Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Our Dreams of Tomorrow

As a little girl, I imagined adulthood, motherhood. I knew I would arrive there one day, and everything would be as I imagined. It would be blissful. We'd look like one of those families in the conference Ensign. The hours I spent drawing families, kids-in-a-row, would come to life, complete with the horse in the backyard.

This image has been on my mind lately. What would 13-year-old Ashley think of my day-to-day activities? If my teenage self were to come visit this life "A Christmas Carol"-style, how would I react?

Most of us, I think, when we answer this question turn toward the negative. I'm not as carefree as I thought I would be. I'm overly consumed with day-to-day tasks.

Despite my tendency to turn towards the negative, I've actually found hope in this "Christmas Carol" image. I can see that the joy is there. It's already there, I'm simply not giving it my whole attention.

It is true, the messes, the emotional roller coaster, the to do lists, the grown-up tasks I was naively unaware of as a teenager, those are still there even though they weren't a part of my daydreams. But they do not drown out the joy, the happiness that comes with building a family, growing up and moving forward.

It's hard in the thick of it to see the joy everyday. I do have instances of clarity, days I love or moments I cherish, as we all do. A struggle I've faced in this phase of life as stay-at-home mom to three kids at home is that everything is the same. The same to do list. Day in, day out keeping little people happy and capturing joy when life is a mess.

But looking at my life through the lens of my 13-year-old self has given me new understanding. It allows me to put gratitude back in it's proper place. I can have peace every moment, and not just during some of them. I can sincerely say I am "living my dream." I can take the time each moment, every day to thank the Lord for what my life is and what He has given me. How awesome is it that I have three little personalities in my house? How funny are two-year-olds? How great is it to see a 4-year-old try out new talents? How happy to share a joke with the man that I love? Asking these questions won't make the laundry and the dishes go away, but it will be a lot harder to be overwhelmed by them when I am constantly enriched by these happy thoughts. 

What joy would your 13-year-old self find in your current life?

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