The saying I’ve heard since the day I became a mother goes a little something like this “Stop and smell the roses.” A saying that has proven to be true over the seven years that I’ve been a parent. What does it even mean? Everyone should stop and smell a good rose if their walking by. I imagine myself running errands, trying my hardest to get my four year old through the grocery store before the one hour limit breaks and hell breaks loose because the kid can’t be good in public for more than that these days. I visualize, lugging up those groceries, putting said groceries away, breaking up about a million and one arguments in between folding three loads of laundry, getting dinner started, all well being sick as a dog. I didn’t pass any roses a long the way. Did I stop dead in my tracks at the grocery store when I passed the carefully wrapped roses by the produce department? No, I ushered my child to the check out lane knowing we were creeping up to his “being good limit.” Should I have stopped at our rose bush in the front yard and took a deep breath in when I angrily walked past them to break up my five hundred and ninth argument of day, and it wasn’t even noon yet?
“Stop and smell the roses.” A conversation my husband and I have quite often when we steal a few minutes of alone time here and there. do you get two minutes of alone time every so often? I know there are weeks that pass before we do. Oh wait, yes we do, at night, when the kids are sleeping because you have nothing else to do after the kids are sleeping. It’s that peaceful time, when you embrace the gratitude of two healthy sleeping children, a moment to reflect on a busy day. It’s when I forgive myself for the mistakes I made that day and move forward promising that tomorrow will be better and brighter. So yeah the last thing my husband and I do at the end of a day is discuss anything other than what is on the agenda for tomorrow and how were the kids today, ending with a thirty minute rant of how my youngest decided to put the whole role of toilet paper into the toilet and my oldest screamed “Why do I have to do everythiiiiiiing!!” Yes she is six people.
However, this past holiday weekend when my husband and I got a whole five hours, yes five consecutive hours to ourselves that saying came up again. I looked at him and said “How are we supposed to stop and smell the roses when life doesn’t allow us to?” He just looked at me and said “Your right.” My kids aren’t even involved in that many activities yet, sure I’m a Girl Scout leader but other than that my kids haven’t showed an interest in anything else besides the few times we tried soccer with a great big fail come the end. We still find ourselves engrossed in the every day struggle of carpooling, appointments and every day tantrums. I am the first to know that this saying is true. My father died at 49 and didn’t get to see his hard work pay off by being proud of my sister and I as we got older. I’m sure my mother had a hard time smelling roses as she raised my sister and I. My father was NOT as hands on as my husband. I’m also pretty sure not once while raising us did she ever think that she wouldn’t get to enjoy her grandchildren with her husband one day. Over the years I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve witnessed friends loose parents more frequently, and I’ve even heard of lives being cut way too short at an age even younger than myself. However, here we sit, not stopping and smelling the roses at times. Still.
So what does it mean to me? Well I feel like the saying should be “Stop and smell the roses when you can.” Meaning life doesn’t always allow you to stop, but at times it does allow you make yourself stop to smell those roses. In your own mind you can find the happy medium. I’m still learning. I started this blog as a way to communicate, document my children’s lives, and of course share great food. A long the way it made me realize that being a writer is all I’ve ever wanted to be. Depending on social media was a part of my job for years. I worked hard on building an audience, working with brands, and becoming a brand myself. When I get caught up in the everyday chaos of life, I always go back to the same solution. Unplug. Leave your phone behind, capture the moments in your mind instead of your camera, spend a few days off of those social channels. Take the time to sit and enjoy your kids and family because your kids aren’t going to remember Momma playing they are going to remember the phone constantly in your hands. I promise you, Bob down the street doesn’t care that your kid just threw up, your friend Molly doesn’t care to see your 112th selfie of the month and though Aunt Betty does love seeing those weekly pictures you post, she will see them when you get to them, even if it is weeks past the holidays. In my eyes living in the moment is all anyone can do to really stop and smell the roses. Disconnecting always puts me back on track. My daughter is now six and a half and I still stand in the doorway and watch her sleep. Her body gets longer by the day and her grasp around her favorite puppy gets looser and looser every evening. I see my now four year old son outgrowing his Thomas the train the bed. His arms and legs draped over the sides wrapped up in a heavy blanket, sweat on his face because he insists on using that warm blanket in the hottest of evenings. (he’s not persistent like his father at all) I even watch my husband some nights. I stop long enough while shutting off his light to whisper to him over and over again “I am a good mom I promise, I am a good mom.” I see the calluses on his hands because he works so hard with those beautiful hands to support our family, I notice the wrinkles on his face that weren’t there the day that we got married, age is something my husband handles just fine, it just proves that he came home after a long day and played with his kids no matter how bone tired he was. I stare at the empty packages of candy and snacks on the bed side table and I smile, knowing that he is still the person I married eight years ago. A sugar junkie.
In those brief moments at night while I’m watching my family and regrouping for another day, I’m secretly stopping and smelling the roses in my own way.
How do you stop and smell the roses?