Metaphorically speaking, I often feel as though my life is a vast sea of monotony and I am drowning in it. Okay, okay! Maybe not "drowning." That does sound a bit dramatic. More like, "treading water." I often feel as though I am treading water, attempting to keep my head above the surface of my mundane responsibilities. "Waves" of laundry constantly crash down on my head, "undertows" of trips to the grocery store try to pull me down to my watery grave. (Sounding dramatic again? Have you been to Wal-Mart? Have you tried to shop with two fussy and hungry children in your cart?) Then, there is the steady frothing and churning of toys to be picked up, diapers to be changed, and peanut butter sandwiches to be made. The sound of my vacuum cleaner might as well resemble the sound of the tide coming in!
I do the same things over and over and over again. I get up, fix breakfast, clean the kitchen afterward, bathe Lilly and dress both kids, play with Barbies with Lilly (and why is my doll always naked? even that never changes), fix lunch, clean the kitchen afterward, put Cam down for a nap, frantically mop or vacuum or clean toilets or put folded laundry away, fix dinner, clean the kitchen afterward (notice how I can't seem to get out of my kitchen), bathe Cam and dress both kids in pajamas. We end the day with our night time routine--brushing teeth, reading storybooks, cuddling, and saying prayers. The next day: Repeat. The day after that: Repeat. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
I make an effort to be grateful for the things that break up the monotony in life--the proverbial "life rafts" that drift by me. Sometimes, they are big things--a zoo play date, a trip to Grandma's house for the weekend, a library Halloween party. In my "sea of monotony" metaphor, these activities are like the Coast Guard. Or David Hasselhoff in his red, lifeguard swim trunks. They save me. BUT... Most of the time, the things that break up the monotony are small. Very, very small. They are mere arm floaties--like the bright pink pair I had when I was a child.
So, a couple of weeks ago I set out to improve myself. I know I need to try harder to notice, and then be grateful for, the arm floaties I get handed. In my new-found goal to appreciate the small things, and in my heightened sense of awareness, I discovered:
*Lilly informing me she no longer wants to call me "Mom." She would prefer to call me, "Mother." (I stifled a giggle when she said, "From now on, you shall be my mother and I will call you, 'Mother.'")
*Cam and Lilly playing together in Lilly's room, giggling hysterically as if a private joke had passed between them.
*Cam crawling down the hall, "speedily" following me into his room while exclaiming, "Mumm-mumm-mumm!"
*Lilly telling me she's thankful for Jesus because, "He's the one who gave me my heart and put it in my body."
I discovered I've been the recipient of wonderful arm floaties! My kids have been the givers. When I take a step back I see there's a lot of love in my swirling, monotony sea. There's joy in there too. The small things--when looked at through thankful eyes--prove to be bigger than what was once thought. And maybe the big things--the outings and events, the vacations and adventures--aren't the "Coast Guard" after all.
My kids are.