A few days after the start of the new year I went into my kitchen to make myself oatmeal
and I noticed my husband had cut the instructions from the oatmeal box and put them in
our oatmeal jar so he wouldn’t have to commit the complicated recipe to memory. I
started chuckling to myself and that’s when I saw it…the title to the oatmeal instructions:
Making Great Oatmeal.
Great oatmeal? Great? What if I don’t want to make great oatmeal? What if I do not
have the mental energy to commit to the oatmeal’s greatness and I would rather make
mediocre oatmeal? Where were the instructions guiding me down the so-so path?
I was nanoseconds into dialoguing with my oatmeal jar when I realized that my reaction
was disproportionate to the task at hand. I immediately understood that the word ‘great’
had triggered my hopes and disappointments for the first few days of this new year so
far. I hadn’t taken the deep, refreshing breath that should come with possibility,
newness, and a blank slate. I’d let sickness, hurrying, and cancelled plans get me
down. What happened to my fresh start? So many things were already out of my
The start of the new year should be hopeful.
If you read Little House FULL of Mom Guilt, you know I have a tendency to be hard on
myself and hold on to my failures. And as I realized this year, some part of me hangs
my emotional expectations on the success of the first day of January. Too much power
for one day right? YES!
I desperately want a deep breath.
We had a very satisfying time of sharing at our MOMS table this past Thursday
morning. As we discussed extended family relationships and high school reunions, one
of the ladies made a comment that stuck with me (paraphrased), “we are who we are
now because of our past.” A new dawn means promise. It means hope. But maybe it
should NOT mean a clean slate as I’ve thought in the past years. Our past necessarily
informs our present and future. I can parent more effectively today because I continue
to process the parenting I did yesterday. The sunrise brings refreshment and the
opportunity to continue growing and pursuing our strongest desires for ourselves and
our families. I want my kiddos to be hopeful and forgiving of themselves as I am
learning (quite slowly) to be.
So that is MY expectation and hope for the new year: that I learn how to wake each
morning and move forward as a parent (and wife/friend) forgiving myself and choosing
to HEAR my babes and communicate LOVE. I fully expect you ladies to hold me
accountable. A friend of mine posted this quote on FB over the break…and it is now my
focus and goal for my husband and children.
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is
our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by
God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us
out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Whether or not you have a relationship with God, I believe these words are at the very
heart of our interactions with our families and friends and most likely our deepest
desires as human beings.
Take the deep breath IN the moment you need it.
Allow yesterday to ENCOURAGE today.
DON’T let your oatmeal box dictate your priorities.
Look deeply into the eyes of your babes because our successes and failures this year
will be measured by intentionality and love.
I LOVE YOU ladies…and I am so grateful for my community of MOMS (looking at you