Mommy Moment Monday…Find the Unexpected Beauty

It’s easy to get lost in the hum-drum of everyday events.  Wake up the kids, make breakfast, get dressed, get the kids on the bus, clean the house, get groceries, run errands, pick up the kids, go to appointments, make dinner, baths, read books, fall into bed.  The next day, repeat.  You get the point.  Within all of that madness there are moments of unexpected beauty that can easily be lost if not sought after.  My own mother was a master of this.  She could turn any frown upside-down, sing a made-up-song at the drop of a hat, rejoice in the beauty of the everyday.  Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens.  That sort of thing.  You could just feel excitement when she was around.  Like anything was possible.  Like anything could happen.  And even if nothing earth-shattering was happening it would still be fun.  And there was beauty.  She would talk about how much she loved a clear counter, the snap of a fresh sheet being tucked onto a mattress, the warmth of folding towels just out of the dryer.  Her optimism was infectious, and her touch made our home a place where everyone wanted to gather.  When you view the world through these lenses, the beauty is easier to see.  Moments that would have gone unnoticed become something to appreciate.

I was making dinner the other night with a heavy heart.  I felt like I had been in the kitchen all day, and that my work was never done.  I could see only the madness and not the magnificent.  I felt weighed down with all there was to do.  It was making me snap at my two boys and feel like I was trying to walk through cement.  I was making chicken noodle soup from scratch because it was freezing outside and it was something my mother would have done.  As I was cutting the celery, I decided to lob off the end of the stalk to save time.  I rinsed the long sections and diced them up into the pot.  As I moved my hand to sweep the nub of the celery stalk into the garbage something caught my eye.  I looked closer and picked it up.  This is what I saw.


A perfect rose.  I couldn’t believe it.  I realized how my perspective was clouding my observations of the world around me.  I was missing the beauty in the unexpected, the happiness in the routine.  I finished chopping up the vegetables into the soup and covered the pot to let it simmer.  I wiped my hands on the dish towel and put a smile on my face.  There were two little boys in the house that needed a hug.

I just found a bowl of cereal in my bathroom…

Motherhood can drive you nuts sometimes.  I used to be a pretty stylish lady.  I could put together complete sentences, read books, and then have intellectual conversations about said books.  I could shower, fix my hair, and put on make-up every day instead of just picking one of the three and calling it good.  

I didn’t have drips of milk running down my walls, orange cheetos-smudges on my windowsills, or a package of wipes within reach no matter where you sit in any of my rooms.  I didn’t come across random bowls of cereal in the bathroom (that really happened, and not too long ago). 

All of this chaos leads to mommy moments where you question, “what did I do to my neat, organized life?”  Well, in my case, my life was never that neat.  But it was my mess, dang it, and I liked it.  All of these feelings are normal and temporary.  Temporary because your little kiddos are growing every  minute, right before your bleary, sleep-deprived eyes.  It may seem like the days are dragging as you wash the bottles, tie the shoes, change the diapers, remind of the manners, bake the cupcakes.  But these days won’t last forever.  

One of the mentor moms in a MOPS group I attended shared the following poem and it has stuck with me years later.  It’s called Wet Oatmeal Kisses and it’s by Erma Bombeck:

The baby is teething. The children are fighting. Your husband just called and said, “Eat dinner without me.” One of these days you’ll explode and shout to the kids, “Why don’t you grow up and act your age?” And they will.

Or, “You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do. And don’t slam the door!” And they don’t. You’ll straighten their bedrooms all neat and tidy, toys displayed on the shelf, hangers in the closet, animals caged. You’ll yell, “Now I want it to stay this way!” And it will.

You will prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn’t had all the olives picked out and a cake with no finger traces in the icing and you’ll say, “Now THIS is a meal for company.” And you will eat it alone.

You’ll say, “I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around, no pantomines, no demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?” and you’ll have it. No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti, no more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent, no more dandelion bouquets, no more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, missing mittens, or ponytails falling out.

Imagine, a lipstick with a point, no babysitter, washing clothes only once a week, no parent meetings, carpools, Christmas presents out of toothpicks and paste.

No more wet oatmeal kisses.

No more toothfairy, giggles in the dark, or knees to heal.

Only a voice crying, “Why don’t you grow up?” and the silence echoing,

“I did”

Brings me to tears every time.  When I am in the midst of all the craziness I try to remember this poem, hoping it will give me some perspective.  Then, if that doesn’t work, maybe I’ll eat a bowl of cereal in my bathroom and cry.  🙂