I was recently introduced to the TV series, Once Upon A Time. I am still on season 1, which first aired in 2011. After watching only 7 or 8 episodes, I am already disappointed it is multiple seasons because I want to see what happens at the END – when they are all happily ever after again. Some people don’t like to know what happens, but for some reason I have always been one to:
- Read the last few pages of a book after only a chapter or two into it
- Check up on Reality Steve’s blog before a Bachelor/Bachelorette season even airs to see who is picked
- Want someone to tell me what happens during a suspenseful movie scene
- Cover my eyes during 3rd downs while watching Iowa Hawkeye football
- Live for count downs
- Desperately want the fairy tale to be true
How did I allow myself to be programmed this way? Why can’t I just live in the moment – enjoying the journey and unknowns along the way?
This world will get you every time. The fairy tale and happily ever after do not exist, nor should we want them to. We are continually disappointed believing in these empty promises and living in romcom movie scenes. Here’s the thing. You can choose happily ever after. As long as you know that the ups and downs of life come with it. We are all a phone call away from tragedy. From injustice. From all of the ‘not fairs’ in life. Recognizing and appreciating ordinary days is the key to true happily ever after. But chasing the fake kind is a sure way to never get there.
My favorite Bible verse has always been Jeremiah 29:11 – for I know the plans I have for You…I hang onto that verse and know God’s will is so much better than my own. When you are able to let go, even if it is uncomfortable because you don’t know the outcome, you always come out stronger. You realize that you don’t know better and if you are just patient the story starts to come together – and you begin to see why all the pieces were needed.
Don’t forget to stop and love the little things…because one day you will look back and realize they were actually the big things. I don’t know what’s coming for me in the weeks, months and years ahead – but I’m going to be thankful for all the little things that I might not have otherwise noticed along the way.
Here are my 25 little things right now, in no particular order:
- When I see myself in my daughter
- Days when my entire family gets together
- Friends that transcend time – no matter how long it’s been we pick up right where we left off
- When my 6-year-old crawls into bed with me at 4 a.m. and grabs my hand in order to fall back to sleep
- Answered prayers
- Unanswered prayers
- Moments when you realize the bigger “why”
- Weekend road trips
- Family traditions
- A clean house (and the 5 seconds when every last piece of clothing in the house is washed and put away)
- Getting lost in my work
- 70 degrees and 0 humidity
- The end of missing someone
- Thunderstorms and snowstorms when I don’t have anywhere to be
- Witty people
- McDonald’s fountain diet coke in a Styrofoam cup
- The smell of rain
- Roller coasters
- Stories that inspire me to be and do more
- 80’s movies
- Traveling – anywhere
My kids and I went on vacation to Maine last month. We were able to stay with family friends so it was affordable, but also a really cool experience to live like locals while on vacation as tourists.
It was a trip of firsts for us – first plane ride for my 6-year-old son, first time at the ocean for both of my kids, and the first real vacation with just the three of us. While there were a couple of moments I felt like a single mom, (like when we flew into Boston late and I had to drive through construction, successfully get out of the city and navigate us to our friends’ house in Cape Neddick, Maine while being the only one awake in the car) the most overwhelming feeling I had was thankfulness. Thankfulness that we were able to make those memories together. And that somehow I was able to pull it off for them.
Maine’s motto is “The Way Life Should Be.” And if you look at this picture of my children running to the ocean, it couldn’t be more true. We don’t always have these moments, but when we do, we all need to take a deep breath and smell the sweet air so those moments stay with us forever.
Looking back on everything that has happened in my life, I cannot say everything is how I imagined it would be. Not even close. But, all I can do is do my best and keep moving forward. Faith and time are the ultimate healers.
SO – while my life up to this point might not be how I thought it would be, I do know it is how it should be. And when you trust in that, everything changes.