Pebbles

I have about two dozen posts I’ve either started or would like to write. Updates on Hannah (and all the kids, really). At least two chats regarding the Monkees, plus the details of eating dairy-free while on a glorious trip to NYC to see them in concert. Decluttering, simplifying, and general house posts are lower on the list, along with parenting topics. I’m sure I’m missing something.

But I can’t seem to finish a one. And it’s not for lack of will or trying.

Life’s just overwhelming…which seems to be the new norm. It’s not by any terms a complaint. Just how things are right now. Hannah’s up throughout the night, whether from teeth or an unknown allergen, and Beardslee keeps Dave awake with his own nagging. Add the daily grind and it’s hard not to feel either exhausted or down…or a mix of both.

The kids and I are finally on spring break, so I hope to do some spring cleaning with a mix of resting (I’ve had some health issues lately so this is a must), a bit of family fun, and, yes, maybe even writing. Or, maybe not.

But I recently found myself explaining how it currently feels to a friend, and then to Dave. It’s the best metaphor to explain life right now, and to realize how much we’re actually accomplishing each week, each day, each hour.

Maybe you can relate.

Every task that we accomplish, even those things that we do routinely that seem too mundane to add to our to-do lists, are pebbles. Some are small, quick jobs. Others are larger rocks that take multiple steps to complete. Then there are the boulders that you never seem to check off your list, leaving them to do at a later, less busy time.

These all drain our energies, both mentally and physically. We don’t realize the toll that day-in, day-out meal prep for 3 different diets (5 people altogether) takes, plus silverware, drinks, condiments, and clean-up. Multiplied by three meals. Or laundry. Or drop-offs and pick-ups. Or any attempts at cleaning. To say nothing of the tasks we face at work.

Then there’s the guilt. The guilt of not doing enough “extras” for our kids. The guilt of not keeping up with friends or sending birthday cards or seeing family as much as we’d like. The guilt of not finding a new eye doctor for way-too-many-years. I could go on…but these are stones that we keep pushing forward with us to the next day, hoping that we’ll finally toss one of those guilts away tomorrow when we cross it off the to-do list, finally.

It’s easy to feel the weight of all those pebbles and stones and rocks everyday.

But it’s just as important for us to turn around every now and then. To look back. What do you think you’ll see?

It’s the old stones of everydays past. The breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that your family won’t remember but that you know have nourished their bodies and souls to get them to today. The diapers changed, baths given, books read, tearful baby bedtimes soothed, meltdowns averted. The cat pans changed, vet visits accomplished, moments of petting that have added up to a loving, trusting furry friend relationship.

Speaking of relationships, those stones behind you are the connections, brief as they may be, with your spouse, that add up to that good, safe, comforting place you cohabitate together. The laughs you share amid the chaos, the rare conversations you’re able to actually finish, the shared side-eye over an irrationally screaming toddler, or the pat on the back to let each other know you’re on the same team. These pebbles matter, and they create their own hill, far different from the one you began laying over 10 years before, but far more fulfilling than you ever realized was possible. Your very own hill that will only grow stronger as you continue on together.

But that hill is part of a larger mountain of everyday pebbles.

Looking back, you’ll see the things you’ve forgotten but that your weary mind and body can’t. It, after all, lifted every one of those stones. It placed them, minute by minute, as you accomplished things both grand and minuscule. Day after day, year after year.

You’ve built yourself a mountain.

So, the next time you feel anxious or sad or guilty that you just can’t seem to keep up with life, let this be your reminder to stop and turn around. You’ve been far busier, moment by moment, than you may realize.

Allow yourself the chance to ease your body and mind. Rest. Contemplate. Embrace the slowness of the moment. Because when you get back up, the job of moving pebbles only continues.

And this, after all, is what makes up life. Your very own mountain.

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