The Every Day

March 1, 2014 in Children, Ramblings, storyboard by Emily

Today was my birthday. I like to think each year, that birthdays don’t really matter. It’s easy for me to downplay the day in every way I can until I feel simply depressed about myself!

I think a better challenge is to enjoy the day doing and enjoying everyday things – taking time to appreciate once more the little things that give life meaning. I appreciate seeing my child engrossed in a book; I love to see the happy-go-lucky antics of the 2 year old; I appreciate all the efforts my kids made to paint pictures for me and set all their gifts on the table for me to find when I came down in the morning; I love seeing the look of joy on my newly turned 5-year-old’s face as she rides her bike; I love my 7 year-old’s genuine-ness and sweetness as she reaches out to care about me or her sisters, or simply enjoys being silly; I love the look in my son’s eyes as he solves puzzles in math and other areas of life, cares for his animals or simply looks at me with all of that intensity and interest;  I love the genuine joy my husband has in pursuing a hobby, reading something interesting (and sharing those with me), building with legos, or simply looking at me with love and care. It is easier to let life overwhelm us with its trials and work, frustrating conversations, disappointments, fear of talking with people, or the constant needs of children.

Children challenge us to the very core: they have the same tendencies toward selfishness, anger, frustration, misunderstanding that we all do. Yet, they are real, and need from us: love above everything else. My sense of self has been continually challenged by my experiences of life. When I got married, I had to face my failures and imperfections (if we can call them that light of a word) with honesty, and open myself up and trust. When I began having children, they challenged me even more as I found in myself the tendency to be upset that they weren’t already mature, that they weren’t going to appreciate my efforts (at least in the temporary), but instead I needed to sacrifice myself and the desire for recompense for my efforts. I give and give and keep giving; love, love, and keep loving, expecting nothing in return! Nothing? The nothing I refer to is the verbal appreciation we’d all like. Kids don’t have that developed yet. Their appreciation is seen in their joy, their smiles, their intensity, their honesty, their earnestness, their sincerity.

So today I celebrate another year of opportunity; a year to be challenged to set aside fear of failure, forgive myself for failures, and take joy in a real life that is exploding with wonderful moments all around me.

(click photos to enlarge slideshow)