I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

An Ant in the Garden.

Peonies and Forget Me Nots

I’ve been a bit grumpy, tired, blob like, and out of necessity pared down and focused. You are likely to find me laying on the floor while our youngest Mr. ~G (17 months) does his little pivot butt motion that he has discovered gets him quickly wherever he wants or he may be using his new “traveling” powers to traverse the landscape of couches, chairs, and walls. He is getting gloriously and frighteningly close to walking. Yes, I am slowing down at 29 weeks pregnant with our 7th son as Mr. ~G is getting quite zippy!

Just getting Mr. G’s diaper changed is like running a marathon. He doesn’t want to pivot over to me as I cloyingly call to him with diaper and wipes in hand. He knows better by now, but quite frankly I am dangerously close to feeling cemented to the floor by the weight of this new child I am growing. Sometimes one of the older boys will take pity on me and bring Mr. ~G to me so I can catch a chubby leg and tackle him down till he is clean again.

Right now the smallest things take such effort. I still have over two months till this newest little fella makes his way from my belly to the world, and I just want to yell “no fair no fair!”.

With limited fuel in my tank, each day my main focus is these six kiddos, feeding them, making sure they are relatively clean, sometimes entertained, engaged in participating in the household necessities of living in our large family, and above all that they each feel uniquely and fully loved.

Many days lately all this has felt beyond me. My energy level just isn’t there. I feel a bit pathetic and think of the things I miss. I’m not going to list them here, honestly I think it would be counter productive, but there are many things as many of you know that are put aside when you have young children and/or are pregnant and I’ve had young children for 12 years now, and been pregnant for almost 7 of them.

In this quite limited sphere I have felt uninspired to write or even let one stroke of paint fall on the blank canvas that has been sitting in my studio for months now. Plans for a redesigned website for Little Lisa Studios go no farther than the planning stage and then the re-planning stage. I’m feeling stuck into a very tiny, albeit very important role.

It is in this state I have visited Facebook, normally a domain of joy and sharing, that when I feel stuck becomes something quite different. The job you busted your butt working towards, your promotion, your new degree, new job, all these great things I really want to rejoice in for you, instead make me question my life and its’ importance.

It’s not Facebook’s fault, (though it does seem easier and more pervasive than before), I did the same sort of comparison when I was 21 and had just finished college. I was ready to take on the world, or at least become the art teacher I had studied to be. Instead I substitute taught by day and worked at a local convenience store by night. It was not an easy period of time for me, I constantly felt the pressure of what “everyone else” was doing. When I finally recognized that “everyone else” was not me, I started to feel ok in my own skin again. I accepted that life sometimes takes times and my life apparently did.

How do I deal with Facebook comparing today? I try to take little breaks from checking my newsfeed, a day or two so I can truly “be” in my non virtual world and love it for what it is again before I sneak a peek into yours.

I have many many many blessings in my life. I won’t list them here, but I am certain that we all do if we care to look close enough. My blessings may not look anything like yours and vice versa…

And my challenges may not look anything thing like yours. No matter how hard I kick and scream through them, it is the challenges in my life that have forced me into the person I am today.

So I encourage us all to own our struggles, they are, though it is often hard to see, our own unique blessings. Curl the weight of those struggles like the world is your gym and biceps your soul.

Go forth each day knowing that your kind word will help that butterfly fly stronger or that tree grow taller. It doesn’t matter if that butterfly already has it all going on being able to fly or that the tree is already wicked tall and your just an ant. Be the ant!

Here Saint Therese says it way more eloquently than me:

“I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, nature would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues. And so it is in the world of souls, Our lord’s living garden.”
― Thérèse de Lisieux

Love y’all and congratulations on all your new jobs, promotions, etc. and solidarity to you if you are feeling a bit less than and stuck, us ants are important to the garden too!

~Lisa

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5 Responses to An Ant in the Garden.

  1. Sheryl says:

    Oh Lisa, I feel the exact same way about FB. However, I’m looking at all my friends giving updates about their kids, some of them who are teenagers now and I think “Man, I’ve really missed the boat on this whole motherhood thing” I can become quite overwhelmed on what I’m missing rather than what I have. Hubby and I have started saying 3 things that we are grateful for before we drift off to sleep. Some nights it is a real struggle. “The hot water heater is broken and I’m cranky, what could I possibly be grateful for?” Sometimes, it is hard to see outside of my little box. I’m human, but I’ll keep trying. And if we are lucky enough to have a baby, I’m sure I will miss all the free time that I’m blessed with now. But, you are not alone, just know that.

    With love from Boston, Sheryl

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you so much for sharing you. We really do need to remind ourselves of all we have don’t we? And all of our lives are uniquely our own, comparison really does no more than stick little land mines in the beautiful life you already have and the future you don’t know about yet.

      If you and Barack decide to take a Vermont weekend trip this fall we would love to have you stop by for dinner, lunch, or breakfast with our family. We would love to see you and meet your husband. Sending you lots of love!

      • Sheryl says:

        We are definitely going to try and make it up. Must do some leaf peeping!! We’ll let you know in advance when we’ll be in town.

  2. Chris Saad says:

    Facebook is overrated. Frankly most of what you see is fluff. Not to diminish the efforts of those accomplishments of those that you mentioned. I was front line to Janna’s 5 year journey through law school. The struggles we faced were daunting. Our family life was disjointed and twisted due to massive scheduling challenges, trying to balance work, kids, school, and occasionally trying get some family time.

    One of the things I enjoy most is being away from everything in nature, disconnected so to speak. Funny coming from a guy who has a career in technology.

    One of the things I love about your blog is your commitment to making your family your number one priority. The simplicity of being out of the rat race in Vermont makes me envious. The distractions I face on a daily basis rob me of those wonderful moments that you often share….building a root cellar, harvesting maple syrup, the stories of the boys making origami to support a food bank. Those all make me question all the things that distract me from investing time with my kids doing things as a family. The “ant in the garden” is not forgotten, you are far more important than you think. You remind us of what truly is important and it us who are stuck….usually in traffic or in some pursuit of things that even if we accomplish them, are really less satisfying than what you’ve accomplished raising your family in the way you do.

    Remember, the ant can carry 100 times it’s body weight. I think you have strength far beyond what many of us have.

    • Lisa says:

      Thank you Chris for taking the time to comment in such a heartfelt and encouraging way. Got me teary this morning… Lots of love to you, Janna, and the kids. We are all doing are best aren’t we? Life is such an adventure AND challenge. It can be hard to pin point and then keep focus on what is most important. Each day is a gift and a chance for us to apreciate what we have and get back on track if we are veering off course…

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