As I look at my daughter in her brother’s hand me down Buzz Lightyear T-shirt, her punk plaid skinny pants, and super poof grey mini tutu; with hair she hasn’t let me brush since yesterday and a wild look in her eye like she’s about to take over the world. I think to myself: “is this my life? How did I get to this amazing place? How did I not notice all my dreams coming true?”
My husband and I spent last Friday evening assembling a bunk bed for the older boys and I realized, however briefly, that I had envisioned this forever ago. I look around on social media and I see all of these perfect pictures of made-up moms (that is, moms with makeup on, hair done, coordinating outfits, shoes that match, you know the type.) on vacation somewhere amazing, with perfect kids that probably sing “So Long, Farewell” at bedtime every night. I look at my own kids through that lens more often than I like to admit. The average decibel level in my house is probably something akin to an airfield, and even after my husband spent days getting the house ready for realtors (stress for another day) it probably stayed clean for most of a day. I got our business to a point where my husband left his job to work with me and help this grow. We’re insanely busy for a few weeks, and then, crickets. It’s like things are working, or on the verge of working the way I envision them to, but I’ve not yet overcome challenges that others don’t seem to have. Almost perfect, but not quite. But then, maybe (most likely) I’m focusing on the wrong things.
People aren’t going to take you behind the scenes. One of my husband’s friends just finished remodeling his kitchen, along the way, he posted updates on Facebook, while remodeling was clearly underway, each photo showcased a completed portion of the work. You see clean counter tops, shiny new tile, and back splash. What you don’t see are grout messes, stained clothes, and drying spackle about the face and arms. What you’re told to focus on is this one moment in time, never mind how it came to be. But then people also say that any trip is about the journey, not the destination.
Amid the chaos, the mess, the tantrums, and the frustration, is this perfection. I feel like I don’t get to experience enough, to breathe deep, savor and enjoy. How is that? I make all of these things for other people’s kids, and feel like I never have time for my own. How am I constantly within an arms reach of my children but feel like I’m missing out on spending any time with them? Now that I am spending all my time with my husband why do I feel we’re less connected? We get so focused on things beyond our control that those things find a way to dominate our daily life. He gets stressed out and shuts down, and I panic to the point that takes my hypotheticals way too far. I’ve created an opportunity where there was none. As my husband says, I’ve taken a lifelong hobby and turned it into a profitable business. I have all the time right now, with my family, and not everyone gets that. I told him that we have all the tools, and a plan to make what we want out of this, but we need to get out of our heads sometimes, instead of dwelling on what’s missing, we celebrate what we have. Instead of being envious of someone else’s success, we should look for ways to make our own. Is the destination important? I think maybe insofar as it should be more of a milestone. I mean, if the journey is really more important, then why should it end when you get somewhere? Who says there can be only one destination?