Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Melancholy Moments; Meaningful Moments

I am naturally a melancholy person.  That may be surprising to some people, even those who know me fairly well, because I generally try to hide my melancholia.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy...I do my share of dancing in the kitchen and singing at the top of my lungs; but the truth is, I am prone to feeling a lot of guilt, stress, and discouragement on a daily basis because I can't do everything that I feel like I "should" be doing or want to be doing.  I am a perfectionist, I am a worrier, and I am hard on myself.  To make matters worse, I am very aware of how incredibly blessed I am--I know that I have no reason to ever feel unhappy--which makes me beat up on myself all the more.

Unfortunately, when my husband is stressed out from work, he develops quite a bit of this temperament as well.  He's naturally an easy going person, but he craves peace, and when he works from dawn until midnight and doesn't get a moment throughout the day to relax (which seems to be the constant reality these days), he is not a very happy camper.  He becomes self-critical, discouraged, and overwhelmed.

So we've been a couple of Debbie Downers around here lately.  Not proud to admit it, but I am against blog facades in all forms, so I thought I would go ahead and acknowledge the truth.

Back in January, we chose a verse from The Book of Mormon as our family "theme" for the year: "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness" (2 Nephi 5:27).  We decided that we wanted to spend the year focusing on being happier in our daily lives.  We thought we would devote each of our weekly Family Home Evenings to discussing a different aspect of happiness, and we also set daily goals that I call the "habits for happiness": personal and family prayer and scripture study, exercise, healthy eating, adequate know, the basics.  Sounds simple enough, right?

Wrong!!  Why is it so hard to accomplish all of these "little" goals in addition to everything else we have going on in life??  And we've only had FHE about three times since declaring our theme in January!  We are awesome!!

In all seriousness, I have a lot of thoughts about goal setting and happiness and perfectionism, but I am going to save those for another post, and I am going to end my day by focusing on something that does make me insanely happy: my adorable son.

Noah wakes up early.  I think it's Ryan's alarm that wakes him up (our apartment is very small), so Ryan will give him a bottle, change his diaper, and let him play in the bathroom while he gets ready.  This morning, I woke up to the sound of Noah's jabber moving closer and closer to me.  Confused, I opened my eyes to see where it was coming from, and I saw a shadow crawling down the hallway outside our room.  I couldn't stop grinning as I watched that little shadow getting bigger and bigger.  I knew that at any moment, Noah's cute little face would peek around the door frame.  What a way to start the day!

He is really moving now.  Sometimes when I turn my back for two minutes, I am shocked to turn back around and find him in a totally different room.  He is a little speed demon, and he loves his new mobility.  I am finding that all of his pants and pjs have dark brown spots on the knees...oops, I guess I better start vacuuming!

He has two tiny teeth poking through his bottom gums now, and when he grins, you can see them.  It is the cutest smile in the world.

Watching Noah grow is such a joy, and I know it will go by way too fast.  I often get frustrated with myself because I feel like I never change.  I have the same weaknesses that I had a year ago, which is sooooo discouraging.  But I try to remember that I can't spend my days focused on my same old imperfections because right in front of me is a little being who is changing--so much, all the time!  I have the rest of my life to worry about my to-do lists and my goals.  Witnessing my son learning to crawl and sit and pull himself up on things--these moments and milestones are so fleeting.

So I end tonight's post with some recent videos of Noah that make me happy.  The first is a video of him splashing like crazy in the bathtub (his favorite thing); the second is a video of him doing his "happy wiggle" while eating breakfast (Ryan filmed this moment sideways); and the last is a video of him giggling in delight when he first learned to crawl (this might be my favorite video of them all).

These are the moments to focus on when I am feeling melancholy.  I am one lucky mama.


  1. I think a lot of us focus on the good things when we write on our blogs. Honestly, when I started reading about your weekly family home evenings, I started feeling the same guilt and self-criticism, since that was my new year's resolution, and it, too has happened about 3 times. But I'm glad that we're in the same boat. I think it's the boat everyone's in. We try our best, then we dust of our knees and keep trying. Love you!

  2. What a happy guy! I love those videos! Thanks for sharing!

  3. 1. I love this post. I can so relate. And your honesty is refreshing. I am sure most people would agree because I am sure most people can relate.

    2. I want to eat that child. I am GOING to eat that child. I promise you it is not possible for him to be ANY cuter. AT ALL.

  4. Rachie my dear. . . i am right there with ya! i certainly have had my moments of melancholy and depression! oh boy howdy have i!?! i think satan pulls that out of all of us to bring us into his state of mind. . . well, good going man because it works! keep doing your best and being the amazing woman you are. because Rachie, you are AMAZING! you were there for me in literally my darkest hour and i will always remember you as a beacon of light in my life. . . love you HONEY!

  5. That crawling video is the best ever! Cheer up, Charlie! Love ya!

  6. I know you don't know me, and I'm not sure how I happened upon your blog. I have read a lot of it over the last couple of months. I love your stories and the way you keep it real. Also, I loved reading your sweet adoption story. As I read this post I just had to comment that I relate to those same feelings 110%. Thought I would pass along an author that I have really enjoyed and has helped me with my "Debbie downer" days. Her name is Brene' Brown and her books are "The Gifts of Imperfection" and "I Thought It was Just Me". Anyway, here's to being not so hard on ourselves. From the outside looking in I think you're great!

  7. I tried to comment a few days ago, I but blogger was being stupid. But I loved your post a lot! I think because I identify with it all. too. well. My perfectionism has been a life long struggle and it gets the better of me far more often than I care to admit. I'm glad that you shared how you sometimes feel because it made my feel a little more normal! Your little sweetheart is certainly a ray of sunshine!

  8. Those videos absolutely kill me! I NEED him.

    I get that way too sis. It sucks. Love you!

    P.S. LOVE the new blog look. I guess I haven't been here in awhile.

  9. hi rachel! i just thought i'd drop a comment....i come on over to your blog every once in a while and always enjoy your honestly. i struggle with some of the same things that you do. i had an epiphany the other day and thought that i would share:

    we are often hard on ourselves. satan wants this for us. satan wants us to get down on ourselves and be self-critical. it is true that the lord occasionally has to chastise one of his children but i have found that when the lord chastises, the child ALWAYS comes away feeling full of his love. i am trying to use this as my measuring stick and to try to see myself through the lord's eyes. if i am feeling down about things, i try to acknowledge that satan is working on me and therefore, i will take away his power by not allowing it. sorry if this sounds like a sermon. i don't mean for it to sound that way. i just had never thought about it that way and it has made a difference for me.

    you are an amazing girl and your family is beautiful. hang in there...there is much joy ahead!

  10. My gosh, it's always nice to hear that someone I admire so much deals with some of the same stuff I do. :) I'm way too good at getting hard on myself AND being melancholy. Unfortunately since I blog too infrequently and only to "catch up" on our lives, I don't admit anything on there. :) At least my posterity will know my deep down musings in my journal. Noah splashing in the tub made me laugh out loud. What a cutie!


I love hearing from you!! Thanks for the comment!