Ordinary Days...

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I'm taking a week, maybe two, off of Facebook/Twitter... I got to that saturation point where a little detox from the IMMEDIACY of the Internet seemed like a good thing. It's been several days and already I am amazed at how much my productivity has increased. When I'm on the computer, I am more focused... not hopping back and forth checking the latest news and updates and chatter from folks... And when I'm not on the computer, it's not enticing me to come back and check again. It's a good thing.

I thought I'd fill the days with a daily blog post instead...But here it is, Thursday, and I'm just now writing my first one. And even this one feels a bit like a chore. I just haven't felt the need to be present online very much throughout this Social Media Detox, I guess...

And I'm just.... living. Living a string of VERY ordinary days. Days that consist of keeping Noah's insane imagination fed as his sidekick on whatever game/story he is reenacting at that moment. Days filed with baby nap awareness, small jaunts out of the house to take Noah to preschool, to get to the store, to stop by the post office, to go on family walks... Days consisting of making yet another peanut butter sandwich, another bottle, another fast dinner. Days of trying to keep the house picked up, trying to find moments to take a photo or two, send an email or two, make something pretty... Days of quick phone calls to special people, photo texts to stay connected...

A cartoon or two.
Wiping the counter again.
Sitting on the outside steps with a baby in arms, just enjoying the gorgeous weather.
Contemplating makeup/bra/shoes or just foregoing all of the above for the day.
Packing a backpack/diaper bag/my tote for whatever outing we're headed on.
Diaper changes or bum wipes.
Picking up toys again.
Diddling around on the iTouch.
Baby naptime again.

And on and on....

Ordinary. Repetitive. Routine.

Baby in her bouncer, mama and Noah sitting nearby in the sunroom and on the back porch steps.


A headband made to match the outfit... a burpcloth nearby since she's a spitter... Baby chins and cheeks and smiles...


A happy, carefree, imaginative kiddo, 90% potty trained (hallelujah!)... always ALWAYS needing to be near me, to have me engage in playacting games with him...


His 100% pure kid FEET--- the bumps, bruises, blisters... and yes... that is aqua toenail polish on his big toes. He named my feet Burt and Twinkie and loved seeing them painted, so he asked for some paint for HIS Burt and Twinkie. Why not?



And mama-- not really put together for the day, yesterday's makeup on, just spending the majority of her time caring for the two rugrats in the photo with her...Remembering for once to get IN a photo instead of just take them all...

It's not much to write about. There's not a lot of epiphany or revelation going on here. Oh, I might have a burst of fresh thought when out and about in a car or when rocking the baby to sleep...I might even have a half-started blog post going in my head at that moment.  But when there is actual free time to sit and write, those clever ideas are gone and my mind is just happy for a break. No epiphany. No revelation.

Ah well. 

It's not bad. Any of this.... 

In fact, I finally found time to begin a book today--- the second book by Katrina Kenison, the author who wrote that remarkable book Mitten Strings for God I read last summer... the one that shaped so much of my changes last summer. This one is called The Gift of an Ordinary Day, and is more about parenting your kids as they begin adolescence. Mitten Strings For God is about the stage of mothering I am currently in, so when I began this new one, I found myself feeling a little let down, like, "What does this have to do with me? I am nowhere NEAR raising pre-adolescents! Maybe I'll put this away until Noah is older, when I can REALLY enjoy it..."

But I decided to finish the chapter I was on, and I am so glad I did. Because in order for Ms. Kenison to get really deep into how it feels to parent these older kiddos, she has to revisit what it meant, in hindsight, to raise the little ones. 

And hearing it from someone who has been there, is now done, and is looking back, is incredibly poignant. She is, in essence, telling me the future-- an oracle of "been there, let me teach you" that has already been very powerful. And not a little frightening. She makes me understand that this string of ordinary days, seemingly endless, does not, in fact, last forever. That if at all possible, I must live each of these simple, repetitive days with mindful presence, because they WILL be gone, all too soon. 

I love her description of how it feels to be the mom of young children I am right now:

"Intense and demanding as they are, the years we spend with our young children can also be deeply, viscerally gratifying. We know exactly where we are needed and what we need to be doing... At times, the hard work of being a mother seems in itself a spiritual practice, an opportunity for growth and self-exploration in an extraordinarily intimate world, a word in which hands are for holding, bodies for snuggling, laps for sitting." pg.7

And my heart constricts at her description of how that changes... how the clarity of what our current job is fades to an uncertainty of what the older kids will need from us:

"The changes, when they began, were subtle at first. Somehow our treasured family ritual of reading together at bedtime slipped away. No one asked for stories anymore....Baseballs stopped flying in the backyard. A bedroom door that had always been open, quietly closed." pg.7

I am only one chapter into this book. And I KNOW she will help me marvel at the magic of the next stage of parenting. But reading about how we will lose THIS life, THIS string of ordinary days, tears me into pieces right now. 
Yesterday, I might have looked at the above photos with indifference--- "Oh, how cute are my kids? What a simple day... Not important enough to edit or blog..."

But today, I list all the ordinariness and look at all the details of those simple photos... and I know I will miss it all when it is gone. And they become special to me. THESE DAYS are sweet. Their predictability leads to a feeling of safety, and of comfort. I know I am loved unconditionally by my little ones. I know I am doing the right things for them, mostly. We are in a bubble of unity and routine that feels so good that we forget to notice it most of the time. 

But for a few minutes today, I was gifted with the reminder that this is not, in fact, permanent. That as soon as we figure some things out and get to a good place, life changes again... And we are back to figuring out yet MORE things... 


For now, I'll take these ordinary, not-so-remarkable days. I will hold them tight. I will be IN them, as fully as I can be. I am not ready to lose them... not for a long long time will I be ready to lose them.


  1. Ah, Emily you often make me tear up, your posts are always so PERFECT for where I'm at. Thank you for reminding me to enjoy every moment, even the ordinary ones. Hope you're enjoying your facebook vacation! I'm contemplating one myself...

  2. I am BUYING those books. Right now. Because I'm in those stages. I totally applaud you for recognizing the importance of enjoying the gift that right now is. That's inspiring.

  3. sooo funny you should mention this 'facebook detox'! I just blogged about this VERY THING yesterday! :o}

  4. Emily... check out a local {to me}blogger that I've been following for several years. Melody Ross is soooooo inspiring and such a good writter. I think you might like her! :o}
    Here is her 'facebook detox' post from awhile ago...

  5. Lucy has the most amazing eyes! They are the prettiest of blues, and so expressive!

    I can't believe how grown up Noah looks! You can tell how sweet and loved he is just by looking at him! Congratulations on the potty training! A big Hooray to the both of you!

    At the end of this post I was in a pool of tears. And the sad part, is that the growing up happens so gradually that you don't realize that those little things have slipped by until you reflect on what once was. Then you yearn to have that time back. With me...I just keep having more kids. Lol!

    I never want to completely lose those moments. Thank you for reminding me today to be in the moment, and remember that these days slip by too fast. -love ya!

  6. Obviously I don't relate to the second half of your entry as a parent, but I marvel on a semi-routine basis at the difference between "my" first graders and the fifth graders they will become all too soon. Fifth graders are so big. And so loud. And smelly (at least, the boys are - sorry, but it's true). How do such little people become such big people?

    And all that's in addition to contrasting "my" 3 year olds and the first graders!

    And yet, even now, I catch glimpses of those fifth graders, those teenagers - even the adults that "my" kids are becoming. And it's exciting. And for some kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, it makes me so sad - do they really have a chance?

    I'm thankful to you for sharing your ordinariness with me (well, all of us, but I'm selfish - what can I say). It's an ordinariness I can only share vicariously, but that makes it all the more precious.

    Love ya, sis...

  7. facebook detox going on over here too, although I've still be commenting but not posting...maybe I need to just stop altogether. Thanks for the notes on the books. They are in my "shopping cart" now. Isn't it amazing how the ordinary are extraordinary sometimes when you think about the gift of live and love that we've so graciously been given! Enjoyed your words again, thanks for them!

  8. I am so the queen of ordinary, routine days. We don't have anyonl to do playdates with and places like the zoo are so freaking far (and expensive) now that it's just Callum and I, alone in this house, all the time. I can't even imagine what winter will be like when walks and backyard time disappear! Yikes! But it is what it is, so we're just surviving and trying to make the best of it. How I wish we could have our ordinary days TOGETHER!!

  9. Oh, I really don't think I can read The Gift of an Ordinary Day. I'm in that raising a pre-adolescent stage (and the letting go of an adult/child stage) and I think reading it would break my heart and make me wonder if I did enough. Just thinking about it is making me tear up. (partly hormonal, but mostly not...probably.)


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