Not linear phases, even. Strange phases that start and stop and overlap. There aren't enough hours in the day to give energy to everything that piques my interest and to every bit of motivation for self-betterment I experience.
I'm piecing it together. It's not a whole picture yet and I honestly can't say I see a time when it will be. Right now I want to do X so that in a few years I can do Y, but in order to do that A, B, and C must be in order.
It's tiring, sometimes. It's exhausting to try to remember which iron is in which fire and why the crap I bothered to put it there in the first place.
And then I remember I'm happiest when I keep it simple. Simple goals. Simple relationships. Simple home. Simple fun. Simple health. Simple food.
I have to remind myself to put good out there, into the great unknown that we all share so that it can spread and lay seeds of good elsewhere. I have to remember NOT to put good out there, into the great unknown we all share so that I can get it back someday. I have to remember to bite my tongue when someone makes me crazy because it's the kind thing to do, not because I am afraid of being caught. I have to care for myself so that my kids can learn to do the same when they are older.
I used to say I love to bake, but hate to cook. That cooking was a waste because no one appreciates it. It might take 40 minutes to make a dinner that my husband and son can polish off in less than 4. "Why bother?" I would say.
But when it looks like this, it seems like maybe it's worth it after all:
Somewhere along the line, I realized that the memories I want for my kids are not necessarily the ones we're actively creating. We eliminated background noise. Going out to eat during the week. Arguments over where the shoes should go at night.
We created a quiet home. Music while the kids play. The sights and smells of dinner being made with love. Healthy and hearty foods. Shoe baskets for each family member.
(What? The shoes everywhere could drive a girl batty!)
Sometimes we keep the kids up a little late, and night swim. We watch the stars pull their faces through the night sky. We watch the kids watching the stars. We carry damp naked bodies, sticky with honeydew drippings and warm with fatigue, up to the bath. We sing songs about washing our hair; brushing our teeth. We tuck into bed and kiss and 'ting tongs' and kiss once more. We sit downstairs and await the first little bunny hops from upstairs and tell them to 'get back in bed'. They protest, but secretly I think they love it. I think they love the routine. The warm soapy water and cool green lotion and soft blankets on clean skin and mommy and daddy shushing them and admonishing them to bed.
The safety. The security. The love.
The smell of garlic lingering in the kitchen. The dishsoap bubbles crackling and leaving little prints all over the dirty dishes.
All I can do is hope that someday, these things are part of their memories of a happy childhood.