I recently started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I found myself wanting to share about what I was reading so I started a book club. We have only met once so far but I'm excited about sharing what has resonated with me in the book and some of the changes I have made. One of the reasons I picked up the book in the first place is because it seemed like the book would further encourage something I've been working on in particular in the last year...trying to live in the moment.
I am finding that as my kids get older, time seems to fly by even quicker. Some days I can be very grateful for the way they are growing and excited to see the people they are becoming. Many days though it takes my breath away that many of their childhood stages are ending and I can't get them back. I worry that I didn't do enough and wasn't present enough. I wish I had spent more time and energy on the "little touches" to make sure that they felt special and connected and loved.
One of the things Gretchen quoted in the book was, "The days are long but the years are short." That's so true. Having three young boys as very young adults still going through college, and in my husband's case grad school, was such a whirlwind crazy time. Then, having our first daughter and losing her so soon(we didn't know she had a genetic disorder until after her birth), took its toll on a chunk of our lives. I really didn't work through it well and ended up suffering from depression off and on for several years after. I wasn't as present to the kids during those times.
When Peter was diagnosed with Autism at 2 1/2 it threw our lives into another whirlwind that took quite a while to settle down. Our lives were consumed with research and bringing him to different doctors, nutritionists, and attending seminars trying to find the "magic bullet" that would "cure" him. After a year we realized we had to stop treating his diagnosis as a sprint and move into marathon mode. We also realized that we couldn't spend 95% of our time and energy on Peter and only 5% on the other kids. That was hard because I was afraid we would miss the window of opportunity. In the end, we had to trust God's guidance and acknowledge that He loved Peter way more than we ever could. He has guided us to keep Peter progressing and we are grateful for that. He continues to send people into Peter's life to help him and to help us keep our sanity!
So, I have been working hard at letting go of my guilt from the past I cannot change, and concentrate on being present in the moment and participate in and enjoy each of my children's lives at the stage they are at.(And with kids ranging from infant to the verge of young adult I have lots of opportunities!!!) While I still grieve for the past that I can't get back and have many fears for the what ifs of the future, I am choosing to be grateful for the moment I have right now. IT IS NOT EASY! But I know that I have more peace when I am able to live in the moment and that makes me happier and able to enjoy life so much more...and it makes me a better wife, mother, daughter and friend.