My 25th birthday is upon me. In fifteen days I will be a quarter of a century old, as someone said early this week “ancient” or “a real adult.” The term real adult is my own.
I believed by the age of 25 I would have so much more figured out. I imagined my house organized, uncluttered but eclectic and stylish and most of all stylish. I envisioned my mothering self as a calm, collected and gentle, free-spirited type mom. I assumed I would know what I was doing with my life and be relatively successful by this point.
Alas, my house is an unorganized, cluttered pit of dusty despair. Toys and books and papers and stickers (oh my goodness stickers!) and crayons and pencils litter the floors. My kitchen floor has a border of dirt around the edges and I don’t even want to talk about the bathroom. And while I do consider myself a fun mom, I am anything but collected and I yell a lot. And I’m confused and conflicted in every way about what I want to do with my life. So many options exist as to how I should focus my energy, yet I cannot manage the simple task of keeping my home in order.
When I stand amidst the disarray that is my home and my life, I feel very close to failure.
Then, today, while I was procrastinating, Elizabeth sat on the sofa with me. She was playing and talking; “and one day” is her favorite line. After a few minutes, you see I was deep in my world of procrastination, I noticed the room was quiet. Elizabeth went to sleep. I didn’t ask her, she didn’t whine. She simply laid on the couch and fell asleep.
I was left in peace and in that peace I could listen to the cicadas hum in the heat that I know looms outside. I felt an absolute freedom.
The few minutes of quiet were enough to remind me to enjoy time.
The quiet that is given when a child naps, those minutes of calm, they must be considered precious and consumed wisely. Any minute some one could drive by my house and feel compelled to honk and yell or the dog could bark at a neighbor walking her dog (because apparently he had NEVER seen another dog before!). Or a plane or jet or something flying ominously low could pass over the house (that just happened, but she stayed asleep). Or calamity and noise could be held at bay for a little longer while she sleeps. Each nap is different, but each nap is the same because those minutes are limited.
The same is true for our lives. We’ve been given a limited number of days and spending those days regretting and dwelling on mistakes and past failures is wasteful.
I’ve used up 25 years worth of those days, 9,125 to be exact. According to the internet, the average life expectancy, as of 2009, is 78.7. That means I have about 53.7 years left (And, I’m a little on the pudgy side of things, so I can probably slice a few years off if I don’t start watching my carbs!)
So, instead of vegging out in front of the television or computer, I think I should go do the dishes or scrub the kitchen floor or clean the toilet. And while I do those things I’m going to pray that God would help me be patient when Elizabeth is screaming because she wants to watch Dora or eat candy for dinner. And after I’ve accomplished some of those things and have successfully put Elizabeth to bed, I’ll write a little or draw some or just sit and listen to the quiet.
She woke up from her nap when I took the picture. Oops.