Middle of the Night Alarms, Kitty Litter, and Other Things I Take for Granted by Beth from Structure in an Unstructured Life
I fumble for my phone in the dark, the trill sound of the alarm working its way into my brain. I squint to see the time as I slide my finger across the screen to make the noise stop. From this moment forward, my brain and my body will not stop until sometime after the sun has set and the stars have become bright. There are wriggling bodies to dress, hungry bellies to feed, drop-offs and pick-ups at school and the sitter, grown up work in meeting rooms and offices, last minute dinner ingredients to be thrown in a cart and hastily paid for, laundry to switch, and messes to clean.
For a glass-half-empty-girl like myself, there are hundreds of things to complain about. Hardships like setting the alarm every three hours through the night to medicate a 103 degree temperature in my baby, and hopefully avoid another fever-induced trip to the ER. Unpleasant tasks like scooping the kitty litter and inevitably always getting some on the floor, another mess to deal with. Even doing what I love can so easily become a complaint, like finding the time and the energy to write the blog post that needs to be published the next day.
In these moments, I have to stop. I have to slow down and take a deep breath. Behind my closed eyes, my mind searches for the place I need to be. When life becomes like a whirling tornado, on a path of destruction, I seek calm in the midst of the crazy. Just like those swirling twists of nature, I find it right in the eye of the storm; in the middle of the chaos and the noise and the speed.
In the middle of my complaints and self-pity, the glass-half-full-girl I desperately want to be, finds my blessings. I realize with every one of those middle of the night alarms, as I sat that tiny body up to drink down the pink sticky medicine, the fever stayed down. And by morning, I had a tired, but healthy little boy. I remember that the kitty litter is just a part of having these itty bitty fluffs of fur running and playing and cuddling around my house, filling me with laughter at their kitten clumsiness and their endless curiosity. I embrace the opportunity to put my words out into the world and have them read each time I hit publish on a blog post, leaving not only my creative mark on the world, but a piece of my heart that will live on long after me in this limitless cyberworld.
My life is busy, and messy, and filled with sighs and tears and exhaustion. It is a whirl of home and work and babies turning into little boys, some days too fast and some days too slow. It is easy to get swept up into the spinning craziness and stay in the outer edges of the storm where everything spins too fast and I feel out of control.
But when I fight hard to find that center, that calm inside the chaos, I can see everything around me. The smiles on the faces of those healthy, happy, perfect babies who will only be this exact age for this exact moment. I see the beauty I have created in the messy and too small home we all start and end our days in; the comfort in the toy strewn playroom and the laundry basket of clean clothes that never seems to make it up the stairs. I am teaching my boys to follow their passion, be it writing words to educate and inspire others, or building structures that endure, or playing sports that capture the attention of fans, be it a handful or a stadium-full, or a million other choices they have in front of them.
The chaos will always be there; but so will the blessings that are found in the middle of it. And while some days it doesn’t feel like it, I choose if I stay in the spinning outskirts of the storm, or the quiet center in the middle where I find joy, grace, and calm. So bring on the sleepless nights and messy house, because this girl’s cup runneth over.
ABOUT BETH: Beth is the creator of Structure in an Unstructured Life. She is a former elementary school teacher turned corporate trainer. She is mama to two boys and wife to a high school football coach. When she’s not learning to love the dirty, loud, and wild life of raising little boys, she enjoys blogging, writing, reading, scrapbooking, and working on slowly making her home into the ones she pins on Pinterest. You can find Beth on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.