Given the title of this post, I think I should start by saying that in no way do I consider myself, in my vast 25 years of life, to possess any surplus of knowledge in any aspect of life. Nor do I consider myself in any position to be giving any sort of advice on any subject. I am simply writing this post so that in a few years I might be able to look back and maybe have a laugh, maybe shed a few tears, but most likely I will be able to discover how completely off the mark I was in my realizations of the world around me.
It is the growth I am looking to document. A way to tangibly see how my family and my mind have grown. How, despite the feelings we all have that we were, are and will always be the same person, we are in fact not. We move, we change, we progress, we digress and we are in constant flux. I want to see that. I want to document that. I want to remember the me that I was when I was in my 20s and I want my children to know who I was and where I grew from. So the following is what I know right now. I am not worldly, I am no scholar, but what I have learned so far has been a lesson in life, love and the Lord.
I know- That sprinkles and food colouring are tools that every mother should have in her bag ‘o tricks! When ensuring the proper intake of nutrients in your child’s diet, there is no better way to get that food down those yappers than a small dousing of your child’s favourite artificial colouring and a few multi-coloured sprinkles to taste. (note- chocolate, or monotone sprinkles may work in a pinch). I must confess, I have been known to add food colouring to yogourt, milk and apple sauce and sprinkles to toast, waffles and let’s be honest, meat and potatoes (don’t judge). Whomever it was that invented these household comforts, it is with adoration that I salute you.
I know- That there is a monumental difference between having fun and being happy. I spent much of my life confused in a mixed understanding of fun versus happiness. I often equated the moments of fun I enjoyed to mean that I was happy. But in reality, when that momentary “high” wore off and the fun was over, I was left with nothing but the chance to look forward again to the next time I could have fun in the moment. I found that when I gave up the various safety nets of substance induced fun I had put in place, I forced myself to find a way to be truly happy with the reality of life, not just the expectation of another fun time. I realized that what I thought was ‘giving up’ certain means for fun, was actually allowing me to gain a purity and cleanliness to my life that made enough room for me to learn how to have shameless and honourable fun. When I started to live my life in a way that honoured the importance of the true me, I allowed joy and happiness to enter into my life. I have recently realized that fun lingers but joy lasts, and it is joy with whom I wish to live.
I know- That the laughter of my children is the most beautiful sound in the world. A few days ago I was in a BAD mood. Like a downright fightin’, kickin’ and screamin’ kinda mood. I was getting ready to make lunch for the children and the kitchen was a mess, there were toys all over the room, Noah was whining for food NOW and I really had to pee. I was trying extremely hard to make absolutely no sound so that the angry stream of thoughts that was running through my head would not make its presence known. I was so close to setting the finished product of a cold hotdog, goldfish crackers, grapes and a cheese string on the table when Noah completely lost his sanity. He LOST it, like complete insanity. He was doing this thing where he screams REALLY loud then stops. You think just maybe he’s going to pull it together before you turn into, well him, and then he screams again. It’s horrible. You have to try to catch the break between screams in order to get a scolding in and if you miss it, you’re stuck for another torturous 15-20 seconds of scream. So I was timing my objection like a little girl waiting for the exact right moment to enter into a double dutch game when he coughed… and farted. And it was a big one. Possibly even a few decibels louder than his scream… THAT big. Abigail, not missing a beat, chimed in with a “you tooted”. Then, lo and behold, this screaming monster of a child looked at me, looked at Abby, looked behind himself at his bum and said, “That was a big one” then promptly erupted in laughter. Abby followed suit, Elias started laughing at the pure joy of having someone to laugh with and all of a sudden I no longer cared about the mess, the toys or the incessant screaming and whining. I still had to pee, but this moment of laughter was one of the most calming, relaxing and beautiful moments I can recall to this point. And it was all brought to us by the letter F… followed by the letters A, R, T. Laughter is beautiful and when it comes in the form of innocent peels of joy from your children, there is no messy kitchen out there that stands a chance.
I know- That I never really understood how much my parents loved their children until I saw them love my children. I grew up with amazing parents. I was loved, cared for, nurtured and guided. There was never a question in my home about where my parent’s loyalty belonged. It was with each other and with us. So when I say I never understood how much my parents loved us, I do not mean that I didn’t understand that I was loved. I knew their love existed, but it was the extent of their love I did not understand. It wasn’t until recently, as I have been fortunate enough to witness the relationship my children share with their grandparents (and I speak not only of my parents but of my parents-in-law as well) that I have made the undeniable connection between the love that flows from parent, to child to grandchild. Love is wonderful that way. It leaves no gaps. You cannot love a child without love for the reason they exist. It is such a divine and intricate plan. How amazingly circular the love of family is. I have gained so much insight into who my parents are, and why they are who they are from simply birthing three wonderful children for them to love. What a great means by which to understand more fully the love I receive from the ones who gave me life.
I know- That love’s memory is clearer than pain’s. I think that in each of our lives when we come to our final days there will be an overlying tone to our whole life. One strong emotion that has taken hold of the course our life runs. At this 25 year mark in my life one clear tone is evident to me and that tone is love. I have had so much love given, and I have had no shortage of people with which to give of my own. Of course, I have had trials. I have failed horribly and have been failed at times. Although the memory and pain of my mistakes can still sting, none has stung long enough or hard enough to overwhelm to memory of the love I have experienced. I know it will serve me well to remember this. To remember through any future trials, that, at the risk of sounding cliché, “this too shall pass”. That when all is said and done, love will carry me further and longer than pain ever could. Let not the memory of pain overshadow the light love, for it is in love that we live and in pain that we perish.
I know- That striving for a marriage built on a foundation of mutual love and respect is neither outdated nor impossible. We are bombarded with the expectation that everything we build will eventually fall. That nothing can be made strong enough to withstand rising divorce rates, diminishing family values and impending marital failure. The reality of these expectations hit me like a ton of bricks one day when Abigail was playing with a friend. She was playing house and she wanted to play husband and wife and the husband and wife were going to share a room. Her friend then told her that her mom and dad didn’t share a room because her daddy didn’t live with them. It made me so sad to hear a small child so accustomed to a reality that I could tell truly hurt. I know that it’s ok and normal to fail, that ‘falling out of love’ has become a real reason to stop trying but I also know that there is a higher standard that we are meant to hold ourselves to. I have found that standard reciprocated in the love my husband has for me and each day I thank the Lord that I have been lucky enough to find a man who encourages a steady course towards a long and happy marriage. Marriage IS important and extremely sacred and I am so thankful for the examples of marriage Mike and I have in our life. Thank you to our parents for being a steadfast example to us. It is upon your example that we build the foundation of our relationship. And it is through your example that we have learned to build with bricks and mortar, to nurture and maintain with highest priority the commitments we have made to each other.
On the Lord:
I know- That a testimony of the Lord can make you a better person, make your life better and make your family stronger. It wasn’t until I began to search my life for meaning and contemplate my true purpose that I realized that the Bible holds in it a standard of living that makes much more sense than the worldly standard. When I was able to humble myself to the knowledge of a higher power than me, and accept that despite my firm belief that I ultimately control the world, I may actually not be the one in supreme control, I was able to search, pray and ponder the existence of God. I found Him quietly one night on my knees in an empty room. He didn’t speak, He just listened. He offered a peace that I had been unknowingly searching for and wrapped me softly into His fold. I am nothing close to perfect, but I do honestly feel that since I have come to know and love the Lord, I am a better person. I am a kinder and more loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. I view my family and the sanctity that holds in a fresher and clearer light and I am peacefully working towards being a little better than yesterday.
I know- That Jesus is the Christ and that the beautiful, tranquil feeling that overwhelms us at Christmas time is the Lord’s assurance to us that Jesus is the road through which we can feel that feeling all year long. I look forward with an open heart to raising my children by the example that Jesus Christ set. I am thankful each day that we have been given the gift of a perfect example. I celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus, with the fondness and love that I feel towards my children on their respective birthdays and that is because Jesus is the Christ.
This is the final week before Christmas, and although I have been saying it all month long, I hope you all have a wonderfully Merry Christmas!! May you enjoy each day and find love and joy in all you do!
Love from the Willmotts