A lone mini-fig, a seashell (where did my kids get seashells?), and a stack of Christmas movies sit on my kitchen island. My two year old is covered in flour and bits of sauce after “helping” me prepare dinner. (I might also mention she’s clad in pink sweatpants and white “high” heeled shoes, because we like to class it up at our house.) My two oldest children, caught up in some type of “Spy Academy” game they created, have been reprimanded several times today for various offenses, but are now quite proud of themselves for achieving “Level 13 status” – whatever that is.

Our tree is not decorated perfectly. The kids did most of it, and the ornaments are adorably clumped together. All day long, bare feet, train tracks, and other various toys have been spotted under its twinkling branches. The house is far from perfect. Having succumbed to a fantastic book, our clean towels and pajamas sit in a basket in the laundry room, rather than having been neatly folded and put away. The upstairs hallway shows evidence that children have been at play. A naked troll doll lies near a dinosaur backpack, a tambourine, a Thomas engine (Stepney perhaps?), and a plush flower. One can only imagine.

I did a terrible job cleaning my bathroom mirror several days ago. One side is horribly streaky and looks as though one of the children did it. My running shoes have been kicked under my writing desk for weeks. There is a stack of schoolwork and drawings downstairs that I need to file away. The box our new dishwasher came in is still sitting in the entryway, although it is now disheveled and barely resembles a box. I’m pretty sure none of my faucets sparkle, and I’m fairly certain you’ll find smears of toothpaste on some of the walls.

We gathered around the dinner table tonight, digging into some pretty delish homemade pan pizza, while talking about everything and nothing all at the same time. It was a moment of respite. We were together. We were happy. We were forgiven. We were blessed.

Dinner was over, and so was the respite. Nothing gold can stay. I ran upstairs to get my thoughts down “on paper” and escape the chaos of a six person home for just a few minutes. (Bathroom breaks were just not cutting it for alone time today.)

As I sit here writing, holed up in my room on our old desktop (my laptop died earlier this week, may it rest in peace)- my four year old just emerged out of nowhere (they are playing hide and seek, and I think he was forgotten…), pulled up a stool next to me and whispered, “I love you Mom” in my ear. Never mind the fact that he had a mouthful and a half of contraband bubble gum. In that moment of unadulterated affection from my little guy, I could forget that my bedroom floor is dotted with bits of wrapping paper, that our calendar is crammed to the hilt this coming week, and that all I’m really thinking about is getting back downstairs to my book. In that moment, I’m just a mom in crazy love with her son. Everything else is just….everything else. It all sort of falls away.

When you’re moving through the daily grind, you have to take the bad with the good, the crazy with the calm, the mess with the moments (albeit sometimes rare moments) of tidiness. Life is not a Disney movie and we don’t live amidst the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog. Nothing is perfect.

But our daily life is what we make of it. We can choose to focus on the fits and tantrums, the piles of laundry and the lack of sleep. If we choose to, we can keep the problems and imperfections at the forefront of our mind. In that frame of mind, our home will never be nice enough, our spouse will never be good enough, our needs will never be met, and our life will never be what we want it to be. Negativity is a choice – but it holds us back. We can choose to see our life through the lens of “not quite enough.” We can see the home-spun tree, the half-done chores, and the floor scattered with toys and see a big chaotic mess.

I however, choose to see creativity, imagination, play, and family time. I choose to invest my energy into enjoying the moment, rather than trying to perfect it. I see a comfortable and homey house – lived-in, played-in, and enjoyed. I see four siblings who love each other. I see a wonderfully imperfect life. How will you choose to see your life in the coming year?