Lately, I’ve been struggling with what to tell people when they ask “So, what have you been up to?” It seems to me I should be able to sweep my arm in the direction of my three young children with a flourish and say, “Exhibit A.” I don’t want to be a one dimensional person, but really, I don’t have any other answer right now. When real life happens, it doesn’t always translate so well into a short and sweet small talk answer. Maybe when there has been a major life event, there is a good answer. But when there has been no big one thing? What does a mom of little kids say? We haven’t gone to Tahiti. We haven’t moved. We haven’t had a disaster of any sort. There have just been days one after the other like beads on a string. And I’m not talking pearls. No, no. These have not been pearly, luminescent days, though they all have their gorgeous, unforgettable moments. These days have been the clear plastic bead on a piece of yarn kind. The kind full of dishes, play dates, grocery shopping, cracker crumbs, breakfasts/lunches/dinners, sick children, sick self, and so much coffee.
Nothing special has happened in the last few months. Until I remember this: every moment.
Though they can seem like just a bunch of mundane minutes, these clear bead days are precious, too, and who decides that pearls made by some ugly oysters on a dark ocean floor are more lovely than the gift a five-year-old considers a work of art? The clear beads are everywhere in my house right now, under dressers and in corners, clogging up the filter in the vacuum cleaner. They’re like the in-your-face, never ending responsibilities of mothering littles that can completely overwhelm me. But the curve of soft, round cheeks? The plump little toes in their first pair of sandals? The freckles appearing out of nowhere under sea blue eyes? Those facets of my right-now life can overwhelm me in a whole ‘nother way if I just see them with the right pair of eyes on.
I could choose to wear the necklace made up of those clear beads all tinted green, purple, pink, and blue and in no particular pattern or order, and know there is love in these days hidden all over the place and also bowling me over every morning as I roll out of my (absolutely wonderful) bed. Really, literally, bowling me over (Hello, 3-year-old son). I won’t ever have a day when I feel like everything about motherhood is perfect. Peachy. Pearly. Almost every good thing is disguised in something sort of annoying when you’re in the thick of things. A hug when you’re tired of being touched. Really beautiful singing about Jesus when the baby is asleep. These things are beautiful and an exquisite gift and are driving me crazy all at the same time. But if I don’t want to go crazy? There’s really only one good choice to make when I’m overwhelmed by all these clear beads rolling around my house and I need an answer for where all the minutes are going.
Wear the beads.