The Still

Esther fell asleep in my arms last week. She’s seven and I don’t think I’ve had that pleasure since before she started kindergarten. But she was sick and exhausted and what I thought was just needing a quick snuggle before settling down for bed turned into her body getting heavy on my lap, her cheek smooshed against my chest and my kisses firmly available for the top of her head.


We sat like that for three hours until I needed to get to bed myself, or perhaps to pee. Her big sister was away at a friend’s house for the night and her baby sister was already in bed. When do I have this kind of time for my middle.


So I piled up blankets on the floor with extra pillow – and of course towels and the tupperware puke bowl – and we slept side by side through that night and the next while the sick consumed her.


And I gave in and let it consume me too. Groceries were not purchased, the computer remained off, my phone was left in the kitchen, the crumbs piled up on the floor, and the laundry became a growling entity in the hall that I pushed back with my motherhood magic(dirty looks and cursing and undying ignoring) until my guilt flew away.

There were many things I wanted for Christmas this year – new Uggs, a photography workshop, a winter coat, some new silver earrings, good tea. But I received the gift that I was not looking for, and that is more contentment with the chaos and learning to sit still. Two polarizing ideas yet so very related when it comes to motherhood.


Because as lovely and quiet as my children are – our house is not a place of buttoned up shirts, spotless counters and hairless sinks. And the more I wage the war on keeping our lives clean and organized and acceptably presentable and controlling the chaos while never sitting still, the more I find myself angry because living is none of those things.  And a home being used 24×7 is quite frightening on a Thursday morning at 9am.


So don’t come for coffee at that time.


And while I’m not going to ‘let things go’ and I will continue to organize and clean and grocery shop and cook, I’m going to let a little more happy chaos in my life. And welcome more evenings on the couch with a child in my lap.


And realize that the still and the chaos are the important things in my life right now and it’s managing the beautiful dance between them that will set my mind free.


About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, world traveler, and marathon runner. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. Vikki says

    My son had the flu over Christmas and I found myself talking to my kids about what it feels like to take care of a sick kid and all that goes with it. I realized as we talked that the greatest lesson that my kids’ illnesses and injuries have taught me is to let go. We have no control over it – we can only sit in the moment and there is such peace in that when you give yourself over to it.
    Vikki recently posted..The Year of the Fox

  2. says

    I too am learning to be still in the chaos and trying to appreciate it just for being there. My house was an utter disaster at 9am, but that’s because we were busy having fun, not because I’m a bad mom. Thanks for reminding me that perfection isn’t the goal.

  3. says

    The place between the still & the chaos = contentment

    I absolutely LOVE this! Thank you for sharing your beautiful words once again!

    (Oh, I never, ever wish sickness on my kids…but that extra snuggle time, that is a little gift in the midst of a lot of ick.)

  4. says

    You say it so well, this dance that is motherhood.
    So sorry the sickness got a hold of all of you, but glad that you still found some good in it all.
    Healthy vibes your way!
    Love you. xoxo
    Alison recently posted..Three

  5. says

    I so needed to read this right now as I stare at the piles of laundry and the hair in my own sinks. I did the same snuggling last night with my children. Thankfully not because of sickness but due to shear exhaustion from keeping up with the holidays and work and life…just being still is what we definitely need to do more of.

    Beautifully written Tracy!
    Nicole @MTDLBlog recently posted..A Reminder to Cherish {Share Your Life}

  6. says

    I hate that I’m not perfect (to be honest). 🙂 I want my house to look beautiful all the time, and I’m not even disciplined! But it’s good to remember what you remember, and it’s good to have that precious time with a 7-yr old.
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Life in the Trenches: Chapter 1

  7. says

    Oh Tracy, I struggle to type as the last 2 weeks have drained me of all energy and when the last of my sick children felt better yesterday, I got sick. Now I want the cuddles again but I fear I will start this chain over again and I can’t handle two more weeks. You said it all beautifully, but really, even with the cuddles, it was hard. Washing puke covered sheets at 4 in the morning, cleaning carpets at 5 in the morning, laying on the bathroom floor through the night. I am beat. Now, see, I just got all negative under your beautiful post. But here is the thing, at the end of two weeks, my house is now messier than I can handle. I don;t even know where to start. I too believe that things don;t have to be perfect and I want to live and love and not be consumed with neatness in my home. But, now it has almost gone pats the point of no return! I am going to try and focus on the good and on your words. Too funny as I am looking at my last sponsored post of 2012 and have not written since. It was so true, there is nothing like a good night’s sleep!
    Brittany recently posted..There is Nothing Like a Good Night’s Sleep