Sunday, 25 January 2015

Whoever said the days are long?

Whoever said the days are long?

(Oh yes, I did, once or twice or probably a lot.)

They don't feel long anymore. These days I'm holding on tight, and when I'm not holding on, I'm reaching to catch up. Where do the hours go?

Every day the baby looks older, the toddler jabbers on more clearly, the little boy learns more, and the bigger boy asks more. We moved the boys into bunk beds this weekend, and my (oft-neglected) craft room has been turned into a bedroom for baby girl. We're back down to just three in our bedroom now, the smallest baby and the husband and I, and I already miss hearing her light snores. But now she's in big-girl underwear and a big-girl bed in her own big-girl room and I guess it's time I stopped calling her baby girl?

No. She's still my baby. They all are.

I know why the days are slipping away like this. It's because of this death grip I have on them. Wait. Slow down. I need more time. I need more moments. I need more memories. It's all going by too quickly. I'm missing it, mourning its passing, even as it happens.

Relax. I tell myself again and again but I can't seem to let go of that frantic feeling. They're growing up and I make too many mistakes and I'm tired and there's so much to do and even more that I want to do and so much I never get around to and I need to get off this hamster wheel.

I know what I need to do. I know it demands surrender instead of control, calm rather than panic, intention rather that reaction - oh yes, and probably an earlier bedtime, as sad as that makes my introverted self.

I know what I need because there are moments when I feel it, moments when I actually get it right. It happens when I watch the baby fall asleep, when I say yes to a request for a bedtime snuggle, when I get outside and breathe the crisp air, when I run or laugh or look someone in the eye, when I turn off the light on another day and feel satisfied...

...when I celebrate this moment instead of grieving its passing.

This is my daily practice, today and tomorrow and the day after that, every day, trying again and again to enjoy the passing hours instead of clutching them in my fist in an attempt to hoard what will inevitably pass by.

Relax, laugh, celebrate, and enjoy.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Be A Good Recipient

"No, really, let me. I don't mind. It's no trouble at all. I'll take care of it."

I was brushing off yet another offer. It's what I do. Blame my Canadian nature or my shy personality or my reluctance to cause anyone the least bit of inconvenience in my behalf - whatever the cause, I am much better at turning down an offer than I am at accepting one.

This time, though, I wasn't going to get away with it quite so easily.

"Cynthia, I want to do this for you. I want to serve you in this way. I want to bless you. Please. Now be a good recipient."

Be a good recipient. If there's one thing I'm not, it's that. No really, I'm fine, it's okay, don't worry about it. I can handle it. Don't go to any bother on my behalf. How many times have I answered this way, brushing off one offer or another in my determination not to...what? Not to inconvenience anyone? Not to act as though I am worthy of what is being offered to me? Or is it really disguised pride, a reluctance to appear in need of anything, always the giver rather than the receiver?

But with those words - "be a good recipient" - I heard the heart behind them and I relented. I accepted the offer. I let go of my worry and relaxed. And it was Good. It truly was a blessing.

I needed those words to remind me that by declining every offer, I deny others the opportunity to bless and serve in the way they feel best willing and able. They are offering me this blessing, this act of love, and I am refusing it. I doubt the sincerity of their offer and thereby call them liars. I doubt my worth in receiving such a gift and thereby prevent others from showing their love for me. We both miss out.

I've been trying to say yes more often since hearing those words. I've been trying to be a good recipient. So far, perhaps to no one's surprise but my own, it has been a beautiful thing.

Maybe you need such a reminder as well? Allow others to bless you, to serve you, to be a help or a comfort to you. Accept the love that is being offered to you. Be a good recipient.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

New year, old me

I love the feel of the new year's blank slate as much as the next person. New words, new goals, new hopes and plans, it's just all so shiny and new.

I used to plunge into the new year certain that my mere resolve would make me into a new person, every thought and action purposeful and exact. I'd get it all right this time. That usually lasted about until the minute I had to wake up from my warm cozy bed on New Year's Day. I'm not very good at resolving to be a better person.

Last year I simply chose to go forward into the new year, each step brave and difficult and enough for the moment. I went forward through that year and marveled at all the good and lovely things that happened, from our New Year's Day discovery of a little stowaway, through a Lent of gratitude, beyond a busy summer, past catching that same little stowaway as he arrived into this world, all the way to December and our first Christmas spent at home instead of travelling. It was a very healing year.

This year feels like a year in which to be Fearless. Less worry, more life, that's what this year needs. But I've lived through enough new years to know it's not going to be as simple as that.

Because it all boils down to habits, doesn't it? One thing at a time, slowly, deliberately, it's the most likely way to craft a change that will last.

And so this fearless year is going to start with one simple thing, a morning alarm. These four lovely noisy children have long been my alarm, but somehow I sense that this season needs a change in that regard. A real alarm, a dedicated Time To Get Up, a way to start the day a little less abruptly and a little more purposefully, that's what this season needs.

It's a new year, yes, but let's not try to reinvent ourselves completely. We're still the same people we were a week ago, two weeks ago. A new year does not a new person make - but it can be a nice start to a new habit. One thing, however seemingly small, is another step on this continual turning toward Better.

New year, old me, new habit.

Do you have a word or a hope for 2015? Is there a new habit are you currently working on? What are you looking forward to this year?