Any of you who have been following me on social media, reading my emails, or listening to the Our Weekly Chat podcast over the past six months will know that we've had some really high-highs and some extremely low-lows as a family. And this year just keeps on giving!
Ignore all the craziness in the world at large and let's just recap my own family trials: entering the teenage years (my kids, not me), hormonal changes (again...my kids, thankfully), insane allergic reactions (that one's me, unfortunately), no income for a few months, children choosing to deal with said changes in ways that have pushed our patience and anger management skills to the max, dealing with frustration and grief of lost relationships, lost time, lost efficiency, lost expectations, lost control - so many stabilizing losses.
And yet. Tonight, I sat in the mess (literally and figuratively...I didn't have the energy to round the kids up for a tidy before Sunday like we normally do) and had an incredibly soul-filling night. We kept our family movie night date and watched a fun, heart-warming Disney movie. We laughed and snuggled, and the kids made fun of me when I cried...as usual on both counts. Then we came upstairs, and the younger kids insisted on snacks before bedtime while our oldest kept trying to get our attention to mouth the words "Can I watch another movie with just you after they go to bed? It might be too scary for Mom..."
Scott and I ran from kids to cupboards to fridge and back. When the little kids finally went up to bed, Landon started playing my favorite song from Dear, Evan Hansen as I became acutely aware of the fact that our house was running a fever (we'd turned the heat on during the cold snap and didn't ever flip back to A/C...oh, Colorado weather!).
I quickly opened a few windows to get a breeze, and as I slid the back window open, I had to stop. Gorgeous, legato arpeggios sounded behind me as Scott sang along in the kitchen, and in front of me was a cool breeze, patio lights twinkling on their loops around the branches of our magical wisteria tree, and three bright stars shone in the dark sky. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this beautiful mess. My beautiful mess. For the privilege of living each day and loving these complex, wonderful, and sometimes infuriating humans. For the joy that follows every heartbreak, and the healing that happens after every hurt.
I whispered a prayer of gratitude in that moment and stretched it as long as I could before Brooke was begging me to do yoga with her before bed, and Rhys needed me to find him a sleep meditation to help with his worries. I talked with each kid before bed--snuggled, hugged, and kissed them (not Landon yet, he's downstairs watching a movie with Scott that is, indeed, too scary for me)--and now I'm sitting on my couch. In awe. That there are many nights I miss this. There are many nights when I'm too worn out, too worried about the dirty dishes, this child's poor choices, the deadlines I missed, or the project I didn't get to.
And that's just fine, too. I'm PART of this beautiful mess. I'm allowed to be imperfect, to miss things, to forget to pay attention to what matters most. But then when I don't miss it? When I'm miraculously blessed with vision and perspective beyond my own? Moments like tonight fill me and inspire me to push forward--to wake up and try again--and to step back and admire this thing we're building more often.
If you're in the "too everything" version of tonight, I promise you: the stare-at-the-stars-laugh-cry-and-feel-joy version is coming for you soon. It always does, eventually. So keep your head up. Remind yourself how wonderful it is that you haven't gotten everything right yet--how fun it's going to be to keep figuring it out with all the rest of us who don't know the answers either. Sleep. And make another beautiful mess tomorrow.