"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." - Annie Dillard in The Writing LifeIt has been a rough past week; I'm attempting to recover from a sinus cold that has lasted more than five days while my children have been healthy and full of pent-up winter energy during days that dipped down into the negatives. And then reading those words yesterday, was a small chip in the windshield in front of my face. The spider cracks spread across the entire length and it feels as though the dingy windshield has shattered and I can see clearly for the moment. Because if I'm being honest with myself, how I spend my days; and thus my life, is so beautifully blessed it is almost painful to look at straight on.
I spend a great deal of the day caring for my home and family. Cleaning, picking up, washing, drying, loading, folding, wiping down, finding things that are lost, answering the question 'why?,' re-organizing, cooking meals, cutting up into bite-size pieces, texting Brandon, finding patience to wait for a toddler to put on her own jacket as she shouts, 'I do!,' rubbing backs, kissing booboos, filling dog dishes, sweeping, logging the grocery list, laughing at toddler jokes that have no punchlines, scraping unrecognizable pieces of gunk off of unfathomable places thinking, "What is this and how long has it been here?"
A portion much longer than I wish, is spent looking at a screen; paying bills, reading articles, watching videos, checking social media, working on The Hunting Daddies, writing on the blog or working on my novel, helping kids trace letters or feed food to monsters, locating an episode of Team Umizoomi, reading a recipe, and then subsequently googling 'substitute for sour cream.'
Reflecting on the Dillard quote has surged up a desire in me to actually spend more time in my days doing the things I want my life to be spent doing. Things like writing - although I spend a very big part of my day thinking about writing - exercising, mediating, reading actual grown up books (instead of online articles and children's picture books), and catching up with loved ones in ways that are more varied than a short phone call punctuated by my kids yelling in the background.
The quote has also shed a light in my heart to appreciate and realize that there is no part of my day; and thus life, that I spend worrying about my physical safety or the safety of those that I love. In no part of my day do I have to struggle to find food or warmth for myself or my family. Very rarely do I spend time administering medication or waiting for a doctor's visit for questions answered. At no time do I have to wonder if any given place will be able to accommodate my family's needs; my entire family is blessed as we all can physically, mentally, and socially adjust to any given place and it's restrictions. These are things that mothers worldwide spend portions of their day doing, as I carry on not even considering it.
But the spider crack that actually caused the whole window to shatter was the realization that the very greatest portion of my day, the thing I do while I also do all of the things listed above - is holding my children. Children in my laps while I eat, lounge, rock to sleep. Children in my arms while I balance two sippy cups and a bowl of snacks. Picking children up and putting them down in various locations; the countertop, the time-out chair, the bath, their car seat. Answering with extended arms, the small-voiced requests of 'hold you.' All day long, my babies are either in my arms or on my lap.
At the end of time, I hope the way I have spent my life will be measured by the weight of my children in my arms.