It Takes a Little Time

I had a bad day last week. “Bad” is relative, of course. Someone else, somewhere, experienced a much worse set of circumstances. But, personally speaking, one day last week could have been better.

That day, the girls and I headed over to the Y for open swim. Swimming is such a fun, lifelong sport. Swimming with kids—that’s a whole other playing field, friends.

First, there’s the getting ready. Finding everyone’s swim suits, getting them on. Locating the heavy-duty canvas bag. Filling it with (clean, if possible) towels, sippy cups and snacks. Then outfitting yourself, which is usually a production.

“Mom, I like your blue bathing suit better.”

“Boo! Boo!”

“Girls, would you give me some privacy, please?”

“Mom, what a round belly you have.”

“Belly! Belly! Belly!”

“Girls…please give me some privacy.”

“Here, I’ll close the door.” Slam.

“Can you go outside the door, girls?”

“We love being with you, Mom.”

“MOMMY! Hold meeeee!”

So…there’s the getting ready.

On that day, we eventually arrived at the Y. The friendly staff checked us in. The girls and I slipped off our cover-ups. I secured a life jacket around Anna. Grace adjusted her goggles. We got into the pool.

Three minutes later… “Thunder! Everybody out!”

I looked at the lifeguard. “Really?” She nodded: Really.

“Why?” Grace wondered.

“Nooooo!” Anna protested. Roll of thunder, hear my cry.

“The pool needs to close,” I said. “I promise we’ll find another fun thing to do.”

“Really?” Grace asked, with the same disbelief I had just demonstrated to the lifeguard.

“NOOOOO!”

After leaving the Y, I began driving back home when another car, with a seemingly impatient driver, nearly made contact with us. The lady continued driving unsafely behind us for several miles. “Unbelievable,” I said.

It could have been a better day.

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Luckily, the next day was. The weather was beautiful. Grace, Anna and I didn’t run into any unpleasant drivers on the roadways. We spent the entire afternoon swimming and splash-padding at the town pool complex.

After having a “bad” day, it was refreshing to have a good one.

I remember our first summer with Anna. She was about 3 months old; Grace was turning 4. Everyday life then was so much harder than it is now, this summer. I worried about having Anna outside in the heat, so instead of the pool, I took Grace to an indoor “jumpy place.”

She loved it, not minding the earsplitting noise of the machines that kept the inflatable castles, pirate ships and slides afloat. That white noise also lulled Anna to sleep against my chest. For me, though…my head throbbed, nonstop.

It takes a little time, sometimes, for family life to find its rhythm—for things to fall into place. I don’t know if anyone ever reaches the point where they say, “This is it!” and hang up an “Arrived” sign. Because often, there’s always something. Something to work through, or toward. Until things feel manageable, even good.

It just takes a little time, sometimes.

There’s a ‘90s song called just that, “Takes a Little Time,” by Amy Grant. I love this song; the girls and I often listen to it. (It’s on our morning playlist alongside Eric Church’s “Springsteen” and “Collide” by Howie Day.)

We’ve listened to it enough (and danced around the kitchen in our PJs to it enough) that we can harmonize pretty well on the chorus: “It takes a little time sometimes / But baby, you’re not going down / It takes more than you’ve got right now / Give it, give it time.”

Welcoming a newborn. Becoming a family. Earning a living. Building a life. Moving into a new house, making it a home.

At some point, maybe taking care of the person who once cared for you.

We fall into our roles, sometimes. Fall into our lives. Things don’t always make sense in the moment, right off the bat. We stumble; we struggle. We hold out hope for a rhythm.

You might know that my favorite book is “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean. Mr. Maclean speaks to this rhythm of life in his book, especially when he writes, “To [my father], all good things, trout as well as eternal salvation, come by grace. And grace comes by art. And art does not come easy.”

It does not come easy, friends. It does not.

There’s an art to becoming a patient parent. An art to becoming a safe driver. An art to living life with grace—to choosing gratitude.

My Grace will be 6 this week. I remember the day she was born. I remember holding her, in awe of her. And I remember thinking, “I don’t know what to do.” What do I do?

I still think that sometimes. Maybe you do too. What do I do?

(Something else I think: Where did that time go? How did all that time get away from me…just like that?)

The truth is, each day is a leap of faith. You get up—you show up—you hope for the best, and you do your best. You work toward a rhythm.

Finding that rhythm may take a little time. So give yourself that time. And don’t give up.

Wishing you the best, friends.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short fiction e-book, “This Is Just a Story.” Fun, timely and thought-provoking.

Nostalgia for Last Summer

The other day, my girls and I went on a lunch date. Our destination: Pam’s Patio Kitchen, my favorite local lunch spot in San Antonio.

Pam’s is located just a few stop signs away from the neighborhood swimming pool that Little G and I swam in virtually every day last summer. “Little G, do you remember what’s over there?” I asked, pointing farther along the street.

“What?”

“Don’t you remember, honey? The pool from last summer?”

“Oh…yeah.”

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But I could tell my daughter’s 3-year-old memory wasn’t as good as my 32-year-old one. Meanwhile, 5-month-old Baby G squealed from her car seat, reminding us that she was there, too. She doesn’t like to be left out of things.

But Baby G wasn’t here last summer, and for a moment, I felt a flicker of nostalgia for that time in my life, when everything seemed so much easier. There was just one child to take care of. She slept through the night. I had more time to write; I had just finished “The Moms,” in fact.

And I could still wear a swimsuit. Yes, I gave birth five months ago, but my post-baby bump is still startlingly visible. It will be some time before I feel comfortable in a swimsuit again, friends.

Last summer, I felt comfortable in everything I was doing. Baby G, though, has forced me to push the reset button. For starters, I’m rereading (whenever I can) “What to Expect the First Year”—I barely remember any of it, thanks to the first round of sleep deprivation with Little G. And in some ways, I’m forging a new mother/daughter relationship with Little G. This summer, for example, I’ve said to her (more than once), “I’m so sorry I raised my voice to you. I am just so tired.”

Little G looks me in the eye. “It’s OK, Mom. You can do better next time.”

We didn’t have these kinds of conversations last summer. I’m hoping, though, that our conversations now are richer, with the added layers of compromise and forgiveness, give and take. And if they’re not … I’m sure Little G will let me know when she’s older. 🙂 (I’m a firstborn daughter, too. I know how it goes!)

I remember when Baby G was born. Everything was so much easier with her than with my older daughter. All because I had already done it all once before. And because of that first experience, I was conscious, this second time, to appreciate everything more. To hold Baby G longer. To sing “Goodnight Sweetheart” slower. To take our time.

Pam’s, the pool, last summer … The nostalgia I felt, I think, was really an awareness that time moves fast. Even when days feel long, time is skipping forward until this summer, this season, becomes last year’s.

Unless that is nostalgia—“That it will never come again / Is what makes life so sweet” (Emily Dickinson).

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s e-books, available on Amazon.com. Writing at its most heartfelt.

7 Reasons to Take a Summer Vacation From Facebook

Facebook LogoLately, my Facebook news feed has been serving up pictures of preschool, high school, and college graduations. Hello, summer, and summer vacation! And I’ve been thinking, maybe I should take a summer vacation from Facebook. Maybe you, too? Here are some reasons to consider a seasonal hiatus from that most popular of social media.

1. You just had your second (or third, or fourth) baby. In the midst of your sleep deprivation, you missed the deadlines to enroll your older offspring in enriching summer camps, classes, lessons, and the like. Thus, you will have no “Carter’s 1st day of LEGO Camp!” or “Audrey @ Dance Extravaganza!!!” pictures to share on your Facebook page. What would your Facebook friends think if they caught a glimpse into your real world—the kids watching “Frozen” in their pajamas until 11 a.m. (again) while you simultaneously feed the baby and prepare lunches of Goldfish and Welch’s fruit snacks (again)? Better give you and your family a breather from comparative picture-sharing.

2. On the topic of comparative picture-sharing … Your best friend from elementary school just posted a photo album of 283 “Unbelievable Memories!!” from her summer wedding and looks-like-paradise honeymoon. She appears thin, tan, and well-rested (sooo well-rested!) in every tropical-themed selfie. Meanwhile, your 3-year-old just told you, “Mom, your belly looks like it still has a baby in it!” (For the record, it doesn’t.) No way will you post your family’s latest “Unbelievable Memory!!”: a day at the local water park with you in your maternity swimsuit (still!).

3. And those upbeat status updates … “Grilling outside tonight! S’mores afterwards!! Don’t you just love the LONG DAYS OF SUMMA?!” Hmmm … no, not always. A sample status update from YOUR “summa”: “Baby slept 5 hours; I slept 3. Baby’s crying kept waking up older kids; everyone cranky. Now how will I keep everyone happy ALL DAY?”

4. Your old office friends accidentally included you in a group invitation to this year’s annual summer retreat at the Boca Beach Club. You want to Accept, Accept, Accept, and Declining is disheartening. Because of course you can’t leave your brand-new baby, and you can’t take him with you either.

5. Another invitation, to your college’s 10-year reunion. Ahhh, the carefree days of jungle-juice-fueled parties and sleeping in until lunch … compared to the present reality of juice boxes and 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls from the nursery down the hall. Better to not recall those sweet, sweet days.

6. Speaking of reunions, who doesn’t love family reunions? Mm-hmm, those stress-free get-togethers where everyone reconnects so well and doesn’t bring up past grievances and grudges … mm-hmm, right … If the reunion organizer mainly communicates via a “Family Reunion 2015!!!” Facebook group, and you’re on a summer vacation from Facebook, then you’re golden, sister.

7. Be present in your life. Really. It may be refreshing to peek out from behind the screen of your phone or computer—to be uninhibitedly present in your life, messiness and all. To take a break from comparisons with the imagery of your Facebook friends. To bow out of obligatory invitations. To revel in the chaos and joy of random dance parties in your living room and spontaneous, sticky-from-Popsicles kisses from your kids.

A summer vacation from Facebook might be as rejuvenating as a posh spa retreat (sorry, Boca Beach Club).

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Melissa Leddy has been writing professionally for 10 years. She’s the author of three e-books, including the popular short fiction “The Moms.” You can follow her writing on her website, and connect with her on Twitter at @MMLWrites. Melissa lives and writes in San Antonio. She and her college-sweetheart husband have two daughters.