Yesterday, Chef Matt and I took the kids to the park, and as I sat slowly breathing in the last of the warm summer air, I noticed a bit of graffiti on the bench. It read: "So live life."
The writer may have been intentionally profound, or perhaps it was just a casual scribble, but either way I was struck by this statement. So live life ... because it is short? So live life ... despite all that gets in our way? So live life ... and do not just survive it?
I think sometimes we forget to actually "live" our lives in our quest to barrel through the distractions. I know that is not a priority in my own world; when I am crawling on the floor scooping up wet, gummed-up bread that our son has thrown from his chair, or when I am nodding off during a two a.m. feeding, all I can focus on is keeping my head above water. I do not notice the adorable, gleeful smile on our toddler's face as he plays his favorite "toss food game," or the contented sighs of our snuggly baby.
I have the same excuses as everyone else for not stopping to smell the roses: no time and no energy. So many days, I look back sadly and realize that some great moments have passed me by because I was too busy giving baths and doing laundry and answering e-mails at work. I catch a few more of these moments when Matt is home because I do not feel that desperate urgency to get everything done at once, all by myself. Yet alone or with my husband, I feel like my "living" is slipping through the cracks.
The solution, I believe, is appreciation, and not an attempt to make every day a memorable one. Even though my days will not be "lived" largely -- we do not travel or go on a lot of outings or get really involved in the community or try to do grand things -- I can feel satisfactorily "lived" if I appreciate all the little things that add up to create my messy, scattered life.
I can tell you that today, I appreciated the sight of my two big kids rocking out to Elvis in the car, two little blond bobbleheads in my rearview mirror. I appreciated the taste of the season's last sweet corn, and a hug from my husband after a long day apart, and the feel of a sleepy baby on my chest.
I still had to scrape gummed-up bread off the floor, and I probably will tomorrow, too. But those words -- so live life -- flashed before my eyes as I was doing it, so I looked up at my son in his high chair. And he smiled at me.