willful toddler said, “See? There is always one moment of the day where I like everyone.” It was a funny way to put it, but I understood. There is always one moment of the day – an exhalation, a sigh – where the kids are happy, everyone’s needs have been met, the to-do list is forgotten, and we are well and warm. In that moment we are all present. Imperfect and usually exhausted, but present. And in that moment, living becomes life, and I gratefully realize that in fact, I am floating, and not treading.