Thursday, March 19, 2015

Finding a Worm

Today through Blanche's eyes I was reminded of the beauty of life when it is seen so simply. I have written before about trying to simplify our days and schedule. Allowing us to just be. Sometimes though "just being" with two small children can be a bit mind numbing. There are lots of requests and demands and cries and needs. It can often feel like we aren't being anymore. We are all just in misery together. And for some reason isolating ourselves in the house. This of course is not all the time, but I think I know this feeling in the back of mind, so when Andrew is working I try and plan some small thing. Maybe we have a friend over a couple of times a week, or go to the library or meet outside with our neighbors to play. This afternoon as we were walking out the door to the library and target, I couldn't find my keys, and I remembered they were still in the van. Andrew was working until nine tonight, and he had the extra set. This made me feel a little trapped. Blanche was sad about not getting to go to the library. Thankfully, my brother was home and didn't mind a drive through the hill country to Whole Foods to pick up some groceries and get the extra set of keys. But by the time he had returned the girls and I had been playing outside for a couple of hours. We had been riding bikes and having wagon rides. Everyone was clearly burnt out and Rosemary was very ready for a nap. We simply had missed our getting out window. Because after nap it would be dinner and the evening routine.

Even though this is a very small thing, it left me feeling like our day was messed up somehow. And as I started thinking about this, I realized once again how heavily I rely on my own expectations. I am so thrown off when my expectations change drastically. This probably makes it pretty easy to have some bad days as a mom. Because a mother hardly ever knows what a day will look like.

After Rosemary went down for her nap, Blanche (who had been having a huge meltdown and was now in her underwear) wanted to go out to the patio to color. I told her I would bring my tea and cupcake outside to join her in just a few minutes. There are days when the afternoons can be really hard for Blanche. She is so similar to me in so many ways. She is not a huge napper, though she does really need one occasionally. But I do find she sleeps so much better at night without a long afternoon nap. She mostly just needs time to breathe, like me. But it is hard to teach her what that really looks like. Often it is me telling her to lay beside me while I nurse Rosemary. Blanche cries and screams saying she doesn't want to lay down (she only does this for naps). But eventually she wears herself out enough to crawl up next to me and tell me to hold her and tell her stories. I have been telling her stories about animals that talk to her and Rosemary or her good friend Sloane. One story she loved was where her and Sloane went outside while it was raining candy one day. And they turned their umbrella's upside down and caught as much as they could.

After stories today, while she was being sweet on the patio, she asked if she could put some of the dirt from our extra dirt pile by our patio onto her play table. I said yes. But to try and keep it on her table so we could clean it up easily if Rosemary woke up. As Blanche was playing she pulled up a dead plant. And inside the roots of the dead flowers she found one little worm. I was amazed at the love and care she had for that little worm. Almost all of the pictures above are her honest reaction to the worm. She hardly noticed that I was there snapping away. She moved that little worm to the lavender pot. She played and was in awe for probably twenty minutes with just this one little worm. It was a beautiful thing to me. The first reason was because for every terrible three year old moment, there seems to be a redeeming one. She is growing into a little girl with opinions and passion. She is no longer a baby playing games, she is a child learning and soaking in so much of the world around her. It also reminded me that we don't have to live on a farm for Blanche to experience nature. Nature is all around us if we stop long enough to look. I never would have seen that dirty and hidden little worm.

After thinking about how much life and happiness we have experienced on our small little apartment patio, I started thinking about life in general. As a parent I want the best for my children. And sometimes that means I try and give them everything. And tonight I was reminded that my children don't need everything. They need very little. My dreams as a young adult were to live on little and to live a simple life. Sometimes in the passion of providing for our family, I know it is easy for Andrew and I to wish and think we need a nice big plot of land. One day we will have a back yard and it will be beautiful. But I think it's okay that it won't be this year. And probably not next year either.

My mind kept racing as I was alone with girls tonight. Preparing a simple dinner but in my mind dreaming of getting rid of everything and living in an RV until we one day parked it on a plot of land. My mind and heart racing to the extremes. If Blanche and I had a meaningful experience with a worm than that must mean we should get rid of everything and just go live on the road, one experience at a time. Actually, I would love to do that... but this is probably not the season. All these thoughts did make me think more about some of the things Andrew and I have been wanting to do for a long time, and have started talking about again.

We talk about camping and being out in the state parks and living outside... but so often our life just takes control and we are just hanging on. But as I woke and walked over to the kitchen table this morning, I saw Andrew with a booklet we had just picked up a couple of days ago about Texas state parks. He was drinking coffee and excited and making plans to start seeing these state parks. So much of the time life can seem too tiring in this stage to go do those things. Really to even travel to see family as well. But I think we are both realizing that we are just going to have to do it. Because if we don't maybe it will never happen. Life is tiring and crazy even when we don't leave the house... why not just take this crazy show on the road more. At least at the end of the day or the trip we will have memories or sunburns and be filled with the happiness of the wild or family or whatever it is we are driving towards. Sure we have to make money and be parents... but we can make what we want to of these years.

Maybe this post is weird because I am rambling about a worm and simplicity and then driving all over Texas. But I think what I am really trying to process is that a lot of lessons need to be learned, and then there are a handful of lessons I need to unlearn. I need to let go of so much of the extra... and let myself be free to enjoy the simplicity of having my beautiful small children... that really need so little. A worm can be a great companion. Once again I don't have to put on an extraordinary show of excitement for each day. And maybe if I do let go of those extra parenting worries... I can save my energy for bigger things like camping and seeing family that live far away.

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