It seems like January mornings are as discombobulated as September ones are, at least in my house. Two weeks off of school for the holidays, plus another few days of flu and fever makes mothers and children alike forget everything they have learned (and committed to rote memory) over the previous months.
“What’s next, Mama?”
I don’t even remember myself. “Well, is your lunch packed? Are your shoes on?”
I glance at the clock. We have about 16 minutes. She stares at the door to the garage. “Where are my shoes again?”
The school aged girls are frustrated. Their mother is frustrated. “I’m not sure. Where did you leave them?”
More blank, early-morning, early winter stares.
At some point we managed to gather everything and get it into the car. Full stomachs? Check. Full backpacks? Check.
I put the car into reverse and began to pull out of the driveway. “My rubber bands!” My twelve-year-old exclaimed.
The removal of her braces is dependent on the wearing of her rubber bands each and every day and night. I put the car back into park and with a fully frustrated soul, ran back into the house myself.
As I maneuvered the minefield of the garage, I suddenly thought. “I don’t HAVE to do this, I GET to do this.” I really do. It hit me right there (and met me, if you will) in the middle of my irritation.
I get to retrieve her rubber bands and serve my daughter in this way. I get to make them breakfast and fill their tummies with good food. I get to do all of this.
The poet, Mary Oliver, asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
It only happens once, doesn’t it? The braces? The sixth grade angst. The eight-year-old birthday.
My one wild and precious life? Right now, it’s retrieving rubber bands from the bathroom for my almost-teen. It’s packing lunches. It’s trying to find the time to write that book (which will get written). It’s folding unending mountains of laundry. It’s getting up at 5 to return emails and, because I know myself, I also know that it won’t get done later in the day. My Wild and Precious life, the only one I have, is filled with school papers and projects and a very numbered, short amount of years left with these two smallish people.
THIS is what my One Wild and Precious life looks like right now. Almost tripping on shoelaces in the garage and going for the 4th or 11th time back into the house and while I’m doing it, trying to manage my frustration. And then in its place, I find gratitude for a family that I get to do this for.
Maybe someday it will look different, with less shoelaces in the garage and less trips inside the house, but for now, I’ll take it.
What about you? What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?Leave a Comment
Your perspective is refreshing and something we all need to be reminded of. I’m fresh from holidays so I am reveling in my family and enjoying my husband and kids. As I get tired though I notice that my appreciation of my life and my various roles starts fading and little inconveniences become big irritations. I must keep your post printed out and in my diary to look at from time to time as a reminder.
Sarah Markley says
thanks amanda!! =)
That is a great way to see things. Coming off of 5 straight days with my precious people because of snow. Moving for the second time in less than a year. Selling a home, buying a home across the country, selling that home, and trying to buy another home in yet another state. Moving in less than a week. Contractors swirling around the house. House needing prep work for packing. My precious people will have to start school in a new school in a week but we are unsure where because the house we are trying to buy the owners are waffling at the price is we don’t know where we are going to be living. And I have made this entire thing about ME. Thanks for that reminder. Even though I don’t choose what going on around me right now, I made the choice 9 weeks ago to allow it to and I can choose to make what’s best of it…..thank you.
Sarah Markley says
i hear you girl. praying for you today during this crazy season!!
Beth WIlliams says
Prayers for you and your family Andrea. This is a crazy time for you and your family. I pray God will swoop down and cover you all with peace and give you the patience you need to endure!
Great insight! It makes me see that instead of thinking I have to take my senior son to visit two collages again …I would be better off to see it with your insight. That would be ..I get to take him to visit two colleges and help him process which is the best place for him to grow into the man God intends him to be. That actually sounds exciting rather than boring. Thank you for those insightful thoughts. Bless you.
Sarah Markley says
thank you and bless you!!
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I know that it sounds cliché…but soon the days of backpacks, braces and boy crushes will be over and you will have that much coveted time for just yourself. I encourage others to embrace your perspective that for this season in your one wild life, you GET to do these things. Thanks for a wonderful and thought provoking post!
Sarah Markley says
yes, you are right and its not cliche!! =)
Robin Dance says
The way we see, REALLY see our time with our babies under our roof is a game changer. I love how that perspective came to you :).
Sarah Markley says
thank you dear friend!!
I am stepping out. Doing things to set in motion God’s call on my life. Hard? Yes. Exciting? Yes. We will see!!
Sarah Markley says
Sarah Skinner says
Thank you. I’m probably not your intended reader. I’ve struggled with infertility. I have no children only one rescued pup that I get to walk on a daily basis, rain or shine. I have been practicing being grateful for these little joys I get to live. But, I admit it frustrates me to no end when I hear mothers complain about all the things they have to do to care for their children. I know it’s hard. I understand the weariness. I practice patience. But, I appreciate so much you sharing and encouraging others through your perspective. Thank you.
Sarah Markley says
wow. thank you sarah. i love your perspective and thank you SO much for commenting this morning. blessings and grace to you today.
What a wonderful perspective! I hardily agree, although raising 3 sons by myself often prompted moments of frustration and almost constant weariness. Now that they are grown, other challenges are foremost…….like unemployment. But can I appreciate the sunrise He showed me? Can I be thankful that, yes, there is still food in my pantry? Will I be the one, by His grace, to reach out to someone else today to encourage them in their walk? Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I have been thinking more and more (and talking over this with the Lord)—what will be the next step in this “one wild and precious life” that I have yet to live?
It is important to translate your post into meaning for this time in my life. Possible retirement – exactly how do you define yourself without your work? This has caused me to squeeze the joy out of everyday here at work. Not knowing the next step – well, I am waiting for His call, His inspiration to see where this wild life will take me next.
Beautiful perspective and great reminder to me today! I fussed at my 13 year old son on the way to scouts last night because he couldn’t find his book. Couldn’t find it because he never finished his unpacking from his camp-out 2 weeks ago! Must I always remind him to hang he towel, unpack the backpack, put the ice pack in the freezer from lunch after school, feed the dog on and on. Do I not teach responsibility well or are boys just that different from girls? This morning, I followed my 17 year old to the dentist, so I could hear how her surgery had taken and then she could go right to school. All was well and we were out so fast that I decided to take the chance to take my girl to breakfast, watching her across the table knowing my days are numbered, as she leaves for college in the fall. One piece of my heart is already gone to college so I am more intentional with this chunk of my heart! Just as I was patting myself for doing one thing right, I get a call from my 13 year old saying he missed the bus (because I wasn’t there to help and dad was on the phone for work and oh yea, we share a car so there is nobody there to take him to school!) Race home and take a call from my job that there is a major fire to put out, pull in the driveway honking for my son, drive him to school on the phone for work the entire time and sign him in while talking! I never even gave him a hug! My nature would have been to be very upset by all of it, but I just kept moving and am being grateful for the time with my girl and my son did get to school and Lord willing, with the zillion other things that will come up today – maybe we can even get to Wednesday night church!
Paula Butkevich says
What a great perspective. I GET to take of my children, yes one child is 19 and the baby is about to be 17, but they are mine. They are the gifts the Lord gave ME to take care of. HE trusted ME. It is a privilege to serve my family. Thanks for setting my mind on the right path today. Have a great day. You are doing great !
As I read this yet another perspective hits home. As I take my son to school and then to his part time job and try to juggle working from home and carpooling where he and his friends want to go and trying to find my peaceful time, I am reminded that there will be a time where he will be out on his own and will not need Mum to do all of this for him. Sometimes I complain that I do everything but then the reality of this not always being the case hits my heart that I do GET to enjoy this time of life as it will not always be like this. I will one day wonder where the time went and why I miss my son as he journeys on the path that GOD has set for him. He is the blessing that GOD has entrusted me with for a season. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Great post. Reasons to be grateful surround us. Asking God to help me keep my eyes on Him to see those things, especially when hard times seem overwhelming.
I have been terrified of having children for as long as I can remember. I’ve confessed this fear to most of my family and close friends. I have friends that are praying for me to allow God to soften my heart and embrace the thought of having a family. The reality is that some of my fear is for selfish reasons. I don’t want to have to sacrifice time, energy, sleep and time with my husband to take care of children. God really spoke to me through your post today that He doesn’t MAKE us do things and it’s all a trial. He ALLOWS us to GET to experience HIM in new ways through all of life’s experiences. Thank you for sharing this.
Sarah, I didn’t have children, but I care for my aging parents. It was hard when I lost my mother, but I had the privilege of singing to her and praying her to her death. My brother chose not to share in that privilege and he’ll never know what he missed…that time with God and mom…oh so precious… And now, with my father, it gets harder as he gets older, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I get to do for him what he did for me…take care of him, look out for him, pray for him, make sure he gets his meals and that he is safe. Giving up room in my home is nothing compared to the privilege.
Yes and yes! Somewhere in the middle of Christmas break I had a similar revelation. I decided that carpooling and event cheering and stain removal really are privileges and I need to watch my whining words. Great post!!
Nelli Kalinyuk says
Great post, needed to read this today! My little ones are younger but I can apply this to my mothering:)). This morning my kids were fighting about who gets more honey in their cereal and I almost lost it with the yelling in the morning. I need to see everything is a season and will pass soon. I will miss the mess, noise, and fights. Thankful to nurture and love these souls, sometimes need another perspective! 🙂
This message has been being nailed down deep into my thoughts and soul lately. Thank you for hammering it in further. These reminders are so needed.
Angie Ryg says
What a beautiful reminder that motherhood and everything in this glimpse of life is a sweet blessing. I wish we lived close to each other and we could chat while we watched our husbands clean the garage together!
bet365 poker bonus says
I always spent my half an hour to read this blog’s content every day along with a mug of coffee.
Shared this with a ladies book study I’m currently in. We are reading “Glimpses of Grace” and what you wrote really tied in to what we are reading. I pray your words will be an encouragement to them.
Because I don’t have children, I don’t usually read this type of post, but I’m so glad I did as this perspective can and should be applied in other ways… I get to love my husband, spoil our dog and I get to go to a job that I love. At that job, where we are currently having issues with nasty rumors, I get to encourage those affected, to feel like I’m really accomplishing my goals, and I get to feel like I’m making a difference! I love being able to look at it this way to keep from being weary. And I thank God daily for this season in my life.
Randelle R. says
What about you? What are you doing with your one wild and precious life?
Right now, nothing much, and therein lies my frustration. I’m bored, and feeling unfulfilled. I used to be such a busy bee in college, and all my years before. I could never understand students who went to class and did homework and nothing else. Extracurriculars were a must for me. Now, since graduating in 2010, I’ve done pretty much nothing except work, church home, and frankly, it’s exhausting. This post didn’t exactly relate to my situation, but it’s a reminder to me that I have one wild and precious life, and that I can choose to some extent how I spend it. Please pray for me as I seek to discover and embrace more of myself and what I need to be doing in this life. Thanks…
And forgive me for venting on your post 🙂
Thank you! This was totally awesome! Today, I will thank God that I GET to do everything that is needed. I know that this thought will transform the day.
Diane Taylor says
Hi Sarah – really enjoyed this post. I often get stares from my co-workers when I tell them that I (intentionally) get up extra early to make my husband a good breakfast and help him get set for what is usually a long hard day of work ahead. They say “You do that? Why can’t he get up early and make his own breakfast?” I watched my mother do that for my father for many years. Watched her make 5 lunches and line them up, all labeled and filled with each of our favorites. Watched her own breakfast go cold as she took care of ours. And given the chance, I know she would do it over again. It is a small price to pay for showing the one who is dearest to my heart that I care 🙂 Our son is gone now – in a place that I sometimes long to see (and I know I will see him when my time here is over). We only have each other – and this precious gift of life. I plan to serve him breakfast for a very long time!!!
xxxooo – Diane
We’re on Snow Day #10….yesterday was #9. I have to admit that we’re floundering a bit here.
Beth WIlliams says
I was there for my older parents health issues. Went to many doctor’s appointments, ER visits, etc. Helped dad with mom when she got dementia, sundowner’s and was bedridden for 2 years. Was able to help plan the funeral and just be there. Were there crazy moments–yes–did I lose it oh yes!!
Now I’m there for my dad who we just moved into an assisted living. It was an exhausting month of doctor’s visits, interviews, etc. It finally came to pass and He is happier than he’s been in a long long time!!! I feel blessed to be here and be able to take care of them the way they did for me!!
Nancy Ruegg says
Oh, yes — Positive perspective begets positive emotions. So I look back with fondness on the wild and crazy days of raising our family and teaching elementary school. Now that our three children are grown and gone, I miss them very much. But the empty nest has its advantages, too: less chaos and less stress, for starters! Embracing the blessings of the present keeps the heart uplifted.
Hi, everything is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing information, that’s in fact good, keep
Awesome! Thanks for the reminder! “I don’t have to do this, I get to!” , will be my new mantra esp. when things get frustrating or stressful! God gives gifts in all things!
best only says
That is really fascinating, You’re an excessively professional blogger.
I have joined your feed and look forward to in quest of more of your fantastic post.
Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks