Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rounding Up

See what a beautiful, idyllic life I have?

I tend to round up, if you know what I mean.
If I'm telling a story about a woman with 7 kids, I tend to change the story to a family with 9 kids.
When I celebrate a birthday, I have difficulty remembering my actual age, since I've been saying I was 25 since I was 24 and a half, so if I'm 25 now does that mean today I turn 26? No. Today I'm 25. I was rounding up before.
And if Travis asks me how much something costs, and it was $6.99, I always always say it was $6 not $7.
That last one seems like the opposite, right? Like rounding down?
But I don't always round to make things bigger- I usually round to make them better. 
I try not to exaggerate, to be honest in my stories and days - but I can't help but round up.

I've been thinking about it, and I think that's why I'm such a happy person. Because I don't just round up in my stories to other people - but in the stories I tell myself about my life.
August is a perfect, happy, content baby. He sleeps easily and often. He only wakes up once in the night to eat.
And I tell myself (and the people around me) these things, and I believe them - even if they're not quite accurate.
Because they're almost completely true. He is perfect. He is happy. He is content. Almost always.
Sure, sometimes he cries or whines, but he wouldn't ever cry or whine if he didn't have such bad gas - or if I could just hold him upright all the time.
So it's unfair to say that he's whiny, because if he's whiny it's not his fault. He is perfect and content always - or would be, if everything was as it should be.

And August does only wake up once in the night to eat.
Except sometimes he wakes up to play. And sometimes he wakes up that one time to eat, and then wants to stay awake for a while.
So, I'm not getting as much sleep as I think I am.
But I'm still getting so much more sleep than I got when the boys were newborns, that it seems quite alright.  Most mornings, I feel like August only got up once in the night, even if he grunted all night long, so I only slept fitfully listening to him.

So, I think I can predict the arguments: I am living in a fantasy. I am looking at the Emerald City with green glasses on, and can't see that the dingy grey buildings and people around me are really just ordinary.
I'm lying to myself and the world. I'm setting myself up for disappointment if I act like everything is perfect when it's not.

And if you think that's true: you're wrong.  You're rounding down.
I don't think any of us can look objectively on our own lives, so why not give ourselves the benefit of happiness?
My days are long. They are filled to the brim with everything. All the things. Good. Bad. Hard. Easy. Hurt. Love. Strength. Weakness. Everything together at once.

One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books says, "Until their hearts, wounded with sweet words overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness."
And isn't that how life is? The beautiful and ugly, the difficulties and the blessings, the perfect and imperfect are all so jumbled up together and impossible to separate. "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are evil."

So why try to separate life into piles of good and piles of bad? Instead, let it be one big pile of everything - and let the good cast a rosy glow over everything else, until you can believe that your whole life is good.
Because it probably is.
At least, mine is.

This week, we've been tired. Our house has been messy. My kids have all stayed up late. Our dinners haven't gone as planned.
And those things don't even remotely matter compared to the good that's accompanied them.

We've been tired, because we have a smiley baby who sings in his sleep; and we have two healthy, active little boys who want to celebrate summer by day-long trips to the park. 

Our house is messy, because we've been playing in it and working in it. Because Grey and Micah delve into their imaginations and play happily together for hours, building cities with movie theaters, music schools, and railroads - and they have to use every toy they can lay their hands on to make it bigger and more impressive. 

My kids have stayed up late, because they're best friends. They sneak into each other's beds and snuggle, whisper, and giggle for hours before falling asleep stretched out over each other, and they complain, "But I need to sleep with my brother, because I love him, Mom!" when I try to put them in their own beds. 

And our dinners haven't gone as planned, which allowed us to have an adventure as family - finding a new delicious fish taco place - and then driving around beautiful, unknown neighborhoods, planning our dream house and future together. 

Theres a lot mixed up in there together. Good and bad. But I think I'm going to round up.

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Emily said...

I love this, Becky! You are 100% right. Life is too short to get all caught up in bad. Why not round up and focus on the good?

Jenna Duty said...

this is great! love this! it was so fun meeting you yesterday! so excited to start reading your blog now!!

-Jenna Duty

Karissa said...

I love this. So much. It's perfect. I love the idea of letting everything good and bad be in a big pile together, because they are and we need both to make this life the best it can be. I totally round up and I don't think I'm setting myself up for disappointment or living in a fantasy world or something. I just love this little life of mine and all of the good and bad that comes with it.

Unknown said...

I love this.

MARCIE said...

Beautifully said Becky! You should get paid for this stuff!

Marge Bjork said...

This is something I've always admired about you, my dearest Becky.