When I was a teenager – and I mean teenager in all of its eye-rolling, heavy sighing, sarcastic glory – my grandparents moved from Michigan, where my family had always lived, to Florida. This move meant the end of Christmas dinners together and the beginning of weekly Sunday morning phone calls (mind you, when we lived in the same state, the phone calls were far less frequent). During these phone calls, one topic dominated the conversation – the weather. I still remember having conversations with my grandfather that went like this.
“The Weather Channel says it’s snowing there.”
“Um, it’s not.”
“The Weather Channel says it is.”
“Well I’m looking out the window and it’s not.”
And so on.
When my husband calls his parents each Sunday (again with the Sunday phone calls), the conversation very quickly turns in a familiar direction – the weather. Temperature, the presence or absence of precipitation and what form it took, wind, the amount of sunshine, all are covered in great detail.
I tell you all of this to set the stage for my realization of the week – motherhood has a lot in common with the weather. The unpredictability, the occasional volatility, the rapid swings from cold to hot and back again. Motherhood is chock full of such moments. And many times, I feel as unable to control the weather patterns sweeping through my home as I do what mother nature herself is visiting upon the outside of my home.
But this week brought a combination of outside and inside weather that led me to a subtle shift in thinking. It is my hope that this subtle shift helps me become a more effective manager of my children's - and my own - weather patterns. J
The weather in North Carolina is prone to change quickly. As I mentioned, I spent the majority of my life in Michigan so this is not a new concept. But this week we have experienced some extremes. Sunday was purely and simply North Carolina at its best. It was warm and a little breezy with skies the perfect shade of Carolina blue – an intense, almost unreal blue that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
Then came Monday and Tuesday. Raw, rainy, miserable. The sky was low and dark gray. I don’t believe so much as a single ray of sunshine made it through the clouds either day.
Extremes of weather outside were matched inside. We had moments, hours even, of delightfulness with children getting along and playing well and even – gasp – listening the first time. Then there were the other times – arguments, yelling, and fits being thrown over minor, and often imaginary, wrongs. Those moments – like the dreary weather outside – made it more difficult for me to find the beauty.And I think that’s okay. Not every moment – or even every day – of motherhood is going to be filled with peacefulness and obvious joy. Sometimes the days are gray and difficult to get through. But just like the sun came out today – making the memory of the past two rain-soaked, ugly days fade quickly – so, too does a smile, a cute giggle, a snuggle at just the right time work to erase the memories of those challenging moments.
And just like the rainy days serve a purpose – making us truly appreciate those cloudless, sun-filled days, the stormy moments of motherhood can do the same. So the next time I’m in the midst of a moment that threatens to make me hide in the pantry and pull out my hair, I hope I can remember that soon – probably very soon – I’ll be presented with another moment that will bring me to tears of gratitude that these three beans – these beautiful babies of mine – were given to me to love and care for.
In the meantime, I’ll make sure to always have an umbrella and an extra jacket handy – just in case.