Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Setting The Example

There are days when I feel like nothing I am doing is enough: I can never fulfill my
own impossible expectations for myself.  Am I spending enough time with my girls,
stimulating them, inspiring them, showing them enough love?  As the days stretch ahead
of us, the week seems like one long balancing act.  Am I caring for my husband with
patience and love, lifting his spirits and reassuring him that the load he can no longer
carry is safe and sound on my shoulders?  Some days, I feel like all we do is talk about
bills and chores and logistics.  Am I taking care of my home and maintaining the scared
space that nurtures all of our souls, serving as the foundation for which we all feel
grounded?  Lately, when I look around, all I see are little corners begging for my attention
to clean and organize.  And so it goes: my own personal internal battle waging on with
fierce intensity, shaking me to my core as I wonder whether or not I can give enough love
and attention to those who so surely deserve it.
Let's face it: as women, we very rarely hear the words, "thank you".  We are not
often recognized for the efforts we so willingly put forth, the daily workings of our world
lost in the precious harmony of family life.  But, just as I think that no one is watching,
that I am not enough, that I am always slipping behind in my multiple roles, someone
surprises me.
On Saturday, stuck indoors during a thunderstorm, our family gathered in the kitchen for
a pizza dinner.  As I zipped around the kitchen, filling drinks, grabbing napkins,
and replenishing plates, Shawn called us all together to say grace.  We bowed our heads
and listened as Daddy led us all in prayer as he does before every meal.  My attention
shifted as I heard him laugh and I looked up just in time to see Brees saying her very
own prayer: hands clasped together, head bowed, and a smile beaming across her face
as big and bright as the sun.  As Shawn said his final words, laughter still on his lips, Brees
let out a loud "Thank you!!!" and finished up our prayer.  
Our little baby girl, so innocent and full of love and light, had learned something
new, something we never intentionally taught her.  She learned simply by watching us in
our day to day lives, she learned by observing the example we have set for her.  For all
the times I feel like I have failed, moments such as these remind me that we just might be
doing something right after all.  There will always be instances of failure, places in our
lives where we will be lacking, but those are just speed bumps along the way.  The real
moments to hold onto are the moments when my family inadvertently tells me thank you,
when they show me through their own actions that all of my hard work is
actually accomplishing something.  Those moments keep me going, pull me from my
slump, and make me sing Amen.  Those moments remind me that working hard and
putting good energy out into the universe does not go unnoticed.   

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

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Sara said...

Your good energy could certainly never go unnoticed. You live your life with such grace and love and I think that makes all the difference in the world and in the lives you touch.

Jessica said...

Awww that is so sweet. :) I love that quote and that picture just melts my heart!

Ashley said...

Love this post, this is going through many of us as we try to do the best at EVERYTHING. No matter what the situation is, you are doing exactly what God intended and your blessings are there to show for it. 'Thank you' for being such a sweet and devoted mother and wife to your family. Little Brees was smart to show you a sign to motivate you :)

Vanessa said...

I love this. I don't have nearly the load on my shoulders as you do right now, but I still have those nagging feelings of not doing enough, not being enough for my family. When a week goes by and I feel like H and I have done little more than say hi in the evening as we cross paths (me coming home from work, H heading to bed) and take care of logistics. And the bills. They never stop!

And in the mornings I stumble around the kitchen, eyes half closed and mind in a zombie state, making breakfast for Alexa and sometimes cooking lunches, packing them, getting us dressed and out the door. Sometimes it feels like I don't spend a real moment of quality time with anyone until the weekend.

Anyway, I just wanted to say "thank you" for this post. It puts things in perspective.

Kate said...

I needed to hear this post, and you wrote it so beautifully. It seems many of us are all similarly feeling the long for a "thank you", (I know I am!) and it's just so nice to even know someone else in the world might be feeling the same way. :)

Caitlin A. said...

This is just lovely Olivia. Your children will grow up to be just as awesome as you and Shawn, I am sure!

Marie said...

How sweet she is! I am happy I can comment again Liv, for whatever reason I could not before, so I was reading you without being able to send you all my love.
Some say children are our best teachers.
I know this feeling of not giving enough, not doing enough but I think you are doing quite well friend. Brees just proved it to you.