You just left yesterday for a ten day out of state work training and I miss you already. Before we got married, I used to wonder how it was possible to spend a lifetime with one person, the same person, without eventually growing ever so tired of that person. But then we got married, and it was harder than I thought but also way different than I thought, way better. Those first years were tough enough, as we faced head on our very dissimilar communication styles, and stumbled into parenting. There was much assuming on my part, and much wrestling with insecurity. I looked to you for affirmation and to coddle me emotionally, but you couldn’t.
This stung initially, until over time I came to understand that you had more confidence in me than I did. You drew from me grit and perseverance. As our shared familial responsibilities increased, we were both forced to step it up and take ownership of specific areas – areas that best suited our individual strengths. And those shared familial responsibilities bonded us one to another. Out of leaning heavily on each other to nurture our growing family physically, emotionally and spiritually, respect was born. In learning to serve one another, we got to know one another better – our marriage became the opposite of static. On Mother’s Day you hung a shelf for me and a rod in Ben’s closet. You didn’t announce this of course, I just discovered it as I went along and I felt so loved by you. I felt inspired to gift you back, by scratching your back, for example, when I first wake up in the morning, in those brief quiet minutes before we rush into our day.
Kindness begets kindness. Hard work begets hard work. Faith begets faith. We are separate but one.
Because of you, I can swing it here without you, although more chocolate will be eaten impulsively. You’ve encouraged me from the get go to be brave and independent. And also because of you – because you are funny, and calm, and sociable, and God-fearing, and beautiful; because you get us outside and don’t allow the children to speak rudely to me; because you balance me, and I still adore having your arms around me; because after nearly fifteen years of holy matrimony, you’ve really, really grown on me, I’ll be counting down the days til you come home.Read More
My Mother’s Day flowers are somehow keep on keeping on. Mary and I were admiring them this afternoon. “Is it hard to be a mama?” she asked. “Yes it is,” I answered. “But also really wonderful.” And that’s the truth.
It’s a work in progress. My kids are a work in progress. I for sure am a work in progress. Whoever first said “This too shall pass” was wise – wise as he or she who coined the phrase, “It doesn’t get any easier, just different.” Mothering is magnetic in that it draws to the surface hidden weaknesses and strengths. Each year gets more exciting, and trying, and enlightening. Every day is an adventure – equal parts thrilling and intimidating. I never know from one minute to the next what new stage we’ll enter into or how I’ll respond to those evolving stages and resulting parenting conundrums. Just this past week, I heard the following pour forth from my mouth:
Whose filthy socks are on my desk?
Don’t squeeze that baby chicken.
It might be tough for me to find a leprechaun suit at this late hour.
Why does it smell like pee in here?
Don’t dish out the four square trash talk if you can’t take it.
We are leaving in 5 MINUTES!
Oh wow…so you did your hair all by yourself this morning?
I’m sorry for overreacting.
I’m sorry for picking out the negative and ignoring the good.
I’m sorry for losing my temper; mom’s frazzled.
Choose your battles.
That whiney voice hurts my ears.
Love is filtering yourself. You cannot take mean words back.
I am the parent and you are the child. We are not peers.
How exactly do you mummify a hotdog?
That’s an insane amount of powdered sugar.
It’s due tomorrow?!!
I love you with all my heart.
I’m not perfect, but I am present – hellbent on refusing to one day regret having not participated fully in the daily nitty-gritty details of my children’s lives. And I will sacrifice much (money, pride, time, sometimes sanity) to be a mother first and foremost. And it will absolutely, positively, eternally be worth it.
“White is a non-color,” I heard my son tell his sister.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s true,” I said.
“Yep, it is.” He shot back. “White’s not even in rainbows, so…”
So there. It was an airtight argument, and I was busy with housework -
much too busy for splitting hairs with a bright eyed nine-year-old.
I’ll expand here, however (now that I’ve got upwards of 15 free minutes on my hands),
on my conviction that white is indeed a vivid color, a true and vibrant color.
When I think of white I think of purity, blank slates, light reflected, victory over darkness.
And I think of priestly vestments being changed from lenten purple to an anticipatory white on Holy Saturday.
White as joy, white as love, white as faith in the Resurrection. White as bravery, as action…
“…cowardice is very comfortable and obliging in associating with other passions. It knows very well how to make friends with them. Cowardice settles deep in our souls like the idle mists on stagnant waters. From it arises unhealthy vapors and deceiving phantoms. The thing that cowardice fears most is decision; for decision always scatters the mists, at least for a moment. Cowardice thus hides behind the thought it likes best of all: the crutch of time. Cowardice and time always find a reason for not hurrying, for saying, ‘Not today, but tomorrow’, whereas God in heaven and the eternal say: ‘Do it today. Now is the day of salvation.’ “
- Soren Kierkeegard
Peace and courage to you!
Click HERE to join the Photo Friday project!Read More
On Saturday, my homeschooled nephew, Nathaniel, graduated from the 8th grade. The ceremony, put on by his home school co-op, included graduating seniors wearing caps and gowns, and smiles wide with relief and excitement. Now usually at such coming of age events, I find myself struck by how quickly time has passed (Why, wasn’t it just last week I got my own driver’s license…or engagement ring…or first positive pregnancy test?). Not this time, however. The memories I managed to conjure of receiving my own high school diploma, while watching a small class of 2012 parade down the aisle of a church to Pomp and Circumstance, were wispy at best. I think my mind just refused to go there – to fathom what it would feel like to officially start “adulthood” all over again. Eighteen years old, with its paper thin skin and larger than life aspirations, seems a century behind me.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy for those kids. Their exuberance for the next stage of their life’s journey was quite touching, and even contagious. I’m just also really happy for me. I’m thankful for this other side of thirty-five with its earned scar tissue and penchant for learning just because. I’m thankful for growing ever more comfortable in my thicker, wrinkling skin. Expecting failure now and then, instead of fearing it, has only been good, good, good for me, though that realization, thrust upon me by way of experience, burned like fire. Expecting failure has girded my faith and weakened my pride.
And with the fear of failure diminished, I am free now to throw myself into relationships and endeavors whole heartedly. Having something to prove only dilutes one’s authenticity, generosity and purity of joy. Let the youth have their youth – their sparkliness, smooth complexions and place in the sun! I’m all for embracing the wisdom and dignity of a seasoned soul, a humbled soul, a soul softened, yet strengthened, by perseverance.
I love celebrating with my family all these milestones, and participating in providing an unwavering system of support to each of our own as onward and upward we all go.
I tend to consume myself with the big – big decisions, big scenarios, big events – but it’s the little things that will ultimately save me. Since the vast majority of my life is made up of simple moments strung together, it would be foolish not to throw myself - heart, mind and spirit - more into the present smaller details than the hugeness of tomorrow’s uncertain possibilities. My children are fantastic at reveling in the moment, as most children are, so this week I’ve been capturing the “little things” they cherish. And I took a long walk by myself without mentally rushing through it, and asked my mother to teach me (for the 30th time) to knit, and lingered at the dinner table, and made paper bag puppets with my son for his class project, and in general tried not to live ahead of myself. I am much less anxious here in the now. Only here in the now can I seize hold of the peace of Christ.
Click HERE to join the Photo Friday project!Read More