It’s the first week back. That means we’re still eating breakfast — the good kind, with fruit and waffles and mmmm, bacon. We can still locate sharpened pencils (though we did somehow misplace a book on Monday. Monday, people. The first day. Not to worry, it turned up, obviously, in the closed, dusty, cabinet under the computer desk — you know, the one where all of the old hard drive equipment used to go. Of course.) But it’s still fresh. There’s laughing. Interest. We aren’t impossibly far behind… yet.
What if it could stay this way? What if we were still laughing and curious and well-fed in February? What would it take?
I think it would take anticipation — cultivating an expectant attitude every day. And I don’t suppose I’m very expectant if I’m in the throes of self-pity; pity-party Kate is not thankful, but grumpy, disappointed in what’s gone wrong instead of grateful for what’s gone smashingly. I tell my kids I don’t speak Whinese — but maybe, too often, I do.
It follows, then, that it would take gratitude, wonder, recognition of little victories and amazement at the grand stage. Living like I have an illness in remission. (What? I feel good? I get another day with these people?)
Living with a forever mentality means remembering that life is so, so short. The stresses will pass; the kids will grow up and move on. (Theoretically) we’ll miss them someday. My husband likes to say that every complaint betrays a blessing — the dirty socks on the kitchen counter (what, you don’t find dirty socks on the counter?) mean I have a delightfully absent-minded kiddo. The dog-chewed wallet means I have a wallet (and a dog.) Living in light of eternity means seizing the joys life affords, knowing they are fleeting. It means remembering the big picture, the prize at the end of the race, the purpose behind the cost.
I’m not just filling minds with facts, I’m filling hearts — with what? A contagious attitude (thankful, I hope, and curious, full of awe at the incredible intricacies of the world and fascination with its people), hope, determination, purpose, love. I’m not plodding back through 5th grade lessons for the educational thrills; I’m investing in world-changing people that will explode like dominoes from our home and set off chain reactions in a thousand unpredictable directions.
This life? This is my one life. This is their one childhood. Help me, Lord, to make the most of these wildflower days.