Your identity is not anchored to the person you wake up next to. You are not the sum of your achievements, your kid’s achievements, your failures or your kid’s failures. Your value is greater than your ability to produce, to harvest or to make seven healthy meals in a row. You are more than the thoughts in your mind telling you all the shoulds, coulds or tries. Your being is rooted in a stillness and a peace that began before time. It’s rooted in a Truth that is all-knowing but also mysterious. Your identity is rooted in the quiet peaceful place where comparison and harsh thoughts have no life. You are created to know Love and to live in freedom. Live your calling from the place that rests deep inside where Truth and Love reside.
We’ve been struggling lately with listening well and acting on listening. But today was different. I’m moving the boys into the same room. This little guy was my helper, and together we disassembled and assembled his little brother’s crib. There was a spark in him as we teamed up and I gave him a role that was bigger than his solo abilities. He stood back and saw what we did together and literally danced. “Look mommy, we worked as a team!”
Above all else mothering makes me feel totally alive. Also exhausted, but that’s a part of living. These are my people and they have their own personalities and character traits. We are individuals who are fully connected, but each on different places in our journey through life. These truths make every day an adventure, an adventure that causes me to feel totally alive…even at 12am, 3am, 5am and during stuff like sleep regression and growth spurts and working through fear of the dark and brothers not wanting to share or picky eating. Each day is about being fully alive despite, and because of, the feelings that flow through the day.
What if there was less negative social justice and political banter on social media and more community action? What if we reserved our conversations about human rights and financial turmoil and whispers of war for interpersonal commitments that foster a local difference? What if we each picked a little gap to stand in, then found others standing in that gap and together make plans that build bridges or ladders?
In this season of life my local calling is in my home. I believe young families are the bricks that build a safer happier community. I’m standing in this gap and I’m glad to have surrounded myself with other brave people doing the same.
Find your local gap, then be there. Let’s allow ourselves to feel small in a big world, because all wonderful beginnings start small.
There aren’t words to describe my passion for raising our boys. Everyday is different, and still some things remain the same. Like how I tell his big brother over and over to be kind to your little brother. Today I literally said out loud, “Do not use your body to get what you want!” Said that after a common selfish toy issue. Then in my head I thought so very loudly: don’t ever ever use your body to get what you want. Not now. Not when you’re 16, 22 or 57. Never. If there is one thing I desire deeply for my boys it is this: to act in truth and love and to intelligently communicate their feelings without ever feeling the need to have power over any person. Raising people is a big deal.
In this moment the words “I love you” were being said. First by me then my him. And aren’t those three words the blazes that guide us along the trails we journey on as parents…the easy days and the hard days* marked by a solid love. For life, there will be love.
*Yesterday I drank wine for dinner and gave my kids cereal. It was a hard day.
I was walking around the mall, shopping for a hat, when a woman caught my attention. Like big time. In a way that inspired this blog post.
Let me pause for a moment: going to the mall feels semi 1995ish, but it’s the middle of August and I wanted a climate controlled place to stroll with my newly potty trained toddler while sharing a cup of Auntie Ann’s pretzel nuggets with my right-hand-man-husband, Tyler. Also on the drive to the mall, I mentioned to Tyler that “our mall” is the highest grossing mall in southern PA. So, I guess the mall isn’t as out of date as I thought.
Okay, now that you have context for my mall-stroll, let’s take it back to the inspirational bit.
There she was sitting on a leather bench shifting the weight of her Louis Vuitton Neverfull GM bag while three boys, under the age of four, swarmed around her. Side note: that bag was totally full. A double stroller sat nearby, but clearly she’d let go of the ever so great child restraint system to live a bit dangerously. She was full-on momming-it, but with some sense of self-preservation.
Maybe it was her full Neverfull bag or her designer skinny jeans with holes in all the right places. It might have been the hip, but not too hipster, trucker hat she was wearing over her dirty blond hair (I actually mean dirty in the way it means, and not as way to describe a shade of blonde.) Hats have a new meaning when you have small children.
It could have been all of those things, but what totally caught my attention was her shirt. It read, “In memory of when I cared.”
My mind went into a slow-mo scene, akin to the staple slow-mo scene in every Wes Anderson film. I slowly strolled passed her as she slowly looked up from the flurry of human activity around her. We low-waved to each other, motivated by motherhood camaraderie. Like a biker’s nod.
In real-time she didn’t see me, but I definitely saw her. Her image and her momness saturated my thoughts as I shopped for my hat.
Before I became a mom I cared about different things.
I never used to care about my mornings. Now my mornings are my anchor to the day. It’s quite and there’s just me and a good book. Usually a book that fills my mind with hope and wisdom about things that where and things that will be. And, coffee. Always coffee.
I used to care about how people perceived me. Not so much of a focus anymore. Caring about self-approval is higher on my priority list than how other’s vibe with me. Not caring about perception also makes me a better listener and observer of life than when I was “all about me”, which in general is just something everyone has to go through and sometimes gets stuck in. However, letting go of managing other’s expectations is just so freakin freeing.
There was a time when I cared about my work performance and making sure whatever I was producing was just a bit better than what the client wanted. I don’t care about producing stuff for others. In actuality, that seems to make stuff I work on more fun to work on (imagine that) and better received by clients and an audience. Mainly, though, I have the freedom to create and be creative in the framework of my sweet family. I pour more emotion and intent into this than I ever did to my work performance. (I realize that sharing this fact out loud might infringe upon future client work, but just being honest might also be something to be appreciated.)
I used to love the smell of Jo Malone Orange Blossom on my skin. I still adore Jo Malone, but after running out of the scent, like 3 years ago, I never replaced it. That’s because I currently really care about what I’m putting onto and into my body. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with perfumes. There is just more of a focus, personally for me, to spend money on different things. What I cared about then isn’t what I care about now. Also, smelling amazing while full on momming-it just seems excessive.
I’ll be thinking all day about the memory of the things I used to care about, but not in a lamenting way. More so in a way that celebrates growth and forward movement in life. I’m glad to have the memory of things I used to care about. In that gap between then and now there’s been a lot of change, and with change comes growth. Plus, the courage to rock a hat over dirty hair while your littles do their thing on a lazy August Sunday afternoon in the climate controlled mall.
Before I go, let me know in the comments: what memories do you have that show your cares have changed?
To you, strong mama, who knows love.
You know what it’s like to wake up three times a night and still rise for the day with the sun.
To you, strong mama, who knows compassion.
You know what it’s like to carry and nurture a small life while facing poop, puke, endless dirty laundry and dishes.
To you, strong mama, who believes deeply in the future for your children – you are a visionary.
You see past the daily stuff, and can rise above a toddler’s melt down in the cereal aisle, to see a developing independence that will drive your Little toward great future goals.
You can look into the eyes of your frustrated kid and see passion and determination- things that will make the world a better place.
You can see past your needs and confidently walk into social situations without a shower in the past three days.
You, mama, have a tenacious love. You are deeply valued at home and in society. You are beautiful, brilliant and you are the perfect person for your important role in life- now and later on. For always.
Photo credit by Pixabay