Thursday, August 16, 2018
"Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened."
Same with mamas.
I see you mamas out there, sending your babies off to school...to classrooms...to playgrounds... with tears, with hesitation, or even leaps of joy at the re-established routine. I see you letting go of their hands and sending them off to a place without you.
You are just a week ahead of me. I will walk in your shoes in less than seven days.
Besides the excitement of new schedules after a long summer of sleeping in and chaos, my breath hitches on remembering the hovering fear of school days while I go about my child-free hours. So many fearful thoughts: Who will influence them? What person will stand up for them? Who might walk into their school at any moment...???
You might read my blog posts of a heart tormented by some possible answers to these questions. You, as a mama, might have the very same thoughts swirling about your conflicted heart. Conflicted. That's how it feels, isn't it? You know what supple ground awaits them, yet you also know the risk of letting go.
But, in my core, I know the truth.
And there is nothing in my spirit, in my heart--from my God--telling me that fear is bigger than the truth.
The truth is, I am willing to let go of the reigns of my children's daily encounters and pressures and opportunities, knowing that life lessons are to be learned, that I am to trust something bigger--not the system, or the administration, or the security officers, but I am to trust God with my children when they are apart from me.
It's something I've struggled with all my motherhood life--Trusting God with my babies whom I love more than any other living thing. Perhaps my nurture instinct is overdriven more than others...but I doubt it. I see the love on the faces of other mamas. Just as I see the courage. Just as I am infected by their courageous contagion. And while not every mom I know or see is trusting their kids to my God, I realize that, for me, their actions are challenging me to step away from my over-nurturing tendency, and to look to the One who is molding me and shaping me...and caring for my children even more than me.
The truth is, that I am bolstered by the courage of those mamas around me, the ones who trust their kids to others, who still believe in a system grounded in good, who make my spine stiffen with bravery that just as they are, I am willing to let go even amidst fear and anxiety.
So, when you see a mama slipping their fingers from their babe at the door of a school, know that they are walking a fine trust tightrope. Their spines are stiffened, their courage abounds. And I am a keen observer, watching and praying and hoping. Their courage abounds and I gather it up, pocket it, and pray that I'll find my confident stride next week when I let my own children go.
Monday, August 13, 2018
One step up, two Looks Back. That's my mantra right now as I struggle along this climb.
You can’t really tell how steep this part of my walk is. It’s pretty deceiving on the way down. Doesn’t feel like much of a workout. Seems like a lazy stroll. It’s the way back that proves its steepness. I walk this evening with my heart in a tizzy. Cardio is certainly at work in my chest, even if I am only on the strolling part of this journey. So many beats of low melancholy, with tumultuous thrums filling the in-between. I crave the exertion of that uphill stride, only to distract from it all. To feel my muscle, hear my labored breathing would relieve my racing thoughts.
After sixteen years of motherhood, I didn’t realize that the stroll would be somewhere in the past days of diapers and breastfeeding babes. I stood at the very top of the incline, worrying about the steep, and the tumble that could come if my sleep deprived self messed up the nap schedule, or fed solids too soon. But, it was all a pleasant stroll...an instinctual drive to meet the needs of my children. But now? Somewhere at that twelve year bend, i have been struggling with the climb. I’ve faced those baby years in pictures and nicknacks and I pass them by with a worrisome step. Are the unsavored moments taunting, “you miss us now, don’t you”?
I know there are those who scoot their children up and out with joy. But is that joy interlaced with doubt and sorrow at all? I will admit that I sweat the stuff. My brow is covered with swirling beads of warring emotions like the oily marbles I played with as a child. It’s joy, regret, sorrow, pride, and so much love I could burst. I huff and wonder if my pace will ever be steady again—when car keys are handed over, and curfews are challenged—when broad shoulders fill the door, and I wrestle with swollen pride and choking tears.
Too much—this parenting climb. Too difficult for a mama’s heart to bear when she once took for granted the pudgy fingers and cheeky smiles.
The curve of the crest is ahead, and I try to slow down, breathing in and out to find some calm amidst the mama-storm. I try wiping away sad to marvel at the joy.
One step up, and two looks back.
Sunday, August 5, 2018
Ever look at a picture and remember what you were thinking in that moment? I have these pictures hanging in my living room, and we were such a happy little family four years ago.
But, I know better.
I see a miserable wife and a teeth clenching husband. I see kids who wondered if their parents would last. I see a family standing in a very dark valley, eclipsed by pretty scenery and bright smiles. Am I the only one who had a season that lingers like a deep stain in the past? If only I could get rid of all reminders. But there was still life there, still love—even if it was put to a fiery test over and over, day after day.
Sometimes, I wonder what to believe when I scroll through social media. I choose to believe that every smile out there is genuine, and every happy compliment is sincere. But, if you have pictures like me—know. Know that I understand the duality.
These family portraits are proof that we can fake it.
I pray that our bumpy past is not “normal”. But then again, I wonder if I could bear the thought that we are the only ones? Messy, ugly, horrible memories amidst tender, loving ones. Glares and biting words and threats of divorce. Children who pretended not to hear, but then implied their knowing—breaking my heart. Over and over. For days. Weeks. Months.
Praise God that our valley walking brought us up and out—Praise God that even though faith was rocked, He stayed close. But, that time is never far from my thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if we sit in the consequences of that time still—a tinge of resentment, an unsteady trust. Our smiles are more genuine these days though, and our family is good. I’d even say, we are ready to take a different picture, one that will speak truth in every smile.