Thursday, February 12, 2009

Small Successes


It's becoming increasingly clear to me that almost everything I manage to accomplish around here can be considered a small success. I always seem to have about thirty things going at one time, but nothing big to show for it at the end of the day.

Or maybe I need to scale down my definition of big success from "writing the Great American Novel" big to "having one completely clean room somewhere inside my house" big.

It's all semantics, my friends.


I turned the kids loose in our unseasonably spring-like weather yesterday, and I let them get as dirty as they wanted. That's huge step for me because I am not too fond of the mud cleanup. In fact, it's what I dread every spring - the mud.

Instead, I took a deep breath, put a laundry basket at the back door, and set them free. They shoveled dirty snow, they found mud under the snow, they jumped in puddles; the splatter factor was impressive, but I said nothing.

When they came in, I calmly helped them deposit all their muddy clothing in the basket, and while they put on clean clothes I took the basket to the laundry room immediately. I treated the stains and washed and dried the whole load before bed last night.

And we all went to sleep happily.


While the kids were outside I washed the kitchen and dining room floors instead of going on Facebook.

I was tempted to list this as a big success, but I didn't want to admit how lame I am.


Fiver had a colossally bad day at school yesterday. Crash and burn would not be too strong a phrase to use in this situation. I pretty much lost what little cool I have, and scared the kids by just sitting down in the living room and crying.

I called Rob and at one point in our conversation I told him that I was so sad that I felt I couldn't look ahead to a time when every day was not fraught with emotion and stress. I knew that if I could just change my mindset, I would be able to pull myself out of sadness, but I just couldn't seem to muster the strength to do it.

Then two things happened:

As I was doing the dishes and getting ready for choir practice, the refrain of one of our songs popped into my head.

The title? "Nothing is Impossible with God"

I couldn't get the lyrics out of my head, even though we hadn't sung the song in a while, but eventually another thought replaced the song.

The thought? This quote from Anne of Green Gables:

Anne: "Haven't you ever been in the depths of despair,

Marilla: "No. To despair is to turn your back on

Well then.

When I arrived at choir, I pulled my music out of my box, and there on the top I saw the music for "Nothing is Impossible with God." We are singing it at Mass this week.

I took the hint that was coming at me with a huge neon sign.

While I still don't know what the heck to do for or with Fiver sometimes, I'm going to remember to take it one day at a time. I can't worry about how he's going to be in seventh grade, I have to focus on how I can help him in kindergarten. That's a big enough job for today.

To join in the small successes, head over to Faith and Family Live!


  1. I love Anne, but I don't remember Marilla's remark. So very true.

  2. I love Anne too!!
    Tomorrow is always fresh—with no mistakes in it

  3. I still marvel at the transformative power of music. Combined with the Word it can be especially powerful. I'm very impressed with how you didn't just dismiss things as circumstance and found the strength to pull out of that funk.

    And, yes, you do need to scale down your definition of big success but I think most of us could use the same advice. I became much happier when I realized that I could be either a great mom or a system architect that went to conferences and help establish network protocol standards. That's when I started looking for my current job.

    I gave up on the house a long, long time ago. Right now I go for the ability to see 50% of the floor, no visible clumps of dog hair and at least one pair of clean underwear and socks in everyone's drawers.

  4. Ooh, I love your post--it is so much like me! I, too, have an aversion to kids playing in the muck, and have to fight the urge to throw a fit when I have just done a load of laundry and they come in wearing yet another on their bodies!

    I, too, consider getting my floors washed a big deal. Typically, I wash the floors when my socks start to stick to it...

    I, too, have been known to break down during bad homeschooling days (my 7 year-old son can be really challenging when he is not in the mood to open a book). I sometimes wonder if they will need years of therapy because of some of my episodes!

    Yes, sometimes just getting through the week with the kids fed and in clean clothes, the house somewhat tidy and a few pages of workbooks done is real success!

  5. I'm a firm believer in the small successes - you have to consider every victory to be momentous, or otherwise it can be hard to get through the day. Great story and great message!

  6. Aimee- I love when you share these moments because you make me feel normal. Or, uh, semi-normal. Thinking of you and Fiver.

  7. Hey, it's OK to be overwhelmed! And you are feeling that way out of love for your child. You want the best for him. You want to help him be the best Fiver he can be.
    I am right there with you on the restorative power of music. One of my favorites when I am feeling overwhelmed is "Cast Down Your Cares" or "Only in God."

  8. I am impressed with your outside/laundry success! I also hesitate to let my kids out on muddy days...more because of my OCD husband than anything, but the cleanup is torture and you did it by bedtime, impressive!

    I love is therapy, glad it helped this week! I have the utmost respect for you and the way you are handling things with Fiver. After struggling with Dancer this year I have a whole new respect for what parents of special needs children go through...just getting through a day is a huge success!

    Do you think I can count making it through Science Fair week with all my children still living as a success?

  9. HUGS Aimee! I'm glad the message was able to get through to you. Sometimes the despair is so great that we can't see it. I'm glad you saw it. It will work out, even you are having a hard time seeing that right now.

  10. I am lame enough to agree with you that #2 is HUGE--I love FB, but when I have a lot to do I must stay AWAY--LOL!

  11. I think you're my hero. ;)

  12. I love this post ... and you sound so much like me ... especially with the two first things you posted about!

    I, too, need to start focusing on the small successes in life, especially the small successes in being a mother to young ones.


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