Up until three weeks ago, I was a mum who was on survival mode. Who was knee deep with her priorities in the wrong order. Who was in the middle of a dark battle between envy and jealousy. And, who forgot the simple joys life has to offer in those in-between moments.
Enter Only Love Today.
I started this lovely book in Florida. And, I owe her writing my overwhelming gratitude because that one week of our vacation gave me the chance to connect, embrace beautiful moments, and change my life for the better. It may seem a little dramatic, but it is the truth. Her words still echo in my heart.
Only Love Today opened my eyes to the way I love my three boys.
It made me slow down. As in REALLY SLOW DOWN.
To watch my oldest smile as he sleeps soundly.
Or to see the tiny dimples that form on the cheeks of our sweet, baby boy when he is happy.
Or to notice the way his eyes dance when the boys and I come to greet him at the front door each day after work.
It made me realize to appreciate each of their strengths and to look past their flaws.
To accept my four year old as a wild little boy who is full of spirit. Because that spirit is going to lead to something great.
Or to take the extra two or three minutes to let him splash in the bath tub and experience the amazing things that happen when you just let him explore. Like hearing his sweet laugh.
Or to love everything about his quiet and steady heart because is it those same attributes in which he leads our family and keeps us safe each day.
I had an epiphany on our bike ride last weekend. I could spend these next few years rushing. Rushing to get to the next part of our day, to the next location, to our never-ending destination. Or I can stop. Choose joy. Jump in a puddle holding his hand. Snuggle our baby when he is teething in the middle of the night. And, laugh, as in really laugh, about the silly moments of our day with my best friend.
I realize this life. It is going by quickly. When I think about our sweet, baby boy turning one, part of my heart aches that I spent much of his first year living in a state of worry and daze as I tried to make being a mama of two look perfect. But, then I realize, much like Rachel Stafford, it is never too late to stop. To change. To say enough is enough. To let go of perfect. To strive for grace. To say yes to the ones who hold the best pieces of your heart. And, to say no to everything else. Because when I am ninety years old, I will never care about how clean the house was, the clean dishes in the cupboards, the kind of car I drove, the way our home was beautifully decorated, and the kind of career I had and the money I made; no, I will ONLY choose to remember the people I love-the relationships I invested into that led to lifelong friendships, the countless memories I shared with the one I am lucky to call my better half, and the children, grandchildren, and possible great-grand children who will remind me daily how truly precious this life is.
To anyone who is struggling to remember what matters most in life, read her words. They will change you and leave you feeling an indescribable amount of peace.
This book. It was the kind you want to hug at the end. To say a silent prayer of gratitude to both God and this beautiful writer. And, to promise yourself, everyday may not be great. You are going to make mistakes. A lot of mistakes. And, you NEED to forgive yourself for those mistakes. But, always choose to be mindful and present. And choose love. Because let’s be honest, love never fails.