I spend a lot of time in my car. I have four kids, three of them school or preschool aged, so I pretty much spend the majority of my days shuttling people places. And when I’m not shuttling, I’m usually sitting in a parking lot waiting to shuttle.
I guess you could say this could be stressful, but for me, it feels a bit like a load has been lifted off of my shoulders. I no longer have to spend endless days with no structure. And I no longer have to be responsible for the structure we have. It’s pretty much built in.
One of the things that I was worried about two months ago when my youngest, Tessie, was born was that she would get lost in this whirlwind. I worried about an infancy spent living by other people’s schedules.
But then she was born, and it happened, and I have learned that it’s beautiful because I’ve learned that moments don’t have to be extraordinary to be special. In fact, sometimes it’s the most ordinary moments that are the most beautiful.
Yesterday my there year old fell asleep in the car about an hour and a half before I had to pick my oldest two up from preschool. The baby was asleep as well, so not wanting to wake them, I just drove to their school and sat in the car in the parking lot with them reading. After awhile the baby woke up. I got her out of her carseat, and I nursed her and then I sang to her and told her nursery rhymes. We had a long, deep conversation (some of the best conversations happen with infants) and then we spent a few minutes just smiling – me for the millionth time and her for one of her first times.
And it was amazing. My minivan felt like a private little oasis in the cold, dreary world, and all that we really needed was there in that front seat.
I think that’s one thing I’ve learned over the last eight years of parenting — as a parent we don’t have to be anything special. We don’t need to buy our kids all the newest gadgets. We don’t need to take them on huge vacations. We don’t even need to sign them up for all the latest enrichment programs.
I think, in the end, what matters most isn’t what we do but more so how we do it.
And so I’m hoping to spend the next few weeks focusing just on finding the beauty in the present moment. During the busy holiday season, I’m going to shut out the world as much as I can and just focus on my babies and my husband and all the twinkly lights that illuminate the night sky.
I’m not going to go out in search of novelties and distractions. Instead, I’m going to search for the joy in my every day moments. And I’m convinced that even in the most trying of times, we can find incredible joy. And perhaps it’s in the absolute most trying times that we find the most beauty.
I think that’s called Grace.