One day at a time

By Published On: April 22nd, 2011

Written by: Suzanna April 21 2011 Yesterday, was a big […]

Written by: Suzanna

Yesterday, was a big day for me and Tom. We found out at 16 weeks and some odd days that our little one is still healthy and kicking.

And, (drumroll, please) we finally have the answer to the great boy/girl question mark. I am going to wait until next week to unveil that little secret. In the meantime, I would like to share something with you that may save my sanity over the next 18+ years, and if you’re anything like me, it may save yours, too.

It’s a passage from a Catholic devotional read to me by my mother-in-law after I shared feeling overwhelmed by the future. I explained to her that at nearly every moment in time since I found out we were expecting, I have been imagining the entirety of my child’s life coming all at once—stretches of sleepless nights, two years in diapers, 12 years of school plus college—phew! Just thinking of it made me feel exhausted and completely ill-equipped.

As my MIL is still in the process of raising eleven children, she is a walking book of wisdom on all things related to motherhood. I am sure she could have offered her own opinion on the spot, but she didn’t. Instead, she quietly pulled out a devotional given to her by her own mother-in-law many years earlier. Although neither of us Catholic, the truth and beauty of the words rang loud and clear. As she read, I felt an invisible weight lifted from my already-harried shoulders. The passage is titled “One Little Secret of a Happy Life.” Here are a few excerpts:

“One secret of a sweet and happy Christian life is learning to live by the day. It is the long stretches that tire us. We think of life as a whole, running on for us. We can not carry this load until we are three score and ten. We can not fight this battle continually for half a century. But really there are no long stretches. Life does not come to us all at one time; it comes only a day at a time. Even to-morrow is never ours until it becomes to-day, and we have nothing whatever to do with it but to pass down to it a fair and good inheritance in to-day’s work well done, and today’s life well lived.

And this one:

“It is a blessed secret this, of living by the day. Any one can carry his burden, however heavy, till nightfall. Any one can do his work, however hard, for one day. Any one can life sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely until the sun goes down. And this is all life ever means to us—just one little day. ‘Do today’s duty; fight today’s temptations, and do not weaken or distract yourself by looking forward to things you can not see, and could not understand if you saw them.’”

Until I heard those words, I was sure that when the baby was born I would need to be capable of performing all of the duties and having all of the virtues required of a wife and mother over the course of her lifetime all in that single moment in time. No wonder I was hoping the little one would incubate for nine years not nine months. To only need enough wisdom, enough patience, enough energy to get me through 24-hours—what a relief! With a lot of help from above (and a little help from our espresso machine) that is something even I can handle.