After buying a fifth wheel recently we have been pretty busy moving our things from the tiny house we’ve been living into our new (to us) RV. In fact, today we are finally finished. I’ve scrubbed the rental cabin top to bottom, and I feel a sense of relief and pride for a job well done. But yesterday? Well, that was a different story. Yesterday I felt kinda tense. That could be an understatement.
“I really don’t care right now!”
That’s what I had said to my husband when he tried happily to show me how to pair my Pandora radio on my phone to the new sound bar we’d gotten for the living room of our fifth wheel. He walked away silently, and I felt bad. I didn’t mean I didn’t appreciate him trying to give me louder tunes while I put dishes away. I just felt so flustered and overwhelmed by the moving and cleaning that was left to it. I apologized, he accepted it, and I went back across the street to our rental house. Really, the easiest move ever. Just from A to B.
As I later sifted through household items trying to decide where they should go I realized I better put the sodas in the fridge. I spotted my 5-year-old daughter dancing across the doorway and called out to her.
“Can you help Mommy?” I asked. “See those cans on the floor? Bring them over here.” I instructed, standing at the open refrigerator door.
No more than probably 30, maybe 45 seconds of waiting went by before I hurried my little one along.
“Hello?! Are you gonna help me or not?!” I questioned. In hindsight, in an elevated tone.
She looked back at me in surprise, then down to the drinks on the floor.
“Oh, never mind!” I yelled. “Don’t help me. Nobody ever does!”
She stared back at me as I hastily scooped up the cans, eyes wide, and tears began to fall. I’m sure I did an eye roll at that moment. I hadn’t yelled that loud, surely, but my middle child had the tender heart of Mother Teresa. If my tone of voice ever exceeded that of normal conversation she would break down with hurt feelings. Never mind the fact that she didn’t listen unless I did raise my voice, at least a little. A lot of motherhood was about finding the right tone. Finding one that exuded authority and commanded attention, yet didn’t come across like the Wicked Witch of the West, AKA, worst mom ever. Or maybe that’s just me.
“Why are you crying?” I asked in frustration. “Because I just wanted a little help?!”
It was one of those Mommy Moments where I felt like I should be the one crying. But then she spoke through her veil of tears.
“I saw a butterfly. Out the window. And it was so pretty.” She explained.
A butterfly?! And it was at that moment a voice in my spirit reminded me she was just a child, just a little girl who didn’t yet get overwhelmed by silly things like I did. A little girl who still understood that it was ok to stop and watch a butterfly, rather than missing that moment.
I cradled her little face in my hands, and I wiped the tears from her eyes. I said, “don’t ever stop looking at the butterflies! Always stop to see the pretty butterflies!” Then I hugged her tight.
When we decided to change our lifestyle and become a traveling family, it was because of the butterflies. When we decided to sell everything we owned and downsize our needs so we could spend more time together as a family, it was because of the butterflies! And the flowers. And the sunsets. And all that other stuff you miss because you’re too busy with the pressures of life, debt, and an overinflated schedule. On this day I was allowing myself to slip right back into that hurried mindset, but it didn’t have to be that way. Nine times out of ten we created the pressure for ourselves when it didn’t even exist. In a world that was so driven by time we felt like we were always on the clock. Hurrying was the hardest habit to break. I could learn a lot from my 5-year-old.
Later as my husband and I assessed the work completed he said, “we’re basically done. So, in other words, you can relax. We got this.”
Ahh, he knew me too well. He could tell I had been stressing, and he was right that I really had no reason to do so. We had this. We also had a wonderful life that we could enjoy together wherever we wished. We could soak up the sun in Florida, sticking our toes in the cool water, or we could take in the mountain breeze, and stare transfixed at their majesty. We had the choice to enjoy our surroundings, and we all have that choice every day. Even after a long day at work, you can choose to relax and enjoy those around you that you love.
The fact is, there are beautiful butterflies everywhere. We just have to take the time to open our eyes and appreciate them.