“Nostalgia is a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare ourselves and our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed: ‘Remember when…? Those were the days…” – Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
In the first few weeks our kids were placed with us, I had a breakdown in the middle of the night because they wouldn’t stop crying and I was going on two days with only four hours of sleep. I was huddled in the corner of the couch crying just as loud as Cason. A lack of sleep really will do something to your brain. I found myself saying, “I can’t wait for this stage to be over.”
Everyone who came through our house during what I’m now calling “The Season of Cave Dwelling,” comforted us by normalizing the craziness we felt. “You’re in survival mode right now and that’s O.K.” they would say. Thank goodness for people who understand what that time with newborns felt like.
But there was still this little part of me that was sad that this precious time with our newborns had to be considered “survival mode.” Sad that I was wishing this stage to be over with so we could feel normal again.
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol days before you’ve actually left them.” – Andy Bernard, The Office
Here we were (are) with everything we’ve wanted and prayed for with two beautiful and healthy newborn twins, a boy and a girl, EXACTLY what we prayed for – and we found ourselves itching for the next stage.
I would catch myself saying, “I can’t wait until you sleep through the night. I can’t wait until you start smiling. I can’t wait until you can eat fruits and veggies. I can’t wait until you start gnawing on your feet. I can’t wait to take you out for yogurt. I can’t wait to paint and draw with you.”
But for all of those “can’t waits” comes a sacrifice – a sacrifice of the present moment.
A present moment where I can snuggle them whenever I want and they don’t say, “Put me down.” A present moment where I can kiss and kiss and kiss their cheeks like a kissing monster to induce giggles. A present moment where they don’t have to think about adoption, but just feel that they are loved. A present moment where I don’t have to worry if my guidance sent them in a wrong direction and if they’ll resent me for it. A present moment that once the “can’t waits” finally come, you’ll look back and say, “I miss the times when….”
So in our humanness, we live in our world where we’re never satisfied in the moment. Even in the future moments, we’re looking back on the past with, perhaps, an edited memory of what was – because we’re so desperate to be in a moment other than exactly where we are. A moment where we just sit and be with those we love. A moment with no expectations of the future or desire of the past. And while dreaming and planning toward the future is imperative (believe me, I’m a future-dweller), so is being in the present.
With that revelation, even though it is incredibly hard, let’s decide to be intentional in shifting our attitude from feeling like we were just surviving, to doing our best absorbing the present. I know your present situations may be difficult – waiting on motherhood, working to come out of debt, financial struggles, waiting for a spouse, taking care of a sick loved one…
Where ever you are in life right now, just take a moment to ask and pray, “What can I learn from this? What value can I take away? What can I appreciate about this moment, right now?” There’s always something to be thankful for.
Believe me, I’ve been in many seasons resenting the present and waiting on the future. Even now that our prayers have been answered, Aaron and I have had to work hard on being present with our babies in the season we are in. Even the season of no sleep and diapers and spit up…
…because some day getting a full night’s sleep will mean that my kids are grown.