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Admittedly, I’ve needed to change the way I perceive things. Mostly, my life.

My hands are full.

I’m at this point in life that I’ve only heard people talk about. My parents are aging, and I’m smack dab in the middle of what seems to be some of my busiest parenting years to date. Our blended family includes five boys–the oldest is 19 and the youngest 9. I’m still packing lunches but also juggling work, games, carpool, wrestling matches . . . and doctor’s appointments with my aging father.

Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe. Like, actually. My sleepless nights don’t consist of bottle feedings or diaper changes, rather, sending goodnight texts and checking my dad’s location to make sure he hasn’t gotten lost somewhere. Again.

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My days often get away from me I feel guilty about that. I am painfully aware of how quickly a moment can become a memory. And my new responsibilities have reminded me of that more than ever before.

But, still. Life. It’s overwhelming.

For fear of sounding ungrateful (and in an attempt to change my perspective), I should clarify that I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change my busy life for anything. Busy means I have things to do and people who need me. And that’s an honor I never take for granted. 

And also a perspective changer.

Unexpectedly, I didn’t have to work today. At least not at my real job. And days like this are rare. When I have a day at home it’s usually planned, and I have a million things scheduled to do. But not today. I didn’t have time to plan for today.

And what a blessing it was.

It was a true mental health day. Or maybe a physical health day. My mind and body are equally tired if I’m being honest.

I took my time today, and that’s something I rarely get to do. I can’t count the number of times my 9-year-old has asked me why I’m always rushing. And that reality bothers me more than it does him. 

Today I took a deep breath. I looked around. I paid attention. To everything. I saw things with different eyes. Fresh eyes. Rested eyes. 

My perception of the things I am thankful for changed. 

I’m always most thankful for my kids. But today I watched them get up late, scatter around, be irresponsible, forget wrestling shoes and run out the door.

I saw them change their outfits (twice), check their shoes, fix their hair, and take weird selfies. All before school.

I got to hear my little guy beg for “one more inch of sleep” and witness the smile that came across his face when he heard my voice.

And whatever that meantone more inch of sleepI felt it. And I gave him that inch.

I was there to appreciate the half hug and mumbled “love you” that each boy gave me before heading out for the day.

I drove my little guy to school, listened to all his favorite songs, and we sang at the top of our lungs. We laughed out loud, and he squeezed my hand when I told him I would pick him up after school.

His smile said everything.

Hopefully, his perception changed.

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Today was just one day and I know there will be more crazy days, more sleepless nights, and more moments when I can barely catch my breath. There will be more days when I’m sure I’m failing and more times when I think I’m losing my mind.

And I won’t call it a resolution, but I’m going to make a real effort to appreciate the everyday moments I have overlooked for too long.

Perception changers.

My heart is full and perception really is everything.

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Abby Chase

A little about me . . .  I am a twice-divorced newlywed with 3 sons, 2 bonus sons, 2 dogs, 2 jobs, a widowed mother, and an alcoholic father. While being a wife and mother are my main priorities, I run a small nonprofit church-based child care center and also coordinate the 21st Century Community of Learners Program at our local high school. I choose to find humor in my chaos because laughter is, of course, the best medicine.

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