The husband captured the moment.
Wife contemplating months of mothering.
The waves, the metaphor for the back and forth of the season.
Just when she thought a course had been charted, a decision reached, a new question would wash ashore.
The weight of the world rested on those shoulders.
And then it was over.
And now she can’t quite remember why it was all so hard, in part because this season has welcomed a new hard.
The heavy is here and the waves aren’t retreating.
So she will once again stand at the edge. She will ponder the places he’s calling her to.
She will remember that the hard brings the happy.
And she will be grateful for this gift.
Seems silly that with the end of July we face the end of our summer, the start of school around the bend.
Seventeen sleeps before our carefree days are over.
I’m simply not ready.
The summer camps, the trips, the lazy nights lingering with friends will soon be replaced with homework, evening activities and dinners eaten on the run.
As Matt and I talked last night about the impending end, a large part of me wanted to revolt, to grab those babies and leave it all behind in favor of a never ending supply of cotton candy.
But, we are called to be in this place, moving through our days, preparing hearts and minds for a lifetime of more adventures.
So I will pull out the lunch bags and begin the school prep, but if you find I am slower to return your emails or your texts go unanswered, know I’m just busy soaking up a few more summer days.
We live our lives with the applause meter on.
The channels of social media feed the human desire for acclaim.
But, to live an authentic life, one in which we force ourselves to acknowledge the pieces that are less than show ready, that’s a challenge.
I was tired.
Really, really tired.
I needed coffee or a nap or both.
Little girls scurried.
Please Lord, next time prompt me to warn them when these things are brewing.
This is the piece of me I’m learning to love.
No one else to blame, just a recovering perfectionist who cannot rest before it’s all complete.
The woman who simply can’t manage when something is left undone.
Apologies were whispered, when really they should have been exclaimed.
Little girls tucked away for the night will soon forget the mistakes made.
The best of me sometimes comes from the worst of me.
Tomorrow we’ll go at it again.
A rough night at gymnastics.
A cut, a fall, more tumbles when tumbling was not supposed to happen.
A quick trip for frozen yogurt and a smile returns.
Just as the sun sinks into the sky, while she licks the last remnants of treat from the spoon, her small voice catches me off guard.
“What can I pray for you for Momma?”
I cannot claim credit for teaching her to ask the question.
After weeks of watching us start each Sunday mass with that question to the person in the pew beside us, she has learned this is a way she can engage.
Her church community has nurtured in her the desire to connect in this manner.
I paused not sure how to answer.
There is a line I’ve often felt when revealing ones prayers that are closest to the heart.
“Will you pray for guidance and for wisdom for Momma?”
With the heart of a six year old her response makes me pause one more time.
“Can we pray now Momma? I want to pray for you and for some others I’ve been thinking about.”
Grateful for our church.
Grateful for this journey of mothering where I receive more then I give.
The beauty in parenthood is how it forces you to keep marching forward.
As much as a heartbroken women would love to curl up in bed, watch sappy movies and eat an entire dish of brownies, as a Momma there isn’t time.
No opportunity to wallow in grief. A good cry in the closet and off we go as there is mattress sledding on the stairs,
popcorn parties in bed,
and birthday’s to celebrate.
The opportunity given, a chance for a front row seat; watching their Momma dust herself off, move forward and live life fully.
Grace given in daily doses.
The amount needed to see us through those 24 hours.
If only we knew to live in the present; to accept grace in the manner given.
Instead we seek to hoard it, begging for more than what’s needed in the moment.
Grant me thy grace in advance, as if today were my retirement and I was cashing in the 401k.
But grace doesn’t work like that.
It is given freely.
It is renewed daily.
He knows what’s needed. He catches us in our moments of weakness and helps us to rise.
When we lose our temper with our children, fail at our jobs and doubt God, he steps in and doles out the grace.
We can live in the moment.
When I try to plan ahead, a prayer for a peak down the path of what my life will hold, I simply need to return to Our Father’s prayer-
Give us this day our daily bread.
His grace is there feeding me daily.
When you are nine years old and all you want in the world is for both your parents to attend your student led parent teacher conference.
And when the stars align, you feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have your parents rapt attention for thirty minutes. You have all the time in the world as you talk about the things at school that make you happy.
That right there is a good day.
I am their foundation.
I see and understand it more clearly each year.
That smirk Sidney makes when she throws a biting comment my way, that’s my smirk, my biting comment.
Ellie’s pants this morning, her hysterics over the way they felt touching her belly. Her insistence that “nothing in my closet fits”. That right there was a thirty-eight year old women in a five-year old’s body.
And Audrey when she nods her head in agreement to something you know she doesn’t feel in her core is right, I see myself, a million times over saying yes when really I mean no. Trying hard not to rock the boat.
We go to church,
have amazing friends and family.
and are surrounded by love and opportunity.
But, that means nothing without something to emulate. A living, breathing, model, that twenty-four hours a day shows them how to rise and fall.
It is me.
The responsibility sits on my shoulders.
And in that responsibility, is quite possibly, one of the most profound privilege’s of parenthood.
The window into your own behavior and the chance to course correct.
The chance for each of us to do better.
It’s amazing where life takes you when you stop waiting for it to begin.
Breathing it all in and living in the moment.
Adding the days and counting the years.
Pages are turned.
The statute of limitations has long since expired on my mourning period, but the dull ache remains.
I remind myself that this relationship was one that was designed for the goodbye. That his going and my staying on that dark October day almost eight years past, was supposed to occur.
And in reality I don’t think I could imagine my life without that painful ending.
The loss has framed my existence.
If he were alive now and I were to have had those years back as his daughter- would I be the women and the mother I have become?
It is doubtful.
So it is in these days when the winds change and the leaves begin to fall, that instead of focusing on all that was lost I must learn to be grateful for all that was gained.