From Josh: Friends, today is special. Today, you get Katie’s first post on the Happy Family Movement. And it’s a GOOD one. Katie has a way of words and lives such a care-free life that you can’t help but soak up her joy. I’m now turning it over to Katie. Let’s leave her some love if you love her words…and when you’re done, head on over to her site, With a Love Like That. I guarantee it’ll spark something inside no matter how your day is going….
Would you like more best moments in your life? What if you imagined for a moment that you didn’t need to go create them…that they are actually hiding in every moment waiting to be discovered. In this moment…and this moment…and this one. Every moment. It’s the world’s best game of hide and seek, but as we’ve grown up, we’ve become not-so-great seekers.
I started thinking about this a lot because I have an 11 month old baby who is the most amazing little being…and she has the hardest time sleeping. This is really the first time I’ve admitted it. In the first weeks and months of her life she would only sleep on my chest…I was so smitten that I thought nothing of it…I piled pillows around me and enjoyed the way she snuggled into my chest, our hearts beating almost as close together as they always had, and as she probably imagined they always would. I was so in love I didn’t even need real sleep.
But as the months went on and the lack of sleep increased (isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?) I would find myself in her room at all hours of the night, leaning over her crib in this way that managed to light my back on fire and put both of my arms to sleep at the same time (who designs these things so you can’t fit your hand through the rails to pat their little backs? Oh I tried so hard but my wrist just wouldn’t twist in there!). Or I would be rocking her in my arms, wondering how long I had before my arms would give out completely (p.s. you are so much stronger than you imagine, when you need to be). And in these moments, when I so badly wanted to just lay down on the hardwood floor and curl into a ball and sleep…in these moments, I said to myself, “This is exactly where I want to be.”
And like magic what was in one second a really, really challenging moment would become one of the best moments of my life. Like magic, because it is magic. We are magical. We have that power in every moment. Night after night, it would surprise me again and again, when I would finally remember to tell myself, “I choose this. This is exactly where I want to be,” and my heart would flood with love and this bottomless strength that made every moment worth it. I would instantly stop feeling bad for myself/frustrated/complainy-pants and know that I was giving this little baby exactly the kind of love she needed. And that filled me with joy. I’m not saying I was never tired again, happy ever after – but I am saying that I got to have more best moments in my life…and I got to trade in particularly challenging ones for them, which is pretty cool, especially as I had mostly thought that best moments were more likely to happen when all the right things align.
So then one day while doing the dishes, which is not my favorite activity,v I asked myself why I don’t say that more often…In the middle of scrubbing the bottom of that blackened pan that you leave for last and soak extra long hoping it will just take care of itself…with sore arms from holding my baby so long through the night…I tell myself, “This is exactly where I want to be.” And suddenly I’m out of my thoughts about what a pain @** this job is and I can hear my music playing and I just start dancing a little bit, and I notice the sun is setting through the trees and I appreciate that I have this big window over my sink that lets me see the woods…and nice warm water that I didn’t have to fetch from the river out back and boil over a fire I had to build myself out of logs I had to chop down…which then led me to think that I better start appreciating doing my laundry because that sure would not be fun with one if those old fashioned washboards…but then again, you never know – maybe that could be a best moments, too.
I realized that maybe these best moments are everywhere…it’s like an amazing, never ending Easter egg hunt, only better because you won’t get cavities. What other best moments am I missing because I’m not looking for them in *this* moment? I’ve had too many rules and ideas about when best moments happen and what needs to be there for the situation to come about…but you don’t need your favorite things in place or ideal conditions. I now find them quite often in challenges. I also look for them in quiet moments, or when I’m just observing my little girl, or when someone looks me in the eyes…or in hugs! Hugs are the best and I sometimes would get too used to them and forget that they are best moments.
I wanted to share my story to remind you that you always have a choice, and that the act of choosing is incredibly powerful and freeing. I know I forget this all the time and could use as many reminders as possible. I start to believe that things happen and we feel a certain way because it’s either a thing that we like or a thing we don’t like…but we get to choose what we like…we get to decide how we want to feel. I should point out here that each time I said those words, “This is where I want to be,” it was *before* I really felt them…the good moment that followed came because I said them, not the other way around. I didn’t wait for the good feeling, I asked for it.
I hope this gives you some ideas about how to have more best moments for yourself, especially within the challenges of parenting…And more best moments for your family together, because yours will spill over into your children and they will feel them…and they will see how magical you are and learn that they are this magical, too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences…please share in the comments how you create amazing moments or if you’ve met resistance and challenges with these ideas…both sides of the conversation are welcome…We help each other by sharing our stories and experiences so please take a moment to share, as what you have to say is important.
Much love, Katie
You can find more of Katie’s wonderful words over at her site, With a Love Like That.