I have learned some important lessons during the past year. I thought I would pass some along. Maybe you might find a nugget of truth here for yourself.
- Organization isn't just for nerds. (This one takes courage to admit.) Falling in love with the label maker over the summer lead to a super organized teaching binder this fall. (Thanks, Heather, for the inspiration.) I'm even (gasp!) planning a weekly menu and mostly sticking with it. I have meals in the freezer and a schedule for laundry. Surprisingly, I don't feel stifled. I feel liberated!
- Deep breathing helps in moments of crisis. No, really. Not just metaphorically. Literal deep breathing. This is something we have taught the boys for moments of dysregulation, but it has worked for me as well. Sometimes I sneak away to the nasty utility room in the basement where I spend a few moments in silence doing some deep breathing and positive thinking. It works (until I notice the mountain of laundry begging to be folded or the Leaning Tower of Cardboard waiting to be recycled.)
- Throw all expectations out the window. This doesn't just apply to birthdays, but for me, it REALLY applies to birthdays. Last year I spent my birthday at the children's hospital for Jude's MRI. This year I was working all day and bought my own cake from the local grocery store. No matter how it is celebrated, I'm another year older. I might as well dig deep and find some joy. Because really?
- Comparison really IS the thief of joy. So we will never take a photo that resembles a J.Crew ad. I will never have a house featured on HGTV, and my blog will never reach a million pageviews. And I'm okay with that. Contentment is a choice, and if I compare myself and our family to the perfection that I see, well, everywhere, we'll never add up. And life is too short to walk around commiserating because we're not beautiful, smart, or witty enough. Because you know what? "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!"
- Being a mom is pretty spectacular. Tonight after dinner the boys began an impromptu round of "Happy birthday" featuring hysterical giggles and dance moves. They share my affinity for chocolate cake, the Beatles, and the minions from Despicable Me. They challenge me, stretch me, and love me. Birthdays before this maybe were more exciting in terms of worldly culture, but they definitely weren't this full.
- Marrying Chris was one of my finer moments. (And I've had a lot!) Today he brought me Jimmy Johns for lunch at work and gave me a beautiful pair of earrings. He listens as I mumble incoherent sentences at 5 a.m. when the boys are tattling in their bedroom, and he mixes a delicious gin and tonic. He's an encourager and a giver and a believer. He's what I need.
- Wine. Nothing else. Just wine.
So here's to another year of yelling and laughing and teaching and learning and hugging and crying and stretching and growing and.