I was in a serious funk last night. And I couldn’t pin point why I was, I just knew I was, knew I didn’t want to be, and was frustrated with myself for being in the funk. No matter what I did, the funk continued and that frustrated me even more.
When it was bedtime I was SO done with the day. I was sincerely needing the kids to just go to bed and I wanted to go to bed and get the “new day” moment in the morning. This day was a bust.
Every night my husband and I divide up the nightly “chores” … I don’t love making lunches, so he helps the kids make lunches before bed so I don’t have to do it in the morning. He doesn’t love reading bedtime stories and dealing with that, so after we have our family prayer time, we send the kids up to bed and he finishes up working on the lunches while I go tuck the kids in and help them get into “sleep mode.”
sleep mode: body still, comfortably lying on the bed, eyes closed, deep breaths, thoughts about love and things that bring joy.
Some nights I really don’t feel like doing the whole “bedtime” thing. Some nights the kids take FOREVER to be still and quiet down. Some nights I read or tell them stories and they STILL don’t go to sleep after that and it’s frustrating.
Last night I was in the “just go to bed and I’ll tell you stories tomorrow” mindset. I knew though, that they would go to bed easier if I read them a story, so I grudgingly grabbed a book from my “secret” stash, one they hadn’t seen in a long time, and walked upstairs to read to them. (the 3 oldest just go to bed … we hug them and they go off on their own and sleep like tween/teens do) I was sort of “guided” to do this, grab the book and actually read to them … I was truly just feeling like nixing the whole thing and just telling them goodnight really quickly, but something made me grab that book and walk up the stairs resigned to the task of helping these little ones get to bed.
When I got upstairs I could see that the kids were a little wound up … one was jumping on the mattresses (6 year old), one had a headache and was slightly teary and frustrated (9 year old), and the other one was talking continually (4 year old. she does that a lot). I said I would read them ONE story and then it was sleep time.
So I pulled the book out and told them I would read the page and then turn it around so they could each have a chance to look at the pictures. Let me remind you here, that I was in a BAD mood and just not thrilled. I was not happy to BE in a bad mood, but I was in that mood all the same, I don’t know how I had the patience to do this or even be up there but somehow I did.
I read the first page and as I read they all came and sat on their knees in front of me on the bed – 3 little people … 6 eyes trained on me and the book, waiting for me to turn it around to see what was on the page. I was slightly startled at how quickly they had come to settle down and listen.
When I turned it around they looked and as I read page by page and showed them each one they became more delighted with each turn of the page. They started looking at the animals on the pages and talking about them, they smiled, they looked at each other with charmed expressions and quietly listened and watched and enjoyed each page of this little bedtime book … and I somehow, I don’t know how – I was given extra patience energy last night for some reason – patiently waited until each was done looking before moving on to the next page.
By the end of the book, the words I read “my love, my love” did something … my 4 year old watched me as I read and her eyes sparkled and lit up as I said “my love” to her … she was enthralled and I could see JOY in her eyes. She looked so beyond thrilled and I had one of those “heart melting, joy expanding” moments … you know the ones? The kind where you’re doing something because you know it needs to be done but you don’t really want to, but by the end of doing the thing, your energy has shifted and you are SO grateful you did it and you realize that the Universe was helping you in a way you weren’t able to help yourself … this was a gift. The funk that had enveloped me lifted and I felt lighter.
I was amazed as I sat in front of these 3 kids. They had given me something that I needed. I finished the book, they all seemed satisfied, which was a miracle itself, and I kissed each one on the forehead and said “goodnight, I love you” and turned off the light and walked downstairs. They went to sleep. Just like that.
As I got downstairs my little 2 year old was on the bed and he smiled at me. I tickled him and he laughed with this little laugh of joy and freedom and I had another moment that God was saying “look at these KIDS! They LOVE you and they love life and they are joyful and happy! They can teach you something.” And I realized in that moment, after a day of wishing I could just run away, that they HAD taught me something I so desperately needed and I was grateful.
I went to bed with a heart full of love and expanding joy. I had not thought that possible earlier that evening, but it happened. The Universe had given me the experience I needed to shift my perspective. And somehow that little shifting from my burden and weighty thoughts to lighter, happier, more joyful things changed everything for me in that moment.
If nothing else, life should be enjoyed. When things are heavy, find a way, ANY way to lighten the load. Give to another. Serve another. Help another. Share love and joy with another … LAUGH! Smile more … Perspective can shift if you just sit quietly for 20 minutes and smile. Force yourself to do it if you must, but the physical action of smiling literally changes your mood. Try it. It works.
Today, this moment, I am grateful for lightness. I am grateful for joy. And I am grateful for my kids and that they remind me to lighten up and just love life. Loving life is why we’re here after all … and I’m glad there’s that.