I can remember sitting in the sand, the wind whipping my face as I watched the kids play in the surf without a care in the world. I sat there on that beautiful day, in that beautiful place, trying to pretend that it was the sunscreen that was making my eyes tear.
I knew I was standing at a crossroads back then.
Back then, I felt a choice was being forced upon me. But as time passed, I began to see that really, I held all the cards. I could do whatever I wanted.
I spent the next six months trying to figure out what I wanted…and trying to keep my head above water with work, and four kids, broken bones, football seasons and basketball tournaments, meals to cook, homework, riding lessons and a house to clean. I tried to make everything work, when I knew that really, that was never going to happen.
The TV people ask “What was your favorite memory of 2013?” Or “What was your biggest accomplishment of the last year?” And I think to myself…”I’ve got nothing. Nothing to tell.” It was just another year in which I failed to be the person I really want to be.
I look back on the last year and wonder how to describe it…how to describe my life for the last three hundred and sixty five days. How does one measure a year of their life?
Do I measure it in dollars earned?
Do I measure it in voyages taken?
Weight lost, or miles walked or the fifty dozen cookies I baked?
Maybe the number of times I lost my temper. Or cursed (a lot). Or prayed for forgiveness or to be a better wife or to be a better mother or to please God show me the way to do this (a lot). The number of times I cried…or worried… The number of times I smiled.
I could measure it by the number of championships won, or the number of seasons without a single win at all. The number of hair ribbons clipped, or pony tails styled. The number of beats my heart leapt as hooves pounded by me carrying my baby girl, while I am left standing on the side, dust swirling around me in their wake.
Surely I could count meals prepared, or the number of nights that I fed them cereal for supper. Or the number of hands held, freckles kissed, hugs given, I love yous poured forth… The number of algebra problems solved. Pictures taken, love notes written, gifts wrapped. Miles driven. Flowers planted. Paws wiped. Laundry folded. Lunches made each morning, alone in the quiet, softly-lit kitchen.
The number of books read, or games played. Or the number of times I said no, and instantly regretted it. Again. The number of times I heard “You’re the best mom in the world.” Or the number of times I was not at all.
The number of punishments doled out. The number of times I caught someone picking their nose… Number of trips to the orthodontist, the orthopedist, the audiologist, the pediatrician.
The number of trips to Target.
Is there really a way to quantify my life? To measure it with any accuracy? I don’t know. I know that last year didn’t feel all that good, though. I have never believed myself capable of doing it all and doing it all well. I just don’t have that kind of energy or capacity to perform at a high level for any extended period of time without there being some consequences (which are usually that I am terribly grumpy).
I sit here watching the snow which has been falling for about 8 hours now. School has been cancelled for tomorrow. But I have work to do. And I know how I want this new year to be different.
I want more time.
This year, I want more time with them. Time to read together…play games together…time to braid hair.
There will be time for more dates with him.
More time for walks in the snow, and picnics and trips to the pool. More time for games of knockout, or horse or 1 on 1.
More time to make lemonade – the real kind. And cocoa. And cookies.
I want more time for barbecues. More time to eat popsicles and drink margaritas.
I want to more time to sip wine on Sunday evenings like we used to do.
I want time to let the curls of steam from my coffee rise around my face every morning.
I want to time feel the sun on my shoulders each day, and gaze at the stars at night.
I want time to pick wildflowers. Time for more waggily tails and games of catch. Time for fires in the fire pit…more roasted marshmallows.
I want more time. More time for smiles, for talks, for sitting with fingers entwined, for dreams to be shared. More time for simple things — the things that matter to me — so that when I look back on this year, I will say it was the best year of my life.
Even if it can’t really be measured.