Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I'm at work. This is the view from my desk.
Notice- the pacifier on my desk. Coffee in a big cup because Mr. Sweet Head woke up alot last night. (Who am I kidding-- I drink a cup that big when he sleeps all night). A diaper on my couch, used and folded but hasn't made it to the trash yet. His pajamas, which yes- I brought him to work in and changed him here. A diaper bag and my purse on the floor. A TV to play Baby Einstein for my boy when he's bored. And a smokin' hot red sports car in the distance with a skilled driver at the wheel.
This is my life.
Before you get married and start your family, you have all kinds of ideas of what your morning view will be. It usually includes a giant mansion, shiny cars, cascading mountains, children who only wear clothes from the Gap, and a spouse who looks like he/she has never worked a day in his/her life except to pose for a magazine ad.
But, somewhere between high school graduation and the day you take a picture like the one I posted above, life happens. Reality sets in. We age, we wise, we season. Our faces become a little more wrinkled, our hair a tad grayer. We realize that mansion might actually be a one bedroom apartment, that shiny car a used mini-van... those Baby Gap kids clothed in hand-me-downs, and that guy we married with a few battlescars on him, himself. But the beauty of life- the very strength of it- is our ability to see a perspective that we choose to see.
I am all about choices. From the time we get up in the morning, until we lay our tired heads on our cold pillow cases at night, we make choices. What kind of coffee today? Red shoes or tan ones? Snap and scream or shut my mouth and walk away? Paper or plastic? From the mundane to the life-changing, choices are a part of our cognizance every day.
I know the routine of a stay-at-home-mom becomes old really quickly. Believe me- I get it. The first six months or so is one big ball of same ol' same ol'. Bottle. Diaper. Swaddle. Nap. Wake. Bottle. Diaper. Swaddle. Nap. Then, he turns 1, and your day is one big word NO. In the 2s, it becomes "Let's see how many questions we can answer in one day" time. The 3s, "We don't put your baby brother in a closet and shut the door" time. The 4s, "I have no idea where your cowboy boots are, so please stop crying about it" time. And so forth, and so on. It's hard to see past the phase you're in... it feels like it's your sentence until eternity comes. Right? Like, you'll never, ever sleep again when your newborn is waking up 32,786 times at night, or you'll never, ever be able to dress your three year old without her having a tantrum about the tag scratching her neck, even when she's 17. But the funny thing is, time passes. My dear friend Sam posted this quote the other day, and it's one of the truest things I have ever read... The days are long but the years are short. From the time your little one wakes until she goes to bed can feel like a snail crossing the continental USA... but from Christmas to Christmas feels like the snap of a finger.
When I looked across my office this morning and saw that little boy playing in his jumpy car, I paused for a second as my eyes took in the landscape made out of the trail of paraphernalia that comes with a baby. And for a second, I saw more than a baby jumping in a plastic vehicle. I am a little tired this morning... he was up more than usual last night. I'm a little crabby this morning... my eyes need a little more shut time. I'm a little hormonal this morning... I think my "friend" is coming to visit me soon. But past all that, I saw a man. The man that he will become. Somehow, in just a split second, we flew through infancy, elementary school, sports practices, field trips, sweaty smells, pizzas eaten, ceremonies attended... and I saw that this mundane moment is a building block in the person he will become. That the very hands that he's using to slowly grab that flashing toy attached to his jumpy car will be the very hands that will brush his wife's hair out of her eye as she delivers my grandchildren. There's more to the moment than just the moment. The moment is a step in his giant future.
As I write this, I'm acutely aware that just down the road from here, a friend I've never met in person is sitting in a waiting room while her infant daughter is undergoing her second brain surgery this week. (You can read Joss's story here) That just a few miles from where I sit, her view is much different from mine. Her daughter was left with half of a brain after surgeons skillfully removed the diseased half that was tormenting her with crippling seizures. This mama also buried her 14 year old son 7 short months ago. And while the view of her baby girl, all bandaged and swollen is heartbreaking and way less than her dream ever was for her eyes to behold, the view of her son is only in her memory bank. Yet this mama chooses to forage ahead, her eyes fixed on a perspective I pray none of us ever have to choose... a perspective that says one day, she will have her heart's desire met and hear her little girl say "Mama." And a perspective that says one day, far beyond these earthly bounds, she will touch her son again. And while I'm certain there have been and will be even more nights where she cries herself to sleep, she chooses her perspective with a grace and elegance I've never seen before.
Her perspective gives me back mine. That sleep deprivation and PMS are part of the natural ebb and flow of life. And they will pass.
What's your view today? It's more than what you're looking at.