I had planned to write a post reviewing my February goals (HA HA HA --- you’ll see how THOSE went soon) and set some for this month. But then something happened at breakfast that totally changed the course of my thoughts for this morning. The baby is an early riser and as of late, so is Evalyn. Up until she was potty trained she was always a 7am or later riser. Since training, we’re lucky if she sleeps until 6:15. I fought it for a long time. I hated it. I got frustrated. But now? I’m learning to accept it. And then add the baby to the mix, she’s always up early anyway. Again, lucky if we get to 6 am with her. With Eva as a baby I could do the whole “make her stay in her crib until 7am as long as she was happy” thing with no qualms and eventually, she always slept past 7. It wasn’t such a hard game with her, though, because when she was a baby, waking up “early” meant 6:45. Leaving the baby in her crib to “learn” to sleep later isn’t as easy this time around because if I do, she wakes her sister up and then I’m just left with two pre-6am risers. I used to feed the baby at 4am and crawl back in bed relishing the idea of sleeping another 2.5-3 hours. Now when I climb back in bed I pray I get another hour. Anyway, this is getting away from me – this post isn’t even meant to talk about when we wake up – I just say this to say that I am learning to embrace the early mornings. As much as I can.
The reason I mention the change in our mornings is to say that one benefit is that our mornings are less stressful these days. Getting up at 6 gives us more time before Daddy races out the door at 7:25 than when we used to roll out of bed at 7 or later. What this means is that after we spend a few minutes all huddled together in Mommy and Daddy’s bed,we make our way to the kitchen for breakfast.
This morning it worked out that all four of us were sitting up to the table together to eat. As soon as I sat down with my coffee and oatmeal, Eva said, “So, Mommy, how was your day?”
And in that moment I realized how beautiful it is that she sees our dining room table as a place for conversation, communication and family. That this is the place we gather. This is the place we connect. Where we touch base. Where we share details of our lives and learn more about each other and join together as one unit at the end (or in this case, the beginning) of the crazy, hectic days of our lives.
When she said this, I looked around my dining room table and realized what is most important… that my girls see our table, our dining room, our home as a safe place for them to land.
It’s been almost a year since we started on our journey with this home. March 20, 2012 was the day we first saw this house and put an offer in. Over the next days and weeks as the details got sorted out and multiple hurdles were overcome, God quickly showed us that this was, undoubtedly, meant to be home. Logically, when we look at how it all went down, we never “should” have gotten this place. There were too many things that happened to work against us. But we were blessed. It was a God thing.
It’s been 9 months since we took possession and started renovations. Seven months since we moved our little family of four to the country to start something new.
If I’m being honest, we are no where near where I expected we’d be after over half a year of living here. No where close. My expectations were too high. My plans and goals were unreachable.
This is what my dining room looks like, at this very moment.
Our table is old and ugly and falling apart. It is surrounded by random, mismatched chairs. There are old towels strewn about, trying to protect our home somewhat from the damages of baby led weaning, there are no doors on the closet, with coats and hats and shoes thrown about, no window coverings, no china cabinet. Random toys are stacked on, around and under the table. There’s a dollar store bunny chair cover over the chair where’s Eva booster, that she no longer even uses, is. Eventually, our table and chairs and china cabinet will be refinished and repaired and the rest of the room will come together. And until today, I kept feeling like it’s just not happening fast enough.
But then a few simple words from my always wise two and a half year old reminded me that this doesn’t matter. When we sat down together and she looked at me and asked how my day was, I realized she doesn’t care.
When we spend time together in this home, do my children notice that our table and chairs set is incomplete? Do they notice that there are no closet doors in our rooms? Or that the baseboards are missing? Or that the decor is lacking? Or that our front door is old as the hills? No.
They notice none of that.
What these sweet babies notice is that our mornings start with the four of us (often five when the dog joins us) curled up in Mommy and Daddy’s bed, giggling and giving good morning hugs and kisses. What they notice is that we have the privilege of enjoying coffee and breakfast together. What they notice is that we are together. Our family is together. Healthy, happy and completely, entirely in love with each other.
Sure, we could focus far more of our time and energy on completing the unending list of projects, decorating, renovating … we could do that. We could consciously devote more time and energy to making this place home.
But I know now that it’s okay if we don’t, not all the time. It’s okay to just be sometimes. To forget the list of projects and have quiet mornings and quiet evenings together. To go for walks as a family, instead of always going, going, doing, doing. It’s okay to do this.
It’s okay because the biggest mistake we could make would be to get ourselves so focused on checking things off a list to make this place home that we miss the life we are living here, that we miss the memories we are making and that we miss these moments we’ll never ever get back. Because these moments?
These moments are what make this house our home.