Before Today Ends

Rachel Macy Stafford Stay at Home Parent

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Today I hear…

Whining about her sister having a bigger scoop.
Slamming doors.
The relentless buzz of the dryer: something needs folded…again.

But I also hear…

“This dinner ‘tasteses’ good, Mama.”
The C-chord sounding a bit like heaven on a tiny ukulele.
Tender, loving words in her sleepy bedtime voice.

This is what my life sounds like today.
And if I close my eyes and listen very carefully, that which sounds heavenly overpowers the noise.

Today I see…

Wet towels carelessly abandoned upon the bathroom floor.
Toothpaste blobs inhabiting the sink.
Backpacks and folders filled to the brim.

But I also see …

Gentle hands putting dolls tenderly in their place
A hole where a tooth used to be—her last baby tooth to go.
A love note written in kid penmanship resting on my pillow.

This is what my life looks like today.
And if I open my eyes and look very carefully, that which appears divinely perfect outshines the mess.

Today I feel…

Saggy skin and tired eyes.
Tight shoulders in need of strong hands.
The pressure of the clock and not enough time.

But I also feel…

Soft little lips planting a kiss on my cheek.
Fall’s crisp morning air—summer’s made its hasty retreat.
A small hand fitting perfectly in mine.

This is what my life feels like today.
And if I stretch my arms as wide as they will go, that which brings me peace swallows up the heavy.

Today I smell…

Burnt dinner—again.
Schoolyard sweat in disheveled hair.
Curdled yogurt in the cup holder of the backseat.

But I also smell…

A Downy-fresh nightgown when she wraps herself around me.
Leaves burning as I take an autumn night stroll.
Hot chocolate prepared by small hands for my late night book editing session.

This is what my life smells like today.
And if I breathe deeply, that which brings me comfort overwhelms that which stifles me.

This is my life today.

It is not magazine cover worthy. It can make me want to plug my ears and hold my head in my hands. It can feel exhausting at times. But when I open my eyes, my hands, and my heart fully, what truly matters hits me so hard that my weary eyes are filled with tears.

And in that moment, I gladly give up a picture-perfect life with fragrant aromas, textures so rich, and everything in its proper place.

Because despite the mess, the noise, and the blatant imperfections, I have all that I could ever want: my loves, my life, my faith, my family.

Thank you, Today, for not leaving before I could hear, see, smell, and feel all that was good in you.

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Rachel Macy Stafford

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