The past two days have brought about alarm clocks that go off at times we haven't seen in months; peanut butter sandwiches adorned with heart notes that say, "Hope you're having a great day! I love you to pieces!"; butterflies in stomachs as we assess new teachers who have different methods, specific expectations and routines that are still foreign and largely outside of our comfort zones.
This, coupled with really strong coffee, brand new shoes, painted nails and a mama who has taken a part-time job and wants to do her best for everyone...
has made for well, a little fear and wonderment about what it means to be successful.
This morning, after the kids bounded down the stairs with their backpacks and sparkly school shoes, blowing kisses, I walked into the bathroom to wash my face, brush my teeth and ask myself, what do I want from today...what am I hopeful for in this new season?
And the truth is, I want joy.
Plain and simple.
I'm not afraid to work hard, or to juggle commitments or to fall asleep-dead up from the feet up, but when I say my prayers, I want to give thanks for the only barometer that really matters and that is joy in my heart, happiness in my being.
It's too easy to get sucked into how much money we're making or we could be making, or how many really good working years we have left, or where we could have been, if we'd just sucked it up and kept doing the soul-numbing stuff...but when everyone is gone and you're standing over the sink, splashing cold water onto your face, welcoming in an average, ordinary, Wednesday in the middle of August...it feels really good to use joy as your metric for success instead of your bank account.
Rounding the bend to refill my coffee cup, I found these on the corner of the table and they made me smile and tear up.
The first is a picture of Claire in her new school uniform on the first day with the sun shining, by the swings during recess. The second is a picture of me with the reminder from Claire to not be sad, since I'll be alone during the day, now that everyone is in school full-time.
This is joy.
It's not much, but it's also everything.
And so, I beg of you. Don't be miserable. Don't use your neighbor's metrics for success. Don't project the life of your co-worker onto your own.
Be present. Right now. Consumed fully in what you know to be true, to be real, to be the sure thing.
Find it, cling to it, nurture it...and more often than not, bask in it.
That's where the magic lies.