Apparently, today is April Fool’s day. Am I the only person that never notices when that day is here? What I do know is that it’s a Wednesday. I know that we are exactly halfway through my 4 YO’s spring break. As I slam my 10 oz of It Works greens (that I’ve had ready to go since I made my morning coffee) at 10 at night, as my 4 YO is still randomly shouting from her bed for me (while trying to convince me that she is, in fact, sleeping) and I have only gotten to page 97 of my book’s corrected proof, I find that it is both bitter and sweet. It has been so nice to spend this time with her. To share in some firsts with her and give her special treatment – what kid on vacation doesn’t want special treatments and activities? Heck, I still want that when it’s the weekend. *Hey, hun, can I go sleep over at Tiffany’s? Her husband said it was okay!* *Followed by the most un-hide-able panicked face my husband has ever made.* I miss all that time I got to spend with her before she started school. It’s probably why I’m at her school so much. I just miss her.
Along with all that sweet is the bitter. All the work that I didn’t get done yet promised I would. See, on St. Patrick’s day (it’s only fitting since I am Irish – among other things, but I don’t claim them very often, if ever) my mom and I officially became Tate Publishing’s newest authors. That was the day that we signed the contract. I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009 – the year I got pregnant – and that was near devastating for me. It meant that I couldn’t eat any food I wanted. It meant that I couldn’t be careless with what I inhaled – who has time to chew? For a big girl who likes her food (that’s me; thinking on it, like is not a strong enough word), the diagnosis was met with the ugly crying face. A year later I had this genius idea to write a cookbook. I had the idea because all the GF food I was eating tasted like……..Fish, or green beans, oddly enough. Not pleasant. I come from a food-oriented family and my mom is the best cook I know. Not just because she’s my mom and not just because she might read this, but she genuinely is. I couldn’t write the cookbook without her. We teamed up, and it took us 3.5 years to sign with a publishing company and an additional 6 months (so 4 years total) to get the manuscript into our publisher. That happened in September. We are currently in the final phase (of 5), approving the proof.
We got the second proof back on Friday. Yeah, that Friday. The Friday of all Fridays. I had big plans to have the proof done by Sunday. I got to put my new Jamberry wraps on and, obviously, take the old ones off. I watched the same movie 4 times. No I will not tell you which one, but I will say that’s it’s so bad (script and direction wise) it’s become good. I have read some fan fiction; a lot of fan fiction. I have stayed up way to late only to be woken up early. I got to watch my 4 YO have her first sleep over at our house. I got to watch two 4 YO friends literally run from one side of the house to the other shrieking in delight and laughter. I got to hear them giggle and count sheep while they pretended that they were trying to sleep. I watched the Walking Dead finale (can I interject here to say HOLY CRAP). I got to rejoice with my friend of 23 years over their bittersweet new pregnancy. I got to cry tears of joy for her and pray for her. I got to encourage friends. I got to go to church. I had double portions of coffee every day. I stayed way to late a friend’s house having great fellowship.
What didn’t I do? I didn’t even put a dent in my 330 page proof. I didn’t get the website re-design I’m doing for a friend finished. I didn’t have a single hot cup of coffee (just 40 ounces of warm on a daily basis – why does this even make it on my list?). I didn’t go to work today. Well, not at one of my jobs.
Do you see the difference in those lists? Would I have liked to have the proof already done and sent off? Of course, it’s hard to not be bummed that I missed the mark on that. But all I have to do is look at these two lists. Look at these two and see all of the things that I got to do. Things for me, things for my children. Every one of those things marked with joy and peace, I mean, did you see where I said that I got to have double portions of coffee every day? That wasn’t just because I needed it, technically. I love coffee. Like love it. Like, if I were able to marry a beverage and choose to spend the rest of my life with it I………Well, I wouldn’t, but I would think about it for a minute if that beverage were coffee. After I let it down gently, we’d still be BFFs.
My point is that, even though my “got to” list is bigger than my “didn’t get to” list, it seems that the latter is what I focus on. It’s easy to put a higher value on the things I didn’t do because they will bring money. They are a commitment. They are a job…….Works. When we get caught up in works we put all the value on that. We see it as a failure when we don’t fulfill them. We see ourselves as not measuring up. I doubt my daughter feels that way. In fact, I’m pretty sure that she is so joyful that I chose to sit down on the floor with her today and build a jail for the bad animals instead of telling her that I couldn’t because I had to work on my book (which I’ve done way more than I care to admit). When I heard her say to me today that she had to read her Bible because she was feeling angry, I didn’t feel like all the other stuff was more important. I actually felt pretty good about this mothering thing for once. All of the things I got to do were things that I needed to do. Needed. Yes, the things I didn’t do are pretty important to, but do they really trump all the other stuff? I don’t think so. I know they need to be done and I know they will, but they aren’t more valuable than my needs simply because they are a work. There is time when my kids and friends are asleep. It’s not like I’m in bed before 2 anyway.
When you feel that way (like you’ve failed, falling behind, you don’t measure up), make some lists. Make a “got to” and a “didn’t get to” list. Does your got to list involve things that bring you and others peace and joy? Is it bigger? More importantly, without your emotional, physical and spiritual needs being met would you have even been able to do the things on your “didn’t get to” list?
Sometimes, life is hard. Sometimes life is a struggle. It can feel like a juggling act, and we aren’t always the best circus performers (you know, because clowns juggle). We have too many things in the air and not enough hands to catch them. We are busy, busy, busy and if we don’t feel like we are busy, busy, busy, we tend to either justify it or go looking for more. If you are in these positions (and even if you’re not currently, I suspect you will be at some point), if you’re going through struggle after struggle, rejoice. Hear the Lord saying, “What do you want me to be for you right now?” Know that He already knows, but He wants you to tell Him, to ask Him. Life is about being obedient to Him, of course, but it’s also about just being with Him.
You can’t hear it, but I am going to sigh now. Better get back to the grind. It’s only 10:55 at night, right? I’m going to sigh again. Something is wrong with me. One more sigh.
Don’t be anyone’s fool, not even your own. You are bigger and greater than you think you are. You, my friend, you are strong. You are royalty, son or daughter to the highest King. You have infinite resources (including me, but more importantly, God), use them. You are not alone.