Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Parable of the Toothbrush.

If you have the time, I'd like to share with you what is quite possibly the most important lesson I've ever learned. Even if you don't "have the time," you should read it anyway, because I did just say it was the most important lesson I've ever learned. And you're already trolling my blog.

I like to call it The Parable of the Toothbrush, which is a totally awesome name, but possibly a misnomer. Maybe a better name would be Confessions of a Non-Night Brusher or Riding in Cars with Plaque. (You're getting really excited, aren't you??)

When Jeff and I got married, I didn't brush my teeth at night. I know, I know. Disgusting. Let's all be grossed out together and throw rocks at the girl with the rotten teeth. Maybe some will fall over like a Chuck E. Cheese game. (That really is a Chuck E. Cheese game, but you have a gun, and you shoot at a horse's mouth. I could play that game all day. Probably because it's super fun and a surprising ticket-earner.) But the reality is, I didn't have rotten teeth. I have had about 2 cavities ever and I did usually brush them twice a day, just in the afternoon as opposed to the evening. But despite the lack of consequences, I was well aware that what I was doing was gross. I just didn't feel the impetus to change my ways.

The original reasoning behind this dental atrocity was that I felt like I woke up with even grosser breath in the morning when I brushed right before bed. I still don't feel like that has been disproven, but let me get on with the tale. Jeff has excellent dental hygiene, but never chided or made me feel bad for my nasty quirk. He obviously noticed, because, as I've mentioned on the blog before, he always comes and waves at me while he brushes his teeth at night.

Here's the end of the story: one evening I was brushing my teeth at night and I stopped and looked at my toothbrush and realized that I brush my teeth at night. I realized that I've been brushing my teeth at night for years and I realized that was never a decision I made -- it just happened and I have no idea why or when it did. And I learned quite possibly the most important lesson that I've ever learned -- let's see if I can find the right words to tell you about it.

My life is a little bit stagnant right now. I spend the day focused on the kids, and I check the news and I read a book and I call my mom and I check the news again in my spare time. Jeff comes home. I make dinner, we put the kids to bed and watch a show or a movie together or I read in the bath and then I go to bed. There are definitely variations, but the formula to my life is pretty stagnant. Jeff is so much better than I at this kind of thing. (By "this kind of thing," I mean a well-rounded person.) He works at an exciting and fulfilling job, comes home to his family who all adore him like he was a cult leader or something, hangs out with me, and also spends some time reading literature (as opposed to books), writing, and learning a new language. He also finds time to clean up the house and do the dishes and maybe rescue kittens from trees.

It would be wrong to interpret what I'm saying as a call for help, or even an indication that I am unhappy. I have a very good life and I am glad that I've chosen to give so much of my time to my children. That is what I want to be doing right now. That doesn't mean that I don't have a ton of plans and dreams for when they are a little older, but at this second, I am doing what I have chosen and what I truly want. How many people are that lucky?? But the thing is...

My life is a little bit stagnant right now.

And I believed that that made ME stagnant right now.

But it's not true.

THAT is the Parable of the Toothbrush.

THAT is quite possibly the most important lesson I've ever learned.

Human beings are never stagnant. We are always learning lessons. We are always evolving. I don't care if you aren't where you want to be in life, you are moving somewhere. You are learning something. 

I thought my life was on auto-pilot. I thought my time for growing as a person was on hold. But I looked at that stupid toothbrush, and I realized that I had reversed a years-long bad habit without noticing. I looked at my bed and I realized that somewhere along the way, I started making it and apparently I also started vacuuming. I looked at my children and I realized that all of the sudden I know a crapload about child development theories and childhood illnesses and basically everything that has the word "child" preceding it. I realized that I figured out how to keep Adam from screaming when I wash his hair and I realized that I've started to get reeeally good at doing Avery's hair as she is moving around. I realized that I hang out at night with my husband and we have an awesome time.  I realized that I read a ridiculous number of books and that I know my current events backwards and forwards and I call my mother almost every single freaking day.

You there! Yes you. I want to grab you and shake you. This toothbrush was my Doc Brown moment. It was the moment I hit my head on the toilet and thought of the Flux Capacitor. And if you didn't get that reference, I'm gonna shake you even more!

Hey, freshly-shaken person. You might be living at home. You might be working at a terrible job. You might be going through a terrible time right now. You might not be able to list one good thing that you're doing with your life right now.

But The Parable of the Toothbrush is here to tell you that you just might not be able to see it.

And just because I am physically incapable of not posting a picture of my family. We've been getting a lot of time with Jeff- he started a mandatory training on Monday, September 30th. Being in training makes him "non-essential" as of October 1st, so we Carrs are shutdown.


Chloe Smith said...

Beautiful as usual. You have a wonderful way with words. Humorous and yet serious. All in all more than just a good read, but youre a good person. You motivate me!

chetandbobisue said...

You are awesome. I love your blog, it always makes me laugh but it makes me happy to read your thoughts on motherhood and life.

Val said...

Love it! I feel the same way sometimes. But now that you mention it I have been learning and doing a lot.

Karissa said...

I LOVE this! So much!

Shantel Peaden said...

Wonderfully written, as always. I love the idea that we are always progressing. Thank you for sharing!