1/1/09

Great Expectations

As we traveled to my parent's house for Christmas, skidding along icy roads and coming across over-turned vehicles,
I quickly became annoyed, jumpy, and irritable. I would snap at Ryan for nothing, and couldn't handle any kind of fuss from the small people in the back seat. I was anxious, gripping my door handle and intently watching the road in front of us.



As I sat there playing back-seat driver, I started to think about something a friend and I were talking about recently. My friend said that she's sometimes blown away by how quickly we age, and yet how slow we are to grow up.

We carried on then, laughing about all the physical changes taking place, scorning our naive presumption that we'd always have flat stomachs and zero wrinkles. Then we laughed at ourselves a bit more as we admitted how often, despite our sagging bodies, we feel like we're still eighteen. We both admitted that sometimes we feel like that young girl, not ready to grasp life's lessons, to evolve as individuals, or to mature into a person who lives the things she knows and believes.

As Ryan and the boys and I drove West for Christmas this year, the roads continued to get worse, a result of a strong wind pulling the drifts across our path. I thought about how I had expected our trip to go along smoothly. After all, I had prepared. I brought along a multitude of snacks, books, and even a DVD player to keep the kids happy. So when things started to get a bit slippery, I acted like a toddler, frustrated and egocentric, having a bit of a fit right there in my passenger seat.

And then (oh no), it happened again. My mind started to whirl, reminding me of how often I act like a juvenile in the face of life's struggles, big and small. I have all the peace in the world, and still I completely lose my ability to act as if that peace even exists at all within the daily grind.

I'm always aware of this behavior. Like a person split in two, I float around the room, watching the irritable crank of a lady I become. And when I float around, watching me, I start along a familiar path, a road with winds that bluster across my face and steal my breath, whispering "When are you going to get it right?"

I've finally begun to realize that these voices only lead me to a steep, uphill climb, forcing me to strive at finding my self worth, and leaving me empty-handed every time.

On this particular snowy trip home, for the first time, I stopped dead in my tracks and made a decision to be patient with myself. I pulled my hood over my head to fight the winds, so to speak. It was only then that I could I see the light glimmering through the trees, taking a moment to fill my lungs with fresh air. The air of grace. The air of mercy. The only kind of air that can make it possible to keep plodding along through the snowdrifts of life.

Some changes happen slowly. They are the ones that take a lifetime to master no matter how badly I want to rush them.

It's good to make resolutions, to strive toward being the person I imagine myself to be. But if I fail, it's important to remember there's a process. It's important to believe that I can always continue down my road, even if I'm the one making it a bit slippery here and there. I may pummel off into the ditch every now and again, but there's never a dead end. A detour? Sure. But no, never a dead end.

It's the first day of 2009. A fresh slate, a time-marker. I resolve to make a couple of resolutions that matter to me, and to believe that I can fulfill them. I also resolve to be more patient with myself if I fail. In that acceptance, I'm free to start again, realizing that it's human to fail, and just as human to begin anew, no matter what the date.

Peace in the New Year, friends.

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2009

37 clicked right here to comment:

Kristina P. said...

Beautiful post, Heather. I hope your 2009 is filled with met expectations.

Willow Tree said...

I loved every line of this and I really needed it tonight; Thank You.

Blessings, Carolynn

Stonefox (otherwise known as Heidi) said...

How encouraging, Heather. Happy New Year!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

This post is a favorite for me. I think we've "discussed" before the disappointment and frustration of unmet expectations. I love your focus here on the process; I believe that we make so much more progress than we believe we do when we are really trying. Just like a child doesn't notice he is growing up, we too don't see how our soul is developing as it should... but it does. Thanks.

Cynthia said...

You don't know how badly I needed to read this post today. Thank you. I am SUCH the toddler! Your post was so beautifully written, it really touched me.

Becky said...

I have my toddler moments, too. It's especially hard trying to raise a toddler when I slip into that mode myself.

I read a book called "Scream Free Parenting" and I learned that it's impossible to be a good parent if you haven't "got it together" yourself. Not that we need to be perfect, but we need to do what you did - figure out where we can do better, and then, well, do better.

Way to catch yourself! That's sometimes the hardest part.

MommyTime said...

This is a beautiful post. And I thank you for the reminder not only to really see ourselves but also to have patience with ourselves as we try to change. Happy New Year!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Goethe once said "it is not where you are, but in what direction you are moving." I've always loved that. Happy New Year!

Heidi Ashworth said...

The toddler analogy is excellent since that is exactly how we act (toddlers and adults) when something is out of control in comparison to our expectations. The more we plan the more we freak out when we find we can't control it after all. Meanwhile, failure only happens when we quit trying. Mostly, I'm amazed that anybody EVER had a flat stomach. I never did. boo hoo!

Less Toil Traci said...

So true! Thanks, Heather.

I am going to get the RR pots and pans thanks to your post. Maybe in Blue...I am more of a blue gal--but orange is more hip. But you are way more hip than me. Seriously. You are.

Blessings to you in 09.

LisAway said...

Fantastic New Year's post, Heather. And I think I like this more than a famous book by the same title, or at least I feel significantly more uplifted here.

This is exactly how I feel. Why am I so much less mature than my children sometimes? Sheesh. And how dare I be impatient with THEIR immaturities? I'll be working on this one, too. Thanks.

Kazzy said...

My eighteen year-old self has quiet, secret conversations with my older self and sometimes that is like tectonic plates smashing into each other. I had that experience last week, when I ran my car into a curb on an icy morning. It is hard growing up, but there can always be peace. You are sooo right. Thanks so much for your thoughtful post.

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

I think your battle is half won, Heather. Self-awareness is the first hurdle I think and it seems you've cleared that hurdle well. This post is evidence of that. Being aware of how you behave and why allows you anticipate and know when a course-correction is needed during your journey into becoming a better person. I'm still on that journey, slip-sliding, and falling along the way, but the one thing good about being older :-) is that SERENITY has become a habit rather than a quest.

By the way, I love your new profile photo. As my daughter would say when she was little, "You are beauty-mous!"

charrette said...

I had a similar experience, traversing icy roads on a blizzardy Christmas night.

That process of putting our actual lives in sync with our beliefs and ideals is neverending. (At least for me). Hopefully someday I'll grow up by becoming more childlike, rather than child-ish.

This post is profoundly beautiful.

RosyRose said...

great analogy Heather! Thanks! I too, get edgy on slippery roads.:( Happy New Year to you to!

Sara@ Butterville said...

DUDE! This post was AWESOME!
(that's all I got...member how, when you'd see your friends after class and you'd be all excited to telll them something about the hot guy that sits next to you...and she had something to tell you and y'all were like SO excited saying dude dude dude?) Ok those are what I felt like reading this.
How are bodies age but we never grow up. Ding ding ding!
I actually in a had a hissy fit last night because Hubby was NOT seeing my side so I of course acted like a spoiled brat and told him to "just Shut up." twice!
Ouch, I was naughty, I will apologize after he does...he was being mean...he needs to do it first. If I don't get it, I'll ask for one. I'm not picking up what he's dropping.
I guess I did have more to say.

sara said...

Loved this post!!! It was a great visual in the car.

And I could relate to how "older" is coming faster!!! As I approach 50, yikes!!, I see so much of my mother in me that I never saw before....how I hold my hands, or stir something and then there is a moment of "clashing" because I don't feel inside like I could possibly be that old!!!

Brooke said...

That's why I don't drive in bad weather. It brings out the teenager in me. I have felt like this often, many times thinking "I'm just a little girl. How can I have kids? I'm totally going to screw them up". Thankfully that feeling passes fairly quickly most times, but unfortunately, it is still there.

Carol said...

It's always good to extend yourself a little grace, accepting that you'll fail from time to time in little ways. That grace turns all the little failures into one big success.

Happy New Year!

Beth said...

I'm over here from Kimberly's blog. :-)

Wow, so many good insights here -- I love what your friend said about "we age but never grow up," because I find myself throwing grown-up tantrums myself. And here I thought I was "mature"!

And I love what you said about there being detours not dead-ends.

So yeah -- great read; thanks.

CC said...

I love your analogy of detours, but no dead ends. Well written.

Kim said...

Thanks Heather. I totally needed that today. I'm not feeling well and my darling sweet children aren't listening and that just equals yelling. I was floating around the room also, watching this mean mean woman and wondering how to get her out of my house.
I am free to start again, and I am going to.
Thanks for the reminder my friend.

pam said...

I so know that "float around the room, watching the irritable crank of a lady" feeling. Glad someone else knows it too.
Here's to growing up just a little more this year!

Eowyn said...

What a great post. I've been looking at resolutions this last couple of days and I know I'm fighting it tooth and nail. I hate watching the nasty me take control and I want to work on her--but I must get sleep in order to do so. . .

Jules from "The Roost" said...

Great Post! I love how you said it is a process! I think that s so important to remember :)

kel said...

That is a beautiful and refreshing post! Thank you. ANd I hope you have a fantastic new year.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

You've got something crying out to be published here.

It's a good devotional because 1) People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care 2) You show how much you care by being real and vulnerable

Ergo: You are able to articulate a lot of wisdom by sharing from the heart. As you can see in your comments, it resonated with a lot of people.

And you comments at my site cracked me up--but I do love to be loved by strangers--How weird does THAT sound?

Tooj said...

Couldn't agree more. Happy new year.

Muthering Heights said...

Very insightful and encouraging! Your post is a great kick off to the new year!

Debbie said...

As I'm reading this, I just keep wondering how you got so wise and mature. I feel like the immature one all the time. Good luck with 2009. May only wonderful things came your way, my dear friend.

Jennifer said...

Very well-said Heather--what you say is so true!! Thank you for writing this--it's a great thing to read at the start of a new year!!

messyfunmommylife said...

Thanks for stopping by! Your family is beautiful! and you are way cute too! :)

Growin' with it! said...

that's it heather, i'm convinced you need to write a book! what a beautiful way to say things so truthfully for all of us. best 2009 "resolution" post evah!

Jenni Jiggety said...

Wow! VERY well said!!!

Happy New Year!

Jami said...

You're right! We do have the same resolution this year!

I do have things I'm going to continue working on, I just don't want to be so impatient with my imperfection.

As an aside, I am so happy to see that you are a doula. It's a beloved hobby of mine as well.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I am going to echo all of your other fans and tell you how wonderful I think this post is. I love how you are able to strike a balance in your writing between humor and seriousness. It is lovely. You give us all many, many things to consider as we start out a new year.

Thank you.

-Francesca

Tabitha Blue said...

Beautiful way to say it!! Thanks for sharing. It's so true.. and I'm just the same way in those road conditions.

:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

Related Posts with Thumbnails
 

Blog Designed by: NW Designs