I think the number one thing I can do to love myself is learning to accept. Accept what? Everything.
It's been really exciting to see the little lessons life has been throwing at me the past few days. Today in particular, I've been having some shocking moments of clarity.
I've always loved the Autumn. But since having kids it's been hard to enjoy it much. Actually in general, I feel like I've spent a lot of time feeling miserable. As the 4th out of five kids I've always known what "not getting what I want" feels like. I tend to have high ideals, and things have really never lived up to my expectations. I'm used to it. The only exception, marriage. That has surpassed my expectations. Not in a "this has all been so easy and beautiful" sense. Because if you have ever read my rants on how perfect our first few years of marriage weren't: cancer, death, grief, drunk and prostituting neighbor from hell. And that was just our first year!- well you'd know it hasn't been all rainbows and sprinkles. But marriage has been, different. It doesn't fit and fill all. But it is the truest comfort. Just having some one-Ryan- is...Words fail me...Like life has come full circle. That's all. As long as I can remember he has always been the only human who has known me best.
Anyway, back to clarity. Parenthood has been like a cold splash in the face. Some days more chilling than others. I want to accept, but so often I've dug in my heels and said WHY me? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to take for granted these sweet healthy and beautiful gifts I've been given. But babies and parenthood were bigger and more encompassing than I ever dreamed. I thought babies slept more and cried less (especially Roo, she truly only slept 11-12 hours a day from 4mos on, despite my best efforts she was perpetually over-tired.)
Mommiehood has absolutely been my lesson that life is never ideal. But that has left me pretty miserable. It's been a hard adjustment, earth shaking. The constant need, interruptions (of sleep, work and anything else I'd like to accomplish), disruptions and always changingness of it all has left me exhausted and butting against this season of my life. It'll be over soon, right?
Today we were enjoying an almost idealic morning. A $3 date at a cafe, fun grocery shopping (seriously the girls love it), and a walk at the park...Laying in the grass watching clouds...Chase...putting flowers in our hair (okay, old dandelion stumps: 2 year olds find beauty in everything), inspecting leaves, watching squirrels in the trees. It was perfect. And then Friendly got tired, I mean she was tired from being up half the night screaming. But you know, she hit that point. And it seems there is some rule that if one crumbles all must fall, so Roo joined in. I was 3/4's of a mile from the car:not a little walk, not a lot of fun.
As I strapped two screaming children back into the stroller I realized that this is par the course...I can butt it forever. But that's not going to change. So I took a breath and looked up at the oak trees rustling against the November sky. I memorized them. It's time to start capturing some moments. CLICK: I'll want this some day. And then I took Friendly out, strapped her on my back, unbuckled Roo and said she could walk or ride, but we were heading out. There were still some tears but instead of feeling sucked in, and feeling sucked dry I just, breathed. What ever. We walked by the Marsh grass and I could hear the wind singing through the reeds, I don't think I've ever heard that sound in real life before. I felt Friendlys warm little body on my back.
This moment is what it is...Time to start enjoying them.
I know it sounds all Corny and cliche: but this is it. I get one shot at this life and I can spend my 20's and 30's frustrated, drained and disgruntled from lack of sleep and me time. Or I can choose to love myself, to love that this is my life and it is what it is. Not that I will always be able to be so practical in some harder moments...but I hope I can keep that before me.
"Loving Thyself" is found partly in acceptance. This is what it is, what are you going to do with it?