Monday, September 22, 2014

If we knew what we had

We're just getting back from a week at the ocean.  A wonderful, fun, crazy, exhausting, sandy, beautiful week at the ocean.

It was marvelous.  It was tiring.  It was hard.  It was fabulous.  I loved it.  Every minute of the sand in our sheets and hair and mouth and eyes.  There were happy children and crying children.  There was laughter and there were tears.

It was life with kids in the best way possible.

As we drove home yesterday I managed to snag some time behind the wheel.  My husband does most of the driving and I don't blame him.  I, too, would prefer to sit behind the wheel instead of spending the day straining my back as far as I can to hand someone a sippy.  So when he decided he wanted to hand the wheel over to me and spend some time in the passing out snacks division, I jumped at the opportunity.

I plugged in my iPod and cruised down the interstate.  A older song from Sugarland came on (because yes, I'm mostly a country loving girl).  The song is about an older woman who is looking through pictures of her past.  She recounts her memories of her children and of her husband, who has since passed away.  At the end of the chorus she sings the words "If we knew what we had, before it was gone, if every road led back home, this would be the very last country song."

Well the first line of those words jumped out and hit me straight in the heart.

Because the thing about life is, we don't always know what we have before it's gone.  But at that moment, as I was drove down the road with three kids tired and exhausted from a week of fun and a husband patiently handing out goldfish crackers, exactly what I have hit me with such force that my heart felt filled to the brim.

In that moment, I could see and feel what I have, and it filled up every part of me with joy.  And I wanted to take some of that joy, even just a tiny speck of it, and save it for those days when I kind of forget what I have.  Those days when the baby doesn't sleep well and is up crying all night.  Those moments when I'm begging and begging my six year old to do his homework and he just won't stop complaining about it.  For those days when all that I've heard is the constant whining and crying of a too tired four year old who can't find his missing sword.

The hard days are hard, and they come around a lot.  And during those days I get so caught up in the frantic pace of getting JJ to school, calling about doctors appointments, switching the laundry, and remembering to pay all the bills before the late fees come piling in, that I lose sight of what I have.  Because it's just life, and I'm just living it.  Day in and day out, the same old thing.

But.  Every once in a while, I read something, or I hear something, or something special happens-- and life just stops.  For a second I can step back from the crazy whirlwind spinning all around me and I can look and see and feel all that I have.  And for those moments I'm grateful.  Because I need that reminder that what I have is so much more than mouths to feed and heads to wash.  What I have, what I'm doing, is raising and building up my family.  And my family is wonderful.

We won't always be able to see exactly what we have.  Because life is life. And it's busy and it's messy and it's hard.  And that's okay.  Because it's also wonderful and exciting and overfilling with love.   And hopefully, hopefully, we can find little reminders of that.  Hopefully there will be moments that jump out at you--like the words from that song jumped out at me--that will cause you to see and know what you have.  Because I think remembering what we have, and why we're doing what we're doing, is what keeps us going.

So.  Here's to knowing what we have, as often as we can.