Cheers to another (rainy) Friday, my friends! PNW’s fall has hit us hard this year with much-needed rain, cooler temps and, of course, dark mornings and evenings. While fall in the PNW isn’t as beautiful as fall in NNY because, let’s be honest, nothing is quite that beautiful, we’re grateful for fall this year…in large part because we have our soldier home with us again!
Ryan and I managed a date night last night for the first time in almost a year, and it was such a great time just taking the time to talk, work through this last deployment, and share what’s been on our hearts. This deployment was much harder for him than his last deployment and, shockingly, this deployment was actually easier for me. We were talking about why that was, and I realize that part of it is because of the things my kids have taught me. For today’s Friday five, I’m sharing five things my kids have taught me and hoping that maybe, just maybe, they’ll offer other mamas some peace out there, too!
1 // Showing vulnerability doesn’t mean you’re weak
It means you’re human! I tried so hard during Ryan’s last deployment to stay strong all. the. time. This time, I didn’t try so hard. I let my kids see when I was struggling, to an extent of course, and they often responded positively. They fixed behaviors. They were extra sweet, and they always offered cuddles. Even better? It showed them that it’s okay to feel vulnerable sometimes; we just have to rally around each other.
2 // Dance parties fix almost any bad vibes
There were plenty of evenings that I just couldn’t do anything else. I was exhausted, I was mentally done, and the kids were grating on each other’s nerves. What’s a mom to do? Turn on Spotify! Pump the tunes. When all else failed, dance parties improved all our moods, and turned things around in spades.
3 // You don’t have to be perfect; just present
My kids don’t care if dinner was cereal or scrambled eggs. They don’t care about the fact that I lost my temper over spilled milk, or the fact that I woke up some mornings too tired to function. They care that I am present, that I am involved, and that I am there. Their love is never conditional on things. Instead, it’s a blind, unassuming love, knowing that they can always count on us and rely on us to be there when they need us, both emotionally and physically.
4 // Put down the tech
I’ll be honest, this was hard during deployment because we rely on a lot of apps to keep us connected with Ryan when he’s away. When we’re not talking to daddy though, or I’m not taking pictures, they’ve taught me that putting down the phone and focusing on the present is what they really want. They want to see is in it, not just absorbed in our phones.
5 // There’s no better medicine than the great outdoors
We’ve done our best to stay busy and outside as much as possible in the PNW, and whenever we find ourselves feeling smothered or tired, we go outside. We explore. We hike. We find hidden gems like Gold Creek Pond. Half the reason we stay sane in the PNW – even with the weather – is because we embrace both the rain and the sun, and we just breathe it all in every chance we get.
I’m always learning life lessons from these little humans, and it may surprise you that even a 6-month-old can teach you something about life! These are little things my kids have taught me though that I would not have otherwise seen though, simply because they’re present each day, building relationships, growing, and seeing the world through clearer eyes. I’m endlessly grateful for that, especially through this last deployment.