Christmas decorations are still adding festive joy around me. Our paper snowflakes on the windows, our massive brown paper bag stars adorn the walls, the tree covered in ornaments that stir memories, candles with dancing flames, spots of eye-catching greenery and dried oranges, half the lights sparkling white, half shining in multicolor as requested by Libbi.
I’m sipping some frothy spiced milk, flirting with an approaching hour for sleep that is risky for a mother of two youngsters. It’s a few minutes before we hit the last day of the year and a warm drink and a little noting of wandering thoughts felt like a necessity to curb my late night cravings.
We had a wonderful Christmas celebration. One of my favorite yet. We got three full nights together with my parents, siblings, spouses and kids, and as it had been four months since we were all together, what a satisfying reunion. It felt right and merry to be together.
We immediately followed the festivities with a sickness. Colds, snots, fevers and scratchy throats have embraced the girls and I. We are on the mend, five days later, and thus, we’ve had a very slow “breather” week between the holidays. I enjoy a slow week of reflection during this time anyway. I usually prefer it to be more productive and had hoped all my new year deep cleaning and planning and goal setting could be done this week but…our plans were waylaid by moments we needed more.
We’ve fully entered the world of Little Women in about every televised version you can imagine, watched way too much Daniel Tiger, Blippi, Brecky Breck and Peppa Pig (parents will know), had long restorative naps, naps that were cut short by congestion, nights interrupted by nose blowing and coughing and toddlers scrambling over bodies to be near the comfort of mom and dad. We’ve lazed and painted (one child painted that is, the other mainly drank the paint water and ate the paint) and read and danced. Our slow paces encouraged to be even slower by about 50 hours without power. We have a solid generator so we weren’t hurting at all. As much as I’d love to embellish and emphasize our rural lodging and gain a few boasting points as a mother of two sick littles, sick myself and keeping up meals and such without power…I can’t stretch the truth that much. We had heat, lights and a few outlets that worked.
I recognize the first world problems tone of the following statement but, the hard reality of the lack of power hit as I realized that the stack of dirty dishes piled on my counter would have to be washed by hand in addition to the contents of the dishwasher, which was already overflowing in layers. I have a new sense of gratitude for my dishwasher. Another panic set in as I realized all of the cloth wipes we’d been using for our green snot would have to be scrubbed by hand. Sometimes going “green” isn’t glamorous.
The power is finally on, the dishwasher and washing machine are running (*grateful sigh*), and here I sit, attempting to start writing my reflections of 2021 before this year officially passes by.
I start to browse through the photos on my phone from the year. I am apprehended. One photo summarizes it all — one single moment, fully engaged with Auren or with my girls makes the whole year feel worthwhile.
I hesitate to make resolutions because I feel they are so easily broken with such hard drawn lines as, “I will never do X,” or, “I will always do Y,” or “five days a week I will Z…” My first thought as I look at 2021 and look ahead to the blank, glorious, refreshing page of 2022 is, “I want more of those moments.”
This thought triggered by a single photo of me, holding Libbi, in the middle of a sea of vibrant tulips.
We took a three night trip in April with our little foursome family. We stayed in a house overlooking the ocean, we played in the sand, and we spent hours roaming fields of shockingly detailed and vivid flowers on a cold spring afternoon. As much as I crave those novel experiences (I plan to facilitate more such experiences in the new year), what stands out to me is the moment within the moment. This one captured, and thus easier to remember. In 2022 I desire more moments, hours, minutes, seconds of “looking in each other’s eyeballs,” as my Mama says.
You know when you pause long enough to notice the shape and color and form of the eyes you’re talking with? That kind of connection. The kind of connection where nothing else is on your brain except the person right in front of you. That’s what I want to embrace in 2022.
We were watching some home videos from years ago and what a tease to the system to view oneself, ones parents, siblings and grandparents in their younger years. It gives an entirely new dimension to their character and life and my perception of who they are. It’s refreshing. In those moments I thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be seven years old again (just for a moment mind you), knowing what I know as a mother, and to hold and appreciate my newborn baby brother?” How I’d like to relish his tininess and wonder at the friendship we would build as brother and sister over our years of growth. Hindsight, there’s so much I would have appreciated more fully with a little more experience and wisdom.
This is my chance.
To relish what is before me right now. None of this rushing about or missing the season only to mourn its loss and wish it back once its time has passed. While I am in the throughs of mothering in the little years, it is challenging and it is delightful. There is so much growth it is sometimes painful. There is so much joy it is often overwhelming to tears.
I want more of these moments of deep connection with my dear Auren and Libbi and Blythe especially. Less noise, less distraction, less comparison. More engaging, more listening, more being, more seeing. The world doesn’t need to know I “care.” My family needs to know I CARE.
“These are the days,” is a phrase for everyday. Whether I’m standing in a divine field of tulips stylishly posing with my three year old, or whether the lunch-riddled hands of my 18 month old are pulling me close, threatening the inevitable kiss that is coming with a free and thick dose of green snot.
These are the days. These are the moments. I want to let these moments seize my attention— like right before naps when Libbi brought me her stuffed raccoon and placed it under my arm so I would have company. I want to linger in the beauty of such simple gestures.
Tomorrow isn’t promised. We don’t know what the future holds, but we do have this minute.
“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” – Prov. 27:1
I’m remembering what matters.
Happy New Year.
“You think you will never forget any of this, you will remember it always just the way it was. But you can’t remember it the way it was. To know it, you have to be living in the presence of it right as it is happening. It can return only by surprise. Speaking of these things tells you that there are no words for them that are equal to them or that can restore them to your mind. And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.
But you have a life too that you remember. It stays with you. You have lived a life in the breath and pulse and living light of the present, and your memories of it, remembered now, are of a different life in a different world and time. When you remember the past, you are not remembering it as it was. You are remembering it as it is. It is a vision or a dream, present with you in the present, alive with you in the only time you are alive.”
– Wendell Berry from Hannah Coulter
Lachelle has a love for writing and holistic health. MBA, 500RYT Yoga Instructor, founder of Ello Lifestyle and Ello Candle Co., Lachelle spends most of her time as a wife and mother to two daughters, looking for ways to optimize health, create an efficiently running home, embrace the chaos, and pursue those things that make life feel enchanted.