Throughout my childhood and into my early teens I dreamed of driving a Jeep. When my age could be stated in single digits, I wanted a Wrangler because that’s what Mr. T sometimes drove for the A-Team, but by the time I took driver’s ed, I knew I wanted a Cherokee.
Oh, no, my friend. That thing that’s calling itself a Jeep? It’s a minivan.
I hope I didn’t just offend you by saying so. Within a year or two, it looks like I too will enter the army of minivan moms. But today I am still a Jeep girl.
We won’t talk about how I rolled my first Jeep one Black Friday night while discussing car wrecks with my baby sister and her best friend. We won’t even discuss how I promptly went and bought my current Jeep even before the shell-shock had worn off.
My Jeep is old—a 1999. It’s not really that beautiful, or even comfortable. But it’s homey and friendly and it feels right. Plus, because they don’t make them anymore (ahem), it looks classic (to me) despite its age.
Today my Jeep decided to quit on me. I’m hoping it’s not the final death, but it made me wonder once again—are my Jeep days at an end? Must I really enter the world of true motherhood and leave the last vestiges of carefree singleness behind? Do I have to grow up and get a practical vehicle?
Please note, I would love a newer car…as long as it’s a 2003 Jeep Cherokee in pristine condition. My insanity is clear.
Clearly it’s a Jeep thing, and even I don’t understand.
When you read this, I’ll either be in a location that has little cell service and no internet, or will have returned from said location. Either way, as I prepare to take a family vacation, the one thing I’m most excited about is that we will be unplugged.
My media addiction has been bothering me recently. Then, not two minutes ago, I came across this video (on Facebook, of course) and became more anxious than ever to head for the hills.
Please take a moment to watch this video. Technology is a blessing. I love that Facebook allows me to stay in touch with family and friends all over the country. Text makes life so much simpler…and so much more difficult. Sometimes I wish there were an “off” switch or an “out of the office” reply for the messages that flood my phone.
I need to unplug because I need to be happy with silence once again, to enjoy a book, to play a game with my family, to just be.
I’m a woman who tries to cram too much into her days, and my family suffers for it. As My Guy prepared dinner last night and the Little Butt clamored for my attention, I typed furiously, answering emails, wrapping up invitations I’d promised clients, replying to the constant barrage of texts, and trying to complete “just one more” project after another.
In the midst of my frenzy, My Guy asked me to look something up on YouTube and I put him off for “just a second.” I still don’t know what he wanted to show me. The Little Butt came running into the kitchen to say, “Hi, Mom!” and give me a squeeze and I barely acknowledged him. I’d have time soon enough.
After everyone was in bed and as I laid my head down on the pillow, it struck me how little I’d actually seen my son yesterday. True, I’d been with him from sunup to sundown, but had I truly been present? Hardly.
I’ve got time, I told myself. He’s only two. I’ve got 16 more years to be present.
Then it hit me. With an attitude like that, I’d allowed countless moments during the first 11% of his time in our home slip by. And who’s to say I’ll actually be blessed to have a child that lives a normal life and reaches maturity?
All I have is this exact moment.
During the first months of our marriage, I freaked out about lots of little things. (I still do, but that’s fodder for another post.) At one point, My Guy sat me down and said, “We are in the first five minutes of our marriage. Relax. We will work these things out.”
That is great advice for a worrier, but sometimes as a doer I focus on the remaining “hours” we have together and take time with My Guy for granted. How many moments with him have I lost because of my focus on a project or because I chose to enter the comatose state of a couch potato?
Life is a flower, a sunset, a concert—if I don’t catch it in the moment, that moment is lost forever. Nothing living remains the same.
I truly don’t know how to turn my driven self into someone who is present, but today I’m going to look into the faces of my boys and cherish the fact that I have these moments. Then tomorrow I will do it again, and again, until it becomes who I am. I will fail and at times I will be the half-present wife and mom on the laptop, but I will brush the distractions from my eyes and begin again.
Today I will be present.
I’ve shared the full-length version of this quote once before, and you can view it here. But after a week like this one, I need to keep this reminder in front of me!
Yesterday afternoon a customer called, alerting me to a significant mistake I had made in her credit charge three weeks earlier. She spoke kindly and with empathy, but as I looked at my records, I discovered that through one wrong keystroke I had indeed overcharged her a significant amount of money.
Thanks to the credit processing program I use, the problem was easily corrected. I’m simply out that significant amount of money I had assumed was mine.
While I love statistics, numbers and accounting are not my strengths.
This happened once before (although not such an expensive mistake that time). In fact, I remember it was at the same exact point in my first pregnancy. I suppose that means I can blame it on the baby, but part of me thinks I should be in complete control of my mental faculties.
I don’t forgive myself easily.
When I told my sister text-brigade (made up of three sisters and two adoptees) of my mistake and my guy’s gracious response, I told them it would be easier had he been angry with me. They reminded me that I’m being hard enough on myself and that his response was the correct, loving one.
Kind of like God.
Although he didn’t say it at the time, I could picture my guy saying, “It’s only money.” And it is. The stuff doesn’t grow on trees, but neither is it the essence of life.
I’ve always been a Romans 8:28 girl, but recently I’ve found myself getting caught up in the day-to-day living so much that I forget how God truly cares for me. He’s in the little things, too, and he’s working it all out for my good. While he doesn’t cause my mistakes, like a loving parent he allows me to make them so I can grow up. And, like a loving parent, he’s there to comfort me and help me move forward as I deal with the consequences.
He shows me mercy and grace. And those are the exact qualities he wants in my life. Sometimes in order to show mercy and grace to others, I must first learn to give mercy and grace to myself.
Rather than cry over my mistakes (that’s so yesterday afternoon), I’m going to use every reminder of this goof-up to show myself mercy. And, while I’m at it, I’ll also use it as a reminder to slow down a bit during the next six months.