Why I Cried in the Car Pick Up Line

The other day as I was pulling up to the school like every morning with a van full of kids & backpacks, my eyes welled up and I felt overcome with emotion. Namely gratitude.

This, (this mom in a minivan, shooing the kids out the door, gloves on, shoes tied, coats zipped) is what I've always wanted. What I've always dreamed of. There is nothing spectacular or "of note" in my life right now.  I don't live in rural Alaska anymore, thousands of miles from home, multiple plane rides away from civilization.  I don't help my husband butcher moose in my bathtub or take my kids over to the school in -30 blizzard conditions. That's not my life anymore.  And I'm okay with that.

Our Alaskan adventure was magical.  It had highs and lows.  It was a beautiful couple of chapters in our book, and I wouldn't trade them for anything.  They are what's made me so grateful for things that beforehand I took for granted. (ie family, the grocery store & the hospital being nearby.)  But. But I am also okay that those chapters have closed.

I am so happy to be living in a house with a yard in a school district where my kids can go get a great education. I am so happy to be living my boring life in my boring town. (Except to me, it's anything but boring.)

I don't mind being cliche.

For example, every time I pull Carly out of her carseat, about 25 Cheerios fall out as well.  At the grocery store, I'm the mom with three kids orbiting around a moving cart, dabbing as I ask them to get olives or granola bars.  In the mornings I'm the mom feeding the baby in her high chair while hollering to her brothers to "Get your boots on! Make your lunch! Do your hair!"

It's a simpler life we're living now, compared to an isolated village,
but I couldn't be more grateful for it.

I wake up every morning next to a man I have loved since I was a girl, and usually nestled between us from her early morning wake up is the daughter we made after two back-to-back losses.  We wake up with hope literally between us.  As we begin to stir, the boys come in, one after the other after the other, pajamas askew, bed hair flattened to their still warm, sweet heads, and that's how my days begin.  Surrounded by love.  The love of a man who takes better care of us than I ever imagined, and the manifestation of that love, our children.

Sure, most days the four kids get the better of me. I am overwhelmed with chores & to-do's, struggling to fit it all in.  But those moments when God lets me see, really see, all the blessings around me, boy.  They take my breath away.

"I wake to the discontent of life in my skin.  I wake to self-hatred.  To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing.  Always, the failing.  I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets.  I live tired.  Afraid. Anxious. Weary.  Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes.  Would I ever be enough, find enough, do enough? 

But this morning I wake wildly wanting to live... I throw back the covers, take another breath and begin.  I get to.  I get to live."

-Ann Voskamp


1 comment:

Marilynn Raatz said...

You are a wonderful example of gratitude Shelly. I am so proud of you. These are the moments and you're right there - present!