Life is made up of hundreds of thousands of small, tiny moments. Little things. Good, beautiful things; and hard, ugly things. I have found that although the big events change us forever, the little things are what shape us into who we are.
This past weekend for Easter, we drove to Alabama to see my grandparents and my best friend visiting from Texas. It’s typically a 4 hour drive. My plan was to leave work a little early Friday, drive a smooth 4 hours, be there by about 7 pm, settle everyone into bed and cruise into the weekend. Now, who spiked my diet ginger ale at work to make me think these impossible thoughts I may never know. But that was my expectation.
Nevermind the flooding and tornados happening everywhere the whole day prior to our departure. The late start to work because of vehicles submerged in water and boat rescues on highways. The enormous fire of a major electric company in the area resulting in sirens and fire trucks ripping up the water logged roads. The terrential downpour of rain so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face, and so loud you can’t hear yourself think.
No. These things will not slow us down. We will leave on time and traffic will be fine and all will be well.
La-la land was nice while it lasted but let me tell you, that is not how Good Friday went.
We started out well enough all things considered, but minute by minute as we sat rotting away in traffic, my attitude started to shift. To my boys, I maintained my happy mom face, but inside, I was raging.
There is nothing cooler than being trapped in a car with 3 toddlers on what should be a 4 hour trip for a rock solid 7 hours while the youngest screams at the top of his ever-loving lungs almost continuously for the entire trip…on five hours of sleep…in the rain…alone. Except maybe scooping my ear holes out with spoons or shoving bamboo shoots up my finger nails.
After being on the road about 7 hours, one of my twins started screaming saying his ear was hurting. I know when things are serious and this was not a joke. We were about 20 minutes from our destination and it was 9 o’clock at night with the screamer finally sleeping soundly. But when duty calls, it calls. So we stopped at CVS and the crew of us went in to get some tylenol since that was all I could find to help in the short term.
We completed our mission successfully and i gave my sweet pea some tylenol as we finished the final leg of our trip. We finally made it! After unloading and setting up beds and feeding everyone and allowing them to run around like lunatics to stretch their legs and bodies before bed, I started the bedtime routine. Again, fully expecting things to go smoothly.
Long story short, it didn’t go smoothly.
Everyone was awake til 1 am, and then no one could sleep in their beds alone. So me and my 3 boys piled into the pull out bed together and attempted sleep that way. With one attached to my boob and the other two wrapped around the other portions of my body, I tried to will everyone to sleep. But Connor had a raging ear infection and the poor thing was miserable. After getting the little one to sleep finally, I freed up my arms for the sick punkin. And he stayed in my arms the rest of the night as we rotated from bed to chair trying to help him get rest.
He slept for maybe 15-30 minutes at a time before he’d wake up again screaming in pain. And there was nothing I could do about it but hold him.
By 6 am, we were up for good running on the previous night’s 5 hours. I was beat and outwardly didn’t have the greatest attitude about my sleep deprivation and difficult trip the day before. But mostly, I was sad for my Connor and frustrated I couldn’t make it better right away.
He’s a trooper though, and the two of us survived on Tylenol and coffee (Tylenol for him, coffee for me) and we carried on through our day, managing to make it a pretty good one. By that evening, he was inconsolable in pain and I had to call in Dr. Gigi who was able to call in some anti-biotics for us.
He was almost immediately better and the rest of the weekend was as smooth as it gets with 3 boys hopped up on sugar and Easter adrenaline.
My point in sharing all of that is, in the grand scheme of life, this was a weekend full of little things. Dispursed between the tough things like traffic and screaming babies and sickness and sleep deprivation, there were tons beautiful things.
There was laughter. There was time with family and a reunion with my lifelong friend. There were sticky, chubby little hands that wanted to hold mine. There were plush cheeks I got to kiss a million times. There was faith, food and fellowship. There was me, present with my children for everything. There were memories made and tiny moments spent together I’ll remember forever. There were valuable conversations and sparkles in my son’s eyes that let me know I’m getting at least a few things right.
Motherhood is hard. But even in those hard, crazy, sleep deprived, desperate moments, the fact that I get to be the one who comforts my sick child is priceless. Their sweet comments like, “Hey mom remember when I was in your belly? That was my good home!” make even annoying things like traffic seem like heaven, because I am right where I’m supposed to be, and that’s with my boys.
Not every little moment is perfect. Not every minute of motherhood is enjoyable. But each moment builds upon the last and they all matter. It’s those little things inside the little moments that create a life. And really, it’s a beautiful little thing!
“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you will look back and realize they were the big things.” Kurt Vonnegut
What little things have you loved lately?