- Kindness. Young and beautiful people are not as sensitive to kindness, because they don't need it. But a harried mom, with three explosive children hanging on her icky-old shirt (the one with the spit up stain on the shoulder), has a lot of sensitivity to even a single kind word, or even a kind glance. Kindness means more to me now that it ever has before, because I need it.
- Magic. Childhood is magical, and I cannot say enough how much I enjoy the magic my children bring with them. Their boundless imaginations, the fairy tales, trips to the library, fairy houses. Will 'o the whisps. I derive such joy from these things, that it truly does make the things I've left behind worth it.
- Faith. I am not being melodramatic when I say that spending day-in and day-out with little children can drive one to desperation. I've been positively trapped; I can only go about a dozen places, I've had no money to spend, and I'm bound by my children's physical needs (food, naptime, diapers). There are two conceivable escapes: 1. Drinking. 2. Prayer. I opted for the latter. I've spent more time over the last three years in honest prayer and faithfully seeking God than the rest of my life combined. My spiritual life has never been richer, and I think this is what Heavenly Father had in mind when he sent me three kids like shots out of a barrel.
- Imagination. I've always been a reader, but I'm such a better reader now that I've had a broader life experience. I've felt a whole world of emotions, hardships and crises that beautiful, young, adventurous Shelley never faced, and I feel like its made my soul.....older. Like there's more texture. This is a good thing, and it makes reading even more delicious than it was before.
The Four Ideas
I think youth and beauty passed me with childrearing. As did adventure and travel. I say this without self pity, because other worthwhile things have replaced them. But I am surprised on a daily basis how much the first twenty-five years of my life were informed and defined by these four ideas: beauty, youth, adventure and travel. I've had to completely shift my paradigm and life expectations, and while I have been making this process happen I've mused on the ideas and grand things that have taken the place of The Four. Thought it might be worth writing down.