I would have called my day yesterday a failure and said that I actually managed to accomplish nothing. Not a single task was completed as far as I was concerned when I crawled into bed last night in my first attempt to sleep. But then my husband with his constant loving humor started cracking jokes and reminding me that I was not allowed to beat myself up, I already had been by ongoing health issues. So he tried to point out that I had accomplished more then I was giving myself credit for.
First, all my children were alive, well fed, and had clean clothes. Is this an accomplishment when it is something I do out of love for them even on the days that I feel at my worst and isn't something I consciously think about because it is second nature? I am not so sure.
Next, I pointed out that I had attempted to do laundry today and it wasn't finished. His response was but your daughters willing worked on it today without complaint and you washed and dried six whole loads. That is something. Immediately my rebuttal was but they aren't folded or put away so it isn't complete right? This was the nugget of wisdom gleaned from this for me: "Tiffany" he said "laundry is an unending cycle so it must be counted each step along the way."
Then he asked me a question: "Why do you refuse to take credit for all the good things you do?" Selfishly I wanted to continue my little pity party and so I said very determinedly "because after 34 years it's a very ingrained habit so why change now?" Well the joke is on me because he responded as he often does with things like:
I've braided my nose hair for the last 34 years, why stop now?
I'm in the habit of snoring when I sleep so why change now?
I love to shave my back hair into patches like a chess board why change now?
I've done cocaine for the last 34 years why change now?
I've smoked all my life it's too late to change now.
As we laughed over the silliness and absurdity of all these statements, because they would never apply to my husband at any time in his life I began to understand his point. Just because something is a habit or you have always done something a certain way, doesn't mean it's right or even that good for you. It is so easy to be over critical of yourself and not remember the good you do at the end of the day, because so often we simply live in the moment and at that moment I was tired and hungry and hurting. But it reminded me of a song by Hilary Weeks called "All The Good"
"While my weaknesses all shine
And I forget
Until He patiently reminds me
I forget about
The good things I've done
The kind words I said
The tiny victories that no one sees
And the changes I've made
And when the count comes in
As I'm adding up the day
In the midst of the "coulds" and "shoulds"
Help me remember
All the good"
So I reflect this morning on the good I need to remember from yesterday:
- I snuggled with my six month old daughter
- I helped my daughters learn how to happily work hard as we washed and dried six loads of laundry
- I helped lovingly direct my kids cleaning efforts so they could be done with their bedrooms in time to go swimming with their dad
- I patiently helped my daughter sew her own superhero mask even when she interrupted my attempt to finish a dress as soon as her sister went to sleep for her morning nap
- I remembered to make lunch for myself and eat it (trust me this is an accomplishment)
- I allowed my daughter to learn and develop her skills in the kitchen and cook lunch even though it would have been faster if I had done it myself
Did I develop talents yesterday? I sure hope so.