Up until about two weeks ago, we were heating the outdoors along with the rest of our house. We had, to our ignorance, left a window cracked open about an inch on our office, a room we rarely frequent anymore. Who knows when it was last closed? July? June? Every time I had been in the room I was shocked at how cold it was; but I kept telling myself, "well, the room is closed off from the rest of the house...and it's on the north side of our house...and there's only one vent...", and thus was able to convince myself that it was no colder than any other year.

Until it got REALLY cold outside.

(Okay, this picture really has nothing to do with the story...but aren't they just cute??)

Like...way below zero overnight. Then I went into the office, armed with blankets, determined to stave off the cold one way or another.

That's when I found the one open window. The blinds were closed, the curtains were drawn...and one window was open. Open!

A few weeks prior to that, I had just re-engaged our programmable thermostat, after leaving it set at about 74 degrees round-the-clock for who knows who long...well, actually I do know, because I was the one who unknowingly disabled it when I was resetting the clock when Daylight Saving Time came to an end (and yes, it IS Daylight Saving Time, not Savings Time. Dumb, I know...but correct). I just thought the house was staying warmer because I was using the oven more!

Needless to say our heating bill was not as low as it could have been these past three or four months.

And clearly our lives have taken a slightly more distracted turn.

Both of us working full-time has its advantages: two paychecks, adult interaction, we can all commute together most days, dynamic environments with plenty of mental challenges, and probably a good-sized dose of mental health is gained too.

But it's also really really hectic: Get up-get showered-get dressed-put out fire in living room-wrangle one overly awake and one groggy child into clothing and boots and jackets and hats and mittens and--oh wait...take off the jacket/hat/mittens because we forgot to go potty and brush teeth-comb own hair-chase unruly child around kitchen table-start car-make toast-nearly forget own socks and wonder whether one's own teeth got brushed earlier this morning-grab phone-grab keys-grab lunch-grab kids-shut door-drive to town-drop off spouse-drop off kids-drop into office chair-remember there's toast still sitting in the toaster-perform small miracles-leave work-pick up kids-pick up spouse-pick up groceries-drive home-get the mail-tumble into house-make frantic supper-trip over toys-trip over kids-feed everyone-bathe everyone-pajama everyone-have typical nonproductive bedtime for 30 minutes and possibly non-typical nonproductive bedtime for another 30 minutes-drop exhaustedly onto couch-forget the three things that needed to be done tonight-forget to be nice to each other-forget that your child's brain is broken and he really CAN'T help it-forget to pray-put on pajamas-brush teeth-go to bed defeated.

Okay, so every day isn't that way (and no, there has never been a fire in the living room...I was just making sure you were still's not outside of the realm of possibility for us)...but there are enough of them just like that...and enough others of them that have a lot of those elements, that it becomes really easy to just see lots and lots of trees and forget there's even a word to describe a forest.

Nick's mantra has been "this too shall pass." Sometimes I nod along, and sometimes I ask, "are you sure?"

But I am sure too. Just not usually at 8:42 PM on a Wednesday night.

It's excruciatingly hard work, this looking ahead, looking beyond business. I'm not a big-picture person. In fact, my strengths have generally revolved around my ability to dig in, peer into the minutiae and then find layers beneath that. I'm a details kind of girl.

But the long perspective--the big perspective--is that we have a home. And enough to eat. And clothes to wear. And cars to drive. And jobs to go to. And friends and family who care about us.

And even enough money to cover an excessive heating bill...that was caused by our lack of attention to detail. Okay, so maybe it's not bad to pay attention to the little things some of the time.

But details don't really serve me when I'm being swallowed up in the moment. I'm learning, though, albeit slowly. I know that so much of right now is temporary compared with the bigness of an entire life--however long that may be--I just have to remind myself. A lot. Like every day. Or more.Having perspective means knowing that what's right in front of me is not forever.

Besides, big things generally get much much smaller when you put them in perspective. Like elephants as compared to blue whales.

Elephant? Big!
Whale? MUCH bigger!

Who's worried about the elephant anymore? Not me!

And there are good things happening all the time too. Like celebrating Gavin's fourth birthday--our first one. Cool stuff. I just have to work harder some days to remember ALL of the enormity of wonderfulness that continues to happen in our life. Celebrations are one of the good things. Hearing "I love you, mommy" is even better.

And as I (finally) sign off, I'm sure that even this mood too will pass...and I'll be off on another parental adventure soon enough.

I just hope it's not at 8:42 PM on Thursday. Or a blue whale, for that matter.



  1. Steve and I both work too, and, honestly, your described day sounds a lot like our days :) I wouldn't say that days get less busy actually, however, but I would say that the busy gets easier. Which is important. One key for us has been to teach our kids to be helpers. I still have to remind them most days, but they know that when we get home their coats, hats, mittens, etc. go in a basket by the door. Tryn can get herself dressed most mornings now. Sometimes her outfits are "amazing" but I don't care because I didn't have to dress her. :) It might not get less busy, but it gets easier. I promise :)


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