When I was a kid I was often mouthy, devious and downright naughty. My behavior earned me many a spanking, time out and mouth full of soap. Shocking I know, and I hope you don’t write me off completely for being devious little girl. My Mom and I were constantly butting heads so it was typical that I was grounded from something. In the fourth grade I did something wrong, I couldn’t tell you what, and as punishment my parents too me out of the 4H sewing class I was supposed to take with my cousin Amanda. This was a very effective punishment and I was downright crushed. Amanda went on to sew quite well and to this day I am still a bit intimidated by sewing machines.
One of the things that kept me determined to learn to sew was the determination to make great Halloween costumes for my future kids. I love creativity, dress-up and imagination so I wanted to have the mad stitching skills that could turn my children’s Halloween dreams into reality. My friend Hannah (who just illustrated this book which you should totally go buy right now) and I were chatting the other night and she commented that dressing your kids up for Halloween is a big Mom perk that we all look forward to. This is true, when you are in the span between wanting children and having them you spent part of your Octobers plotting the Halloween costumes your kids will show off someday.
Fast forward to this past week which found me sewing two adorable owl costumes for my son and daughter. I not only have two fabulous children but I now possess the rudimentary sewing skills to make their (or my?) halloween dreams a reality. So guess how I felt as I sewed row after row of fleecy feathers onto their costumes? If you guessed contentment and pride you would be way off. I was stressed, pissy and a bit resentful. My halloween dreams had been gift wrapped for me and I was anything but grateful.
At the tail end of costume making It struck me that I was in the place I had dreamed of finding. And instead of being grateful, I was miserable. And my misery was absolutely 100% my choice. I realized that often, really often, we complain about the things and people we claim to be the most thankful for. I probably spend more time complaining about motherhood than I do savoring it. And I confess that I may have more negative thoughts about my husband than positive ones. Why is it so hard to feel joy when you find yourself exactly where you always wanted to be?
I guess my only answer to this is that our human nature is geared to a lack of contentment and a whiney attitude. We have to chose to learn the behavior of seeing joy and finding contentment in the nitty gritty every day stuff. Honestly I am finishing up a crappy week full of failures, slander, anger, frustration and sickness and I’m worn thin because of it. It would be very easy to let this past week define my day. But I have to make the choice to realize that even though my daughter got me up at 5:30, I still woke up in a dream come true. I am married to a top-tier guy who seeks God with a huge heart for serving others. I have a beautiful daughter with ringlet curls and I get to experience the world for the first time all over again through her eyes. I have a fuzzy haired, blue eyed baby boy who is convinced that the sun rises and sets on my every movement, sure he is determined to chew on any power cord in sight, but still he is a gift.
So instead of feeling like I am stuck spending my Halloween parties chasing and feeding two fuzzy owls, I choose to be happy that I get to chase and feed my owls, along side my studly husband (who dressed up like the tree the owls nest in)
This isn’t an easy attitude to keep, it will try to escape every day, it is prone to wander, but it is an attitude that will change everything and it is an extremely worthwhile pursuit.