I found this photograph from last Christmas today on my computer. I thought to myself, “this photo pretty much sums up my life.”
We will never be the family that gets photographed in matching, color coordinated outfits. Although, I will admit I have tried over the years to make that happen.
What actually happened was the kids staring at me crazily while I melted down crying because one or more kids refused to “smile” or even “move closer” to someone. Sometimes it was the youngest one who didn’t feel like holding still for a second or it was the oldest one who was just to cool to spend a few minutes standing next to his family. Sometimes it was my husband, who through gritted teeth said, “give it up Marsha, let’s just get this over with” when the 3rd child started screaming because “somebody touched me.”
While I greatly appreciate the artistry that comes with being a family photographer (and their talent with dealing with all sorts of personalities), alas we will never have those fancy photographs. Number 1, because my kids are crazy, and Number 2, I’m just cheap and don’t want to pay them (because my kids will ruin them i.e. because they are crazy).
While this post may come off as me complaining, that is not my intention. I’ve learned over the years that being in a family you get the good with the bad. You have the celebrations along with the heartaches. Life isn’t always pretty, it actually can be pretty messy. There is tears, fighting, and looking for the plunger for the clogged toilet (not surprisingly all 3 are happening RIGHT NOW as I am writing this).
So with all this, I say “Comparison is the thief of JOY.”
Instead of looking around at other mothers and deciding you want the life that they live… look a little closer at the life you live. Look closer at the “imperfections” you might see in your life. Take a lesson from the heartaches you’ve gone through with your kids (and yes, your kids will break your heart one time or another because they are human). You’ve grown through all of that. Your heart has grown in ways that it wouldn’t have if your life were easier. Your character has grown. Your level of compassion has grown. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is how you were yesterday. And strive to be just a little bit better.
And while you are looking back at the “imperfections,” take a moment to find the joy in those moments.
The time my stepsons both photobombed me and I didn’t realize it… only to create one of my favorite photos ever taken.
The way Cameron refused to stand next to Gabe or Malia (or stand up straight) for a photo for “back to school” day. But look at that smile!!!
There really are not words for this one… but it’s authentically real!
All I wanted was my 3 kiddos and their 3 cousins to stand in a trick or treat photo. I got 4 out of 6. On the plus side, my fur nephew Ridley really showed off for the photo!
And sometimes… you get what you want. Or at least what I wanted…all of my kids in one picture! And they are smiling! When this happens, treasure it fellow Mamas… because that moment will only be there for a few seconds. Love on it and praise them. That’s the “you did good” moment.
Enjoy the beautiful moments as much as possible, because the messy moments of life will soon be back. For example, just in the past few days I’ve had to explain to my 5 year old “why you don’t flush the toilet while you are still peeing” and also listen to my 8 year old son as he proudly tells me that he knows what the “f word” is, and then repeat it to me… those moments will always be there. Laugh at them. Enjoy them. Your kids will only be little for a short time (even though it feels very long)! If I had a perfectly beautiful life, the shining moments that come wouldn’t be appreciated as much.
Not only has my heart grown to embrace the imperfections, it’s grown with character and love. Trust me, my life with my husband and kids, there’s a LOT of room to grow still! Because my family is so crazy, I couldn’t make up this sh*t if I tried! 🙂
Keep laughing Mamas!