this sweet five year old is having one meltdown after another, and i am in the ring battling it out to be a good mom. running out of tricks, i tell you.
it feels like the story of my life is cleaning and yet my house is a perpetual mess. this happened, thanks to aforementioned sweet five year old, minutes after cleaning the entire bathroom. seriously?
this one is one meltdown after another, interspersed with the most endearing, funniest moments. she's needing a lot of reassuring, holding, reminders that she's a big girl not a baby (even though she's acting like a baby), and extra attention.
and sometimes, your person has a hard week. and there you are, knee deep in feeling their pain and not really having any brilliant ideas for making it better.
meanwhile, i'm second guessing everything about artmaking. about how much i've accomplished as an artist, where my work is at, what i should be painting or making or doing by this point in my life.
have you ever stumbled upon old pictures of yourself? i did today- from about 15 years ago. i remember feeling so frumpy and ugly not cute and out of shape in a few of the pictures, but with the distance of time and space at work, i think, "wow, i was kind of hard on myself. i don't look so bad, and actually, i look really happy and alive and secure in myself." funny how time works to make you look at things with more accuracy (or grace!)
so i pause, and look at those current pictures from my week one more time-
i squint at my five year old temper tantrum-er, and i think about the way she still climbs up on my lap and says, "i'm the luckiest girl in the world." and how after a meltdown she reaches to me for a hug because really, truly, she is just trying to figure out how to be five and yet needing me all at the same time.
i look at the messy house, and i think- yeah, at this very minute it is kind of ground zero, but i'm so much more organized than i give myself credit. it may be messy, but it was clean a few times today and then it got messed up because we were living and playing and learning. so there are books and scraps of paper and little toys all over the place. but as my daughter tells me, " mom, part of being a mommy is learning that if you have kids, your house is going to be messy." dang, as much as she was really just trying to get out of cleaning up her toys, that girl is right.
i look at my little ruby, full of so much energy and spunk and personality, and i think- "she is trying to make her way in the world. she wears her heart on her sleeve and she is all in, no matter what- tears or laughter." how can i teach her to channel those emotions in a healthy way? and boy, i love that girl.
i think about my love, and how grateful i am that he wrestles with the world- for what it is and how he wants it to be, and i know that as i sit with him in the hard days it makes me so glad that he lets me in to know when he is weary or sad or feeling a little broken. that's what marriage is- to carry each other, to walk through the valleys and the heights together, right? after all, he sits down and watches friday night lights episodes with me, even though there are about 689 other things he'd rather be doing to decompress.
and as i write this from my studio, i look around at all of the work i've made this year, at the floor has toys scattered around, my own drawings tacked up next to my daughters' pieces of art, my desk covered with reminders of my little people. it isn't a gallery, and it isn't a museum, but i know that deep down, i am where i should be, doing what i can, with the time i have.
so maybe it isn't a crisis after all, but re-evaluating life with a more accurate eye, with a fuller, more gracious vision of what really matters. because as much as the reality is that some weeks are a mess, they are nonetheless littered with so many moments of wonderful that it isn't fair to discount all of that. i want to stumble upon pictures from this season - five, ten, twenty years from now, and know that in the moment, in 2013, i recognized what i gift i had. how much goodness there was in this, my everyday...how much joy i was surrounded by, and how beautiful i was, how beautiful this life, temper tantrums, messes, and all, is - right now.