Did you get that letter I intended to write you?  Did you hear that voicemail I meant to leave on your phone?  Did you taste that meal I wanted to drop off to your family in your time of need?  No, you didn’t.  These days, I can’t seem to get anything done.  They say, “It’s the thought that matters.” Boy, I hope so because, for now, the thought is all I can seem to manage.

Let’s be real.  When it comes to personalities, I’m Type A all the way.  I feel secure when I have a schedule and know what to expect.  Without a plan, I feel chaotic.  And yet here I find myself, the mother of three young children, humbled by the unpredictability of each passing day.  I have learned to adapt out of sheer necessity for survival.  But it’s not in my comfort zone and it stretches me beyond my limit.

I’ll never forget the first time I was humbled in this way.  It was the summer after my 17th birthday.  I spent the month of July in Africa, living with a Ghanaian family, working in an orphanage.  I volunteered with the American Field Service (AFS).  I flew to Ghana with 28 other American teenagers I had just met for the first time, with expectations of “leaving my mark”.  I thought we would build schools.  I thought we would have something palpable to take pictures of- to illustrate the difference we made while we were there.  Halfway through the trip, I broke down.  All we did every single day was play with the orphans.  As much as we tried to teach, there were no books, very limited writing materials and zero structure.  So mostly we held the little ones, played sports with the older ones and sang songs with all of them.


It wasn’t until my last week that I realized our impact could not be seen, rather felt.  There was no building to photograph our completion of nor any test papers to illuminate the academic growth of our students.  How does one measure love? Kindness?  Empathy?  Only through thoughts and actions.


What I started to learn 16 years ago,  I continue to learn today.  Sometimes we cannot do it all.  Sometimes we cannot produce a product that can be seen, heard, or tasted.  Sometimes, it’s just the thought that counts.

And you know what?  Sometimes that’s enough.


*Embracing It*


It all came to head yesterday, when I broke down and cried on the floor at the end of an intense Stroller Strides workout.  My friends, my “people” flocked around me reassuring me that this too shall pass and it will get better.  And I know it will, I just needed to let it out.

These last couple of weeks have been rough, to say the least.  I’m going on 3 months of continuously interrupted sleep which has made it challenging to recover from this never-ending cold, all whilst tending to my three girls who are suffering the s10421589_10102647904929169_4173512135486756722_n.jpgame symptoms.

There’s never a day-off when it comes to parenting and lately, I’ve found myself daydreaming about weekends away with my husband; wishing these early years away so that my girls are old enough to be dropped off at a relative’s house.  Those who have traveled this path before me, remind me to cherish these days because one day, I will miss them.  I take that advice to heart, but it doesn’t necessarily help me to enjoy the daily temper tantrums.

I’ve been thinking;  I think I have fallen victim to allowing my children’s lives to dictate my own.  Anyone with a young child knows you don’t mess with nap time.  It is “the precious”, as Smeagol from The Lord of the Rings would say.  But when you have three children you are attempting to put down for a nap, your life suddenly becomes dictated by this “precious” nap time.  I have found myself canceling playdates with friends because we need to get back for nap, only to battle it out with my older girls, frequently ending in frustration on both of our parts- they don’t end up sleeping; instead, I end up expending precious energy trying to get them to sleep and in the end, we all lose.  These playdates involve my friends and it’s just as important for me to get some time to commiserate with a fellow parent as it is for my girls to interact with their friends.

So, after yesterday’s breakdown, I started today the way I try to begin every day- by turning over a new leaf and starting fresh. Today, I embraced the present.  I had the kids in the car by 8 a.m. and set off to visit some old friends in the neighborhood I grew up in and instead of trying to race home at 11:15, I stayed put.  I brought the kids to the park where I used to play and took them to lunch where I wanted to eat, as opposed to wherever offered chicken nuggets on the kids menu.

Afterwards, we peeked into a local gift shop where, at their delight, they picked out a new toy, followed by cupcakes for them, ice cream for me, and momma’s milk for Emma at the nearby Frozen Yogurt joint.  By the time I had them in the car a little after noon, they were all asleep within minutes.  In the past, I would have tried to either keep them awake or race home with a glimmer of hope that they would transfer (which has about a 2% success rate).  This time, I put the car in park in our garage, and took the opportunity to take a quick snooze myself.

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Today, I embraced it.  I dictated our day.  I did what wanted to do- what brought me (and them!) joy and no one had a tantrum.  I let go of what I may have been able to accomplish in the past when there were just 1 or 2 kids and embraced my life now with three.  I lived for today, rather than in fear of what tomorrow will bring for my girls with only a car nap under their belt.

Because, in the end, that’s all we really know we have for sure.  Today.  So while I will still allow myself to daydream of weekends away with my husband, I won’t wish these days away to get there.  I’ll embrace them, make the most of them, and yes, old souls, I will cherish them.