Tuesday, July 29, 2014

don't forget to breathe

I have approximately fifteen minutes to write, before I tackle that to-do list that has Tuesday written at the top of it in BIG BOLD LETTERS. Included on the list are : finish putting laundry away, call the dentist, put Lily down for a nap, email three people back, collect all the super-ripe plums off the tree in the back for the next batch of jam, and get the house ready for company tonight.

I have no make-up on, I'm in yesterday's exercise pants, my hair is a frizzy mess pulled back into a sloppy ponytail, and I don't know if I've brushed my teeth today or not.

On the outside I probably look like someone who most definitely does not have her act together today.

But I'll let you in on a little secret ...

... I could care less.

Because I spent two wonderful hours with my delicious grandbaby, Norah Jane, this morning. We snuggled, we played, we had conversations, I fed her green beans and cheerios, I changed her, I tickled her, I took a dozen pictures of her, and when my daughter-in-love came to pick her up, I swear she looked at me and said, "I love you, Nana."

Okay, maybe she didn't say those words out loud. But she smiled up at me and crinkled up her eyes and nose like she always does, and I promise you (because I really don't swear) that look on her face said she adores me.

And I could pretty much float on that feeling for a few days.

So while I was waving goodbye to that pint-sized little princess, I thought about what I wanted to say in today's post, which is actually about our impromptu trip to the coast last Friday. And the thoughts in my head, and the warm and fuzzy feelings in my heart, and the folder of photos on my computer desktop, all coincided nicely with the free advice I want to dole out here on A Perfect Lily today.

Are you ready for it ?

This is really deep.....

... don't forget to breathe.

As moms, we have so much on our plates every day.

We start each day with a mile-long to-do list, and whether that is typed out carefully and hung nicely on our fridge, or haphazardly scrawled on the back of a piece of junk mail ... or even written on a mental sticky note, tucked away in a corner of our overloaded brain ... there are a hundred tasks each day, just calling our name.

And I don't know about you, but no matter how many items I cross off that list each day, there are ten to twenty new items, just waiting to fill the void.

So Friday, when Sam called me spontaneously, and asked me if I wanted to drive with him out to the coast ... I immediately said no.

I really wanted to go with him - a break from household chores and laundry and responsibilities sounded like an answer to prayer. Although I realized he had business calls to make at the coast, I also knew there would be a few hours of driving time together, and I was feeling more than a little desperate for some adult conversation. The kind that didn't involve the words" because I said to, that's why" and "tell your brother you're sorry for sticking a lego up his nose." Not that I don't totally appreciate the conversations that take place here at The Rice Ranch on a daily basis. But sometimes I need a little more ...

About ten minutes after I hung up the phone with my husband, I asked Caleb to watch the younger kids, and I got in the shower.

This may be a bit too much information to share on a blog, but I'll go for it anyway.

I probably do my best praying in the shower.

I don't know why that is (because I do try to take time to pray alone first thing in the morning, while my kids are sleeping, and at many, many, many times throughout the day) but for some reason, my shower prayers often seem to be a time of real revelation. I've actually had God speak to me in the shower about someone I need to forgive, or how I need to address a certain issue with one of my children, or ... a host of other things. I have no idea why, but there's power in the shower, I'm telling' ya.

Sooooo, while I was praying and asking God for strength for the day, and mentally adding things to that sticky note to-do list in my brain ... I honestly almost heard the Lord say I needed to go with my husband to the coast.

 I mean, I did not hear a voice speak those words. But just like little Norah and her unspoken message to me with her sweet little eyes... I felt like God wanted me to call my husband back and tell him I wanted to go.

And as soon as I made that decision, and the phone call that followed, Mackenzie called and asked if our middle-littles (Abbi, Noah and Jackson) could come over to hang out with her at her babysitting job for the day. Jonathan and Caleb and Tyler had already made plans to play basketball at the athletic club down the street from our house, which only left Lily and Hayden to join Sam and me on our spur-of-the-moment field trip to Lincoln City.

I piled diapers and sweatshirts and snacks and changes of clothes into a big beach bag, threw some make up and flip flops on, and spent ten minutes blow drying my soggy hair.

Sam pulled into the driveway with a tall Jamba Juice in his hand, we shoved carseats and kids into the back of his car, and we were on the road before any unforeseen emergencies could pop up and call us back to town.

We were like two teenagers sneaking out in the middle of the night, (minus the guilt). And if Sam's little Chevvy Aveo had a convertible top, we would have cranked that thing open, our hair (well, mine anyway) whipping in the wind and big goofy grins plastered across our faces for all the world to see.... all the while, singing at the top of our lungs : free at last, free at last, thank God almighty I'm free at last ....

Sam dropped me off at the outlets when we got to Lincoln City, where I spent a few hours browsing through shops, just enjoying time alone with Lily and Hayden .

After my husband made his business calls, we drove to a fabulous fish-n-chips place - a total mom-and-pop joint with the yummiest food at affordable prices - and ate to our hearts' content. The sun was just beginning to set, so we raced to the beach, where we spent forty-five glorious minutes enjoying the ocean, our babies, and each other's company.

It. was. amazing.

I compiled this little video collage (lasting all of fifteen seconds, because that's all you can post on Instagram) for your viewing pleasure. Grab a piece of popcorn, and enjoy...

We watched a beautiful sunset, talked about how blessed we feel to live where we do, and only called seven times to check on things back home. We stopped at Coldstone Creamery before heading back to Corvallis, and enjoyed an hour of Hayden screaming and Mommy getting carsick  a pleasant drive home. We pulled into our driveway at midnight, and walked in on our kids (Josiah and Mackenzie included) playing a wild game they made up, involving Apples to Apples and live music ... apparently we just missed Jason and Naomi and the kids, who had been hanging out all night as well.

And that mile-long to-do list was waiting patiently for me on Saturday, and nobody was the worse for wear because of it.

So all of that to say..... don't forget to breathe.

I've said it here before but it bears repeating :  mommy life is like flying on an airplane, where we always receive these safety instructions before taking off.

“In the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down. Put on your own oxygen mask first, then help those around you.”

If we neglect to take time for ourselves, if we always view that to-do list as something that absolutely must be attended to before we ever give any attention to our own personal needs or desires... if we forget to put our own oxygen mask on first... we really won't be any help to anybody.

My life as a mama requires a lot. Every single day there are a million little tasks calling my name.

But every now and then, I need - I NEED - some time to step away from it all, and just breathe.

Sometimes that means just half an hour alone in my bathroom, soaking in the tub. (Or on a hard day, five minutes in the shower. )

Sometimes that means a date night with my husband, or coffee with a friend.

Sometimes - not all the time, but sometimes - that means chucking that mental or physical to-do list in the trash can... or at least just putting it on the shelf... and making some time in my life for the spontaneous, the totally unplanned, but completely necessary adventures, that are oxygen to my soul. 

Are you feeling overwhelmed, or run-down, have you lost your zeal for the task at hand, does the daily grind of motherhood and all that it entails seem to be weighing you down with its endless list of chores and responsibilities ?

Don't forget to breathe.


Farm School Marm said...

Beautiful! And so true!

Jamie Wooddell said...

So true. I actually rented a hotel room last weekend and got away just the baby and me. And yes, I felt like I could breathe again. I had spent months getting more and more run down until I felt myself pulling away. Crying over every little thing. And avoiding my kids. (Hard to do with 7 at home all the time)
This week I am a new woman! Recharged, and ready to attend to all my duties with joy!
Oh the power of a little escape.

Amy said...

Loved this! A good message, cute kiddos, and a beautiful beach trip! The perfect blog post! :)

Unknown said...

Loved this!

Stef said...

Patti, I just literally stopped and took a DEEP breath after reading this post. I needed it so badly. To do the physical breathing and then to remind myself I need to do the mental breathing far more than I am.
Thank you SO much for these simple (yet for me) profound words. I DO get so caught up with all my "to-do's" to the point where they ruin my day - and I'm a person who likes lists!

Thank you so much.

Julie said...


Bethany Eicher said...

Yes! I needed to hear this and stop feeling guilty for getting the bare minimum done these days cause my 16 month old's not letting me sleep at night..... Deep Breath.....

Krista said...

I needed this today Patti, see today's post.


But the wisdom that comes from your life experience, articulates it so much better. Blessings, Krista

adeline said...

I could feel the relief, that frozen moment of so much easy gratitude, while looking at your beach pictures.

It seems like every day lately I have to take a moment and step outside and just say THANK YOU JESUS for making me a mom, it's really hard and I need lots of help, and thank you.

Erin said...

I am not a mom... In fact, I am no where near being a mother. But I often forget to breathe, because I am always busy, always stressed, and always worrying.
As a Christian I sometimes argue with myself that I shouldn't worry or let my anxiety overcome me. Why should I stress when I have Jesus?
And yet, my plate gets so full it spills over the sides a rate to fast to clean.
In the summer it's: Home in Tennessee, 40-60 hour work weeks, taking my dad to and from doctors' appointments and procedures, budgeting, housework, etc.
During the school year, I go back to Florida to complete my bachelor's, work 10-15 hours while taking a full course load, teaching children's Bible class, and trying to sleep at some point.

My stress bubbles over in one of two ways: panic attacks or migraines.

I am such a wound up, type-A personality that I get myself in trouble sometimes. I can't do it all all the time.

Thank you for the reminder!

Grammi Faith said...

Oh my, I got cold just looking at the pictures and video. Poor Hayden, and that impish look on Lily's face in the bathtub. xoxoxoxoxox