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.

Glass Marbles 8-6-17

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.

The Art of Letting Go

Stanton, the girls and I moved into our new house here in New York about two weeks ago. About half of our belongings—possibly more than half—remain in boxes in the basement. We’ve broken in our new home, though. The girls’ favorite books cover the coffee table; various pairs of sneakers and flip-flops clutter the back porch; and loved ones’ greeting cards, along with Grace’s preschool artwork, adorn the refrigerator.

The first few days here, I cleaned the kitchen, made the beds, unpacked the girls’ clothes (how do they have so many clothes?). I thought I could get everything “all set up” by the end of that first weekend. Ha…ha…ha.

The delivery guys for the washer and dryer needed more time than they originally estimated to maneuver the appliances downstairs. A customer service manager from a local utility company stopped by to share information. And the girls called for my help in collecting dandelions for their backyard tea party.

Interruptions to my grand plans. Distractions. Or…life.

There’s a quote I like, and you may have heard it too: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (credited to John Lennon, and Allen Saunders). As I picked dandelions with my daughters, I acknowledged that I needed to let go of my “all set up this weekend” plan. I needed to be realistic, present, flexible.

The art of letting go.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become better—more practiced—at letting go. Letting go of unrealistic expectations. Letting go of past hurt, and loss.

Dandelion

The other day, I saw several deer—a family, maybe—walking through a neighbor’s yard. Big, beautiful deer. I thought of my Poppy, a hunter.

Four years ago, when Poppy passed away, I would have felt a pang in my heart. Today, I still feel that hole in my life—that emotional and physical absence—but time has tempered the pain, and has helped me feel, first and foremost, gratitude for all the time we did have together.

Everyone is different. Everyone feels differently, heals differently. People become who they are based on their unique blend of nature and nurture.

For many of us, we decide how we approach each day. We can endeavor to meet all the action items we bullet-point for ourselves, no matter what, possibly becoming impatient and irritable in the process…or we can roll with the punches, grace under fire.

We can keep mourning disappointments and heartaches…or we can find silver linings in those experiences, those lessons learned.

For many of us, we decide how we approach each day.

After Grace was born, I began recording my first-time-mothering “lessons learned” into a newspaper’s parenting blog, which I later turned into my first e-book, “Diaper Bag, Coffee, Let’s Go! 237 Tips for First-Time Moms.”

That’s right, friends: 237. It was an earnest effort, my hope to provide all the encouragement and positive vibes I could to new moms who maybe were uncertain and overwhelmed as I had been.

Years later now, I’m glad I wrote that book. Other moms still buy it and let me know it’s a helpful resource, which makes me happy. And personally, “Diaper Bag, Coffee, Let’s Go!” is almost a scrapbook of that season in my life, first-time motherhood. I’m glad I wrote that book, but I probably won’t write more tip books, especially related to parenthood. Because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to let go…of trying to do everything perfectly.

And, simply, of trying to do everything all at once.

Babies need food, diapers and a warm body to fall asleep against. Basically, that’s it. (Newborn Grace didn’t care that I’d spent hours researching the best crib mattress for her color-coordinated nursery, or the top-rated baby monitor that year.) And older kids don’t care that you haven’t yet hung up the window valances in their rooms. What they say instead is, “Mom, help us pick these yellow flowers!”

(“They’re called dandelions.”

“Dan-de-lions? Like lions?”

“Kind of…”)

Grace is 5; Anna’s 2. They play well together now and sleep (fairly) well at night. Stanton and I have powered through those early, oh-so-tiring years of parenthood. We’ve walked through some difficult times, together, and have made the journey through intact, with a deeper appreciation for each other. This chapter in our life feels so good, so refreshing.

Yet the thought flickered across my mind. When might the next tough thing, that we need to overcome, happen?

Just as quickly, I had to remind myself to stop. Enjoy. Live.

And let go of trying too hard, of worrying and fast-forwarding too much.

“Mom! We need more dandelions!”

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.